The Yankees certainly had a successful offseason for the most part. They’ve improved at almost every position and look to be a serious contender. Still, they let Robinson Cano walk, so they have a giant hole at second base. Alex Rodriguez is suspended for the entire season, so third base is also a problem. For now, they’re filling these holes with guys like Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Eduardo Nunez and others, but that may not be enough.
According to George King III of the New York Post, the Mariners, Cano’s new team, and the Brewers had scouts in attendance at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL on Tuesday night to watch the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Orioles. The M’s had a scout watch starter David Phelps’ 2.1 inning outing. With Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker hurt, they are looking for pitching. The Brewers are looking for a backup for catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Francisco Cervelli went deep during the game.
The Yankees have assets they can give to both teams. Phelps, Michael Pineda, Adam Warren, and Vidal Nuno are all fighting for the fifth starter role and could be easily expendable. Cervelli, Austin Romine, and John Ryan Murphy are battling to backup catcher Brian McCann.
Both teams have assets the Yankees should be enticed by if they want to make a deal. Cano’s signing with Seattle has made 23 year-old second baseman Nick Franklin expendable. He has good pop and is improving with the glove, and the Mariners have been dangling him all winter. He can also play shortstop, but they have Brad Miller at that position. It’s possible they would like to get Phelps, who has been inconsistent but misses plenty of bats (career 8.5 K/9 in 186.1 IP) to fill the back-end of the rotation. The Yankees could easily replace him.
The Brewers have some potential quick fixes the Yankees could use, but it may cost them some money and other things. They’re trying to unload either second baseman Rickie Weeks or third baseman Aramis Ramirez, both owed over $11 million this year. Weeks has shown potential in his career but constant injuries have plagued him. It shouldn’t take all too much to get him, as the Brewers are trying to break in prospect Scooter Gennett.
The 35 year-old Ramirez is still a great player as he put up a 134 OPS+ in the previous three seasons, but the Brewers may ask for a bit unless they want to eat the rest of his $16 million. A starting point with be one of the losers of the battle for the Yanks’ backup catcher position.
Trading with either team would fill a big hole for the Yankees. Franklin is a young and improving player who would be under team control for the next six seasons, something the team could very well use. Weeks would be a reclamation project for the next two years that has potential and not a whole lot of risk Ramirez would be a monster upgrade at the hot corner and would move Kelly Johnson to his natural second base.