We are inching closer and closer to opening day and while we eagerly await the return of Yankees baseball some questions may finally be answered. Okay, so hopefully you all know what went down this off-season. Robinson Cano bolted the Bronx for a lavish contract with the Seattle Mariners and Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season. The Yankees signed Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson to fill their holes in the infield but many see this patchwork fix as being about as effective as putting duck tape on your car’s bumper. With Derek Jeter returning from a nightmare of a year filled with injuries (not to mention his impending retirement) and Mark Teixeira‘s march back from a wrist injury, the infield as a whole may be in some trouble. So as the final free agents get picked off the plate and teams prepare to set their final rosters, how do they try to shore up the boys in the dirt? Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has some ideas.
For months now we’ve heard rumblings about the Yankees trading a catcher for an infielder. That’s what you do right? You trade from the surplus to add some meat to thin parts of teams. With guys like Gary Sanchez, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine, and Francisco Cervelli all manning the catcher spot behind the Yankees’ newest star Brian McCann, the Yankees really do have a surplus. So, with Sanchez looked upon as the catcher of the future and Murphy and Romine still looking like they need improvement all eyes turned to Francisco Cerevlli as the Yankees best trade chip.
While impressing in spring training, Cervelli’s name was linked to possible deals for the White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, Mariners infielder Nick Franklin, and a few Diamondbacks infielders including Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings. Over the last week or so, all signs pointed to Cervelli being dealt out of the Bronx, but Nick Cafardo has reported otherwise. According to Cafardo, the Yankees’ front office is very hesitant to trade the Venezuelan native in case Brian McCann goes down with injuries (which would obviously be a huge blow to the lineup). In that case, Cervelli is the next best catching talent in the organization as the roster stands now. Obviously a trade for an infielder would improve the team right now but you don’t build a team from one moment to the next, you build it for a season and seasons to come. Trading Cervelli right now may be a little rushed if McCann goes down in the future (pray that he doesn’t).
So what are the Yankees to do? Well, according to Cafardo there are still a lot of front office executives and scouts that believe that the Yankees are still the best possible landing spot for free agent shortstop Stephen Drew. I know that we’ve all heard this before and thes saga has been ongoing and annoying. Drew is a very good defensive player and he put up a very good offensive season for the Red Sox last year. But with a lot of teams unsure if he can repeat last year’s numbers, not many organizations have offered him a long term deal. So how about a 1-year deal? Well due to the new qualifying offer rules any team that signs Drew will be forced to surrender a draft pick and that seems risky for a 1-year deal. Enter the Bombers. After shelling out big bucks for big free agents, the Yankees have basically given up on having an early round pick in the upcoming 2014 Amateur Draft and signing Drew would cost them a pick towards the middle of the draft.
However, the Yankees have made it clear that they are not offering Drew a contract anytime soon. The shortstop has made it clear that he’d be willing to play third for a season and then move back to his natural position in 2015 after Jeter’s retirement if he went to the Yankees on a multi-year deal. Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, has informed teams that Drew is willing to wait until after the June draft to sign, so for now it’s just a game of wait and see. Even still, Cafardo’s recent reports are very interesting and warrant paying attention to.