Over the past week, the New York Yankees have shown the rest of the baseball world that their injury-plagued, non-playoff season of 2013 is an aberration, not an indication of things to come. While the team lost Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners, for what they originally thought was just a money issue, it appears now that Cano’s feelings for manager Joe Girardi also played a role in deciding to walk away. In his place, the Yankees have signed outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran.
While it is always nice to have depth in specific positions, at some point any team can have too much of a good thing. With Beltran agreeing to join the Yankees late Friday night, the roster now has six outfielders, while still having glaring needs at second base, third base, and in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. Rather than continue to spend in free agency, which the Yankees will no doubt continue to do, an intriguing option has presented itself in the trade market. According to MLB Trade Rumors.com, the team is receiving significant interest in outfielder Brett Gardner. The Yankees could go in several directions depending on what team is interested and what they are offering up for the speedy Gardner.
One option which might be an excellent fit for both sides, would have Gardner heading to the west coast and the San Diego Padres, in exchange for third baseman Chase Headley. Gardner would provide speed and quality defense in a ball park that would play to his strengths. The Yankees in return, would receive a proven run producer to replace Alex Rodriguez, who might end up not playing one inning in 2014, and part of 2015.
A second option could see Gardner, along with one of the Yankees catching prospects going to the National League Central and the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for disenchanted second baseman Brandon Phillips. Earlier this past week, the MLB Network was reporting that Phillips would be dealt by the end of the upcoming Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida. The Reds did a 180 by week’s end, with general manager Walt Jocketty personally calling Phillips, and inviting him to participate in the Reds Fanfest over the weekend.
A final option might see general manager Brian Cashman calling his friend Theo Epstein in Chicago, and swapping out Gardner to fill a much more pressing need in the starting rotation, this time with fireballer Jeff Samardjiza coming to the Bronx. While all of these options are mere speculation, all three make sense for both sides, and could pick up traction next week.