The Yankees spent a lot of money on big players this season but in the process they lost superstar second baseman Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners. Even after spending half a billion dollars, the team still has a gaping hole at Cano’s old position. They signed former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts to a 1-year deal in hopes that he can stay healthy after being on the disabled list for the better part of the past few years. That’s a pretty nice dream, but in reality Roberts is destined for another injury and that would create a large whole at a position with very few options.
Kelly Johnson has a lot of experience at second base but is needed elsewhere at third base for a possible platoon with Eduardo Nunez. Many saw shortstops Stephen Drew and Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz as fits for the Yankees but the team’s front office says they’re done spending on free agent players. Well, they didn’t say anything about making a trade being out of the question. George A. King of the New York Post is reporting that the Yankees will be monitoring Milwaukee Brewers’ second baseman Rickie Weeks as he fights for his job against up-and-coming prospect Scooter Gennett.
Weeks, who turns 28 next month, only played in 104 games last year and batted a lousy .209, but has a reputation as a streaky hitter. While it’s a very good possibility that the Brewers make Weeks available he does have a relatively high salary at $11 million in 2014 along with a vesting option of $11.5 million for the following season. However, the Yankees have spent a lot of money this off-season and I don’t think the right-handed hitter’s salary would shy them away, but the Brewers may still have to eat a chunk of his contract to move him. If Weeks does lose his starting job, a trade would be very likely and, depending on what they give in return, it could be a really good deal for the Yankees. Weeks has the ability to be a star second baseman and maybe a move from Milwaukee to a larger market in the Bronx would be a refreshing change of scenery for him. At the right price any deal is good if it has the potential to improve the team.
King also notes a potential interest in the Yankees catching surplus from the White Sox and several other teams. With Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, and J.R. Murphy as well as Gary Sanchez the Yankees could seriously be shopping one or even two of their backstops now that Brian McCann is slotted in as the everyday guy behind the plate. It’s highly unlikely that Sanchez is dealt as the Yankees view him as the team’s future at that position, but hey… you never know. The White Sox have a lot of trade chips in their overcrowded infield including second baseman Gordon Beckham (27) and utility infielder Jeff Keppinger (32). A deal for Beckham would require more than just a catcher, but Keppinger could be a worthwhile move if they only give up a few pieces from the surplus. It should be noted that Keppinger spurned an offer from the Yankees last offseason to sign with the White Sox.
The Yankees front office could very well pull the trigger on a deal before the season begins or they could wait for the non-waiver trading deadline in July. I’m sure that Weeks is higher on the Yankees list of trade targets but anything could happen. Keep in mind that the Brewers’ catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, is regarded as one of the top catchers in the game so the Brewers may not be interested in any of the Yankees’ catchers. That doesn’t mean that a deal isn’t possible. It might, in fact, mean that two trades could come into play as the Yankees are also in the market for bullpen and third base help.
It certainly seems like a lot of teams are casting their lines, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman says that they are not in talks with any team about any player, but of course the Yankees will pursue every possible option that may present themselves. While I wouldn’t expect a trade to be in tomorrow’s news, I definitely think that a few people will be dealt before the start of the season. Keep a watchful eye on the trade rumors and expect them to heat up now that spring training games have started. The Yankees have acknowledged their holes and will check every avenue to improve.