The Yankees and Trade Bait


The one department that the New York Yankees are in desperate need of is young pitching. The farm system as we know hasn’t produced the greatest quality arms and there are a few players that the Yanks could consider swapping for young pitching. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain have been the examples that have shined the brightest in recent years, but with a rotation that may be uncertain in the coming years, the Yankees are going to need some strong arms and there are few players in mind that become instant trade bait for said pitchers. 

If Eduardo Nunez can improve his defense, he may provide the most value in a possible trade. (Image: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE)

This is primarily in order of who I think could be traded and who shouldn’t.

Who could be trade bait: Eduardo Nunez, Austin Romine and Robinson Cano

For Nunez, his bat and speed speak louder volumes for him than his defense does. A utility infielder is essentially what Nunez’s role can be called, but some of us have wondered if he’s in the shadows for Derek Jeter‘s job someday. In 2012, Nunez didn’t have a whole lot of time to play (only 38 games), but in those games, he had a .292/.330/.393 slash line. He also contributed with 11 RBIs, 14 runs scored and stole 11 bases. He started 19 of those 38 games at shortstop and clearly has room for improvement as he committed four errors in 58 total chances. However, Nunez has time to iron out his defensive problems and can easily present himself as the biggest piece of trade bait for the Bombers.

Romine would be next in line and really only because the Yankees have so many catchers it’s just not funny. Romine, who will be 24 in November, has started to develop nicely in the Yankees’ farm system. Unfortunately for Romine, he suffered from a back injury in 2012 that primarily kept him out for the year. Despite his injury, Romine still managed a .243/.333/.408 across three different leagues this season. He’s been doing well in Double-A and Triple-A even throwing 2012’s crazy season in there. He also shows quite a bit of promise defensively as he only committed two errors in 2012 alongside having a caught stealing percentage of 24%. Romine has a lot of potential, more so than what Jesus Montero may have had, so this may bode well for teams in dire need of some catching prospects.

Last but not least, let us remember Cano. While Cano may not be necessarily traded, it’s something that also may be an option. The Yankees have learned the hard way that long-term contracts do not always work out and for Cano, signing him long-term may prove to be a mistake. I’m not saying that Cano is going to regress to the point that he’ll be chased out of town, but realistically, he’s only getting older. He had an unusual down season in 2012 and hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come. Cano will be a free agent after 2013 and it begs the question on whether or not the Yankees will try to test the market with him before then. It’s probably something that is beyond far-fetched, but cannot be completely disregarded. The Yankees would get a lot in return for Cano, so there’s that. The bad side is, well, we wouldn’t have Cano anymore.

David Adams could have a key role in the Yankees’ infield. (Image: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE)

Who should not be trade bait: Gary Sanchez, Mark Montgomery and David Adams

The reason why Sanchez, 19, is on the “should not be trade bait” list is because he’s younger than Romine and shows much more promise. Since 2010 when Sanchez was 17, he’s done incredibly well in the minors. Now granted he’s played only A and A+ ball, but still, he has found a way to be a pitcher’s worst nightmare. His 2012 slash line (between A and A+ leagues) of .290/.344/.485 is just an example of what he can do. He also stole 15 bases this season and provides contact alongside power. Defensively for Sanchez, it’s an entirely different game. He’s struggled tremendously, committing 12 errors behind the plate in 2012, but on the flipside, he threw out 28 runners out of a total of 63, giving him a caught stealing percentage of 31%. It’ll be awhile before we see Sanchez in the majors, but he’s someone the Yanks must absolutely keep going forward.

Not often do you see pitchers being trade bait for other pitchers, but Montgomery is another player that needs to be held onto. I briefly mentioned him and Brett Marshall before and how well these two have done, primarily Montgomery. The thing about Montgomery though is so far in his minor league career, he’s been a relief pitcher. How I see his role evolving over time is perhaps one like David Phelps‘ role. He could occasionally spot start alongside pitch from the bullpen and provide a lot of versatility for the Yankees in the future. Montgomery is only 22 and has pitched in Single-A and Double-A leagues. He’s done well and overall has an ERA of 1.65, a WHIP of 0.971 with a 7-2 record and 150 strikeouts in 92.2 innings pitched. He’s reliant upon his strikeouts, but clearly has the stuff to just shut down line-ups.

As for Adams, 25, he presents himself in a manner that the Yankees saw with Nunez, only better. He’s eerily similar to Jeter in that he’ll hit for a high average but only because he’s a pure contact hitter. Sure, Adams will have a home run here and there, but his ability to not only hit singles, but extra base hits adds to his value. Not to mention, Adams is a very patient hitter. In 2012, he struck out 53 times, but he walked 38 times. He’s not a huge threat to steal bases, but his high on base percentage year in, year out is just as menacing for opposing teams. He, alongside teammates Romine and Montgomery, are currently playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League and even there, Adams has been on base more often than not. Adams’ defense has some fine tuning to do, but it looks a little more polished than Nunez’s defense. Adams is a good shortstop/second base type player and may find he is filling some big shoes in New York someday.