A week ago, the 2013 Yankees were walking on a tight rope. Their roster, while a significant downgrade from the 2012 squad, looked strong enough to contend for a wild card spot in the American League. The team’s rapidly aging core was still effective last year, and should a few things go right should have been good for 90 wins this year.
And then Curtis Granderson suffered a freak broken arm. Spring training has barely started, and probably the third or fourth most valuable hitter on the Yankee roster will miss around 1/4 of the season, without an able-bodied replacement in sight. The Yankee outfield/DH group was already razor-thin, and just lost its most valuable contributor for awhile.
By no means should the Yankees throw in the towel on the season, but at some point they need to decide whether they want to bet on this team to make the playoffs. I don’t know what the cut off point is, but it can’t be, “never.” This roster is not a vintage Yankee, sure-fire playoff team. It would be a huge mistake to assume that no matter what, the Yankees have to approach the trade deadline as a buyers.
Perhaps more than any other year in recent memory, the Yankees have a ton of players that could be sold off at the trade deadline for a valuable return. Any of Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Boone Logan, Phil Hughes and especially Robinson Cano, are all free agents after the season, could plausibly fetch good prospects from buying teams in late July. Not all of them will be performing great–otherwise, the Yankees would be unlikely to be out of contention–but a number of them could be.
What kind of prospects are we talking about? Below are seven 2010-2012 trade deadline deals that could serve as analogs:
- Robinson Cano – Mariners trade Cliff Lee for Justin Smoak (BA #13), and Blake Beavan, Matt Lawson, and Josh Lueke, all solid MLB prospects
- Hiroki Kuroda – Indians trade Ubaldo Jimenez for Drew Pomeranz (BA #30), Alex White (BA #47) and Matt Mcbride and Joe Gardner (Both unranked, but solid MLB prospects)
- Curtis Granderson – Cardinals trade Carlos Beltran for Zach Wheeler (BA #35)
- Kevin Youkilis – Red Sox trade Kevin Youkilis for Ethan Martni (BA #80)
- Travis Hafner – Phillies trade Jim Thome for Kyle Simon (decent prospect)
- Boone Logan – Pirates trade Javier Lopez for Joe Martinez and John Bowker, both fringe players.
- Phil Hughes – Cubs trade Paul Malholm to the Braves for Arodys Vizcaino (BA #83)
It seems highly plausible that the Yankees could pull off some kind of hall that looks like the following at the trade deadline: Justin Smoak, Zach Wheeler, Joe Martinez, and Ethan Martni, at the trade deadline, plus a few other pieces.