Outfield Trade Targets

The Yankees barely have a third outfielder to start the 2013 season. Yes, they’re loaded with depth, but hardly any of these players have even seen Triple-A. Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, and Thomas Neal may be the most prepared players, but Diaz and Rivera couldn’t even break a .290 OBP in 2012. The two starting outfielders, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, have their own questions about health and age, and the Yankees could be in a lot of trouble if Gardner’s head-first sliding catches up to him for a second year, or Ichiro’s age starts to show.

Not only does the team need a third outfielder, but they need a respectable fourth outfielder. Living with an Adonis Garcia or Zoilo Almonte for one month isn’t terrible, but there is very little depth if Granderson can’t return or Gardner misses any more time. The Yankees were interested in a right-handed hitting outfielder a few weeks ago, and Curtis Granderson‘s injury will probably force them to make an actual move.

They don’t need a starting caliber outfielder, but a proper fourth outfielder should keep the position at replacement level or better. Here are a few names to look out for.

DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Casper Wells- I wrote about Wells at the beginning of the month. He’s nearly a perfect fit for the team, assuming the Mariners are willing to trade him. The 28 year old right-handed hitter can play all three outfield positions, but finds himself in a stacked outfield in Seattle. After a promising minor league career, Wells has struggled with the bat over the last couple of years, but splits show that Safeco Field is robbing him. In his career away, Wells has hit .268/.331/.478 with a 120 wRC+. He also has a ton of success against left-handed pitchers, who he hits for .264/.349/.489 with a 132 wRC+ both at home and away. Wells’ handedness, his ability to play all three positions, and his upside outside of Seattle could mean that he develops into an above average fourth outfielder and perhaps an everyday player. The outfielder is out of options on a crowded team, and he may be available as things take shape for the Mariners.

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Tyler Colvin- Our own Domenic Lanza brought up a possible match up between the Yankees and Rockies recently.  The Rockies are searching for pitching, and the Yankees have some excess. If Pineda continues rehabbing successfully, the Yankees could be forced to move both David Phelps and Ivan Nova to the bullpen or Triple-A by June. If the Yankees like what they see in Colorado, dealing one of these pitchers wouldn’t hurt the team’s depth with starting pitchers still sitting on the free agent market.

Usually, trading for a Rockies hitter is a bad idea, the stadium is just far too hitter friendly. But moving Colvin from Coors Field to Yankee Stadium might not have much of an impact. The left-handed Colvin hit .290/.327/.531 in 452 plate appearances in 2012. Though he can demonstrate bad plate discipline at times, Colvin has power, and that’s something which should continue for the 27 year old in Yankee Stadium. Colvin is a pull hitter, who batted .434 with a .478 ISO when going to right field. At home, he put up a 151 wRC+ versus an 83 wRC+ on the road, however Yankee Stadium is almost just as friendly to lefties as Coors Field. When it comes to power, StatCorner gives Coors a 150 rating (100 being average) for left-handed batters, and Yankee Stadium earned a 146 in 2012.

Domonic Brown- For some reason, Yankee fans love Domonic Brown. At one point, there were several rumors about the team trading Dellin Betances to the Philles for the left-hander, and perhaps that’s where fan interest began. Brown’s stock has fallen considerably. The 25 year old has earned a reputation as a poor outfielder, and the Phillies have not been kind to his development. In 492 major league plate appearances, Brown has put together a .236/.315/.388 slash line, and his power in the minor leagues has all but disappeared. But some still hold out hope, because sometimes he happens to do this.

Perhaps a change of scenery will help Brown, but his availablilty is questionable, and the Phillies will have a better idea of their outfield situation by the end of March.

Drew Stubbs- He only hit .213/.277/.333 last year, but as a right-handed hitter, Stubbs could fit a role as a strict platoon player. Over his career, Stubbs has hit .276/.344/.476 with a 120 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers. Against righties, Stubbs has a miserable 77 wRC+. Other than hitting lefties, Stubbs could also work himself into the game as a productive pinch runner. His massive amount of strike outs and average fielding is a major drawback, but it looks like the Indians want to trade him, and if the price is right, he could be useful.

4 thoughts on “Outfield Trade Targets

  1. bg90027

    According to my Phillie fan friends, Dominic Brown put on 20lbs of muscle in the offseason and is driving the ball with a lot more authority this spring. While he would make sense for NY, I highly doubt that Phil has much interest in trading him now.

    I doubt any of these guys is the answer but I’d bet they find something on someone’s scrapheap near the end of spring training when roster crunch hits.

  2. Michael

    Even if Pineda returns successfully (hopefully he does) why does Nova and Phelps both need to be moved to the bullpen? I think that would be incredibly short sighted. They have options dont they? Send them down and keep them stretched out as starters. Next year the rotation could be CC Pineda Nova and Phelps. Why let them lose experience in the pen? The bullpen has plenty of firepower as is.

    Left field in Yankee stadium requires a guy who is basically another center fielder. For this reason I would like to see a guy like Melky Mesa who is like a more talented Greg Golson (remember him gunning down Crawford?) get a shot bc of his speed, arm and pop in the bat. Zoilo Almonte is a switch hitter whose more polished than Mesa and younger. Both guys have potential to be useful players for the future. Rather see that than some retread who isnt in the future plans. Might as well see if these kids can play

  3. fuster

    Pineda isn’t going to be ready until late in the year and there certainly isn’t gonna be any need to put both Nova and Phelps in the pen. One will be the fifth starter and by the time Pineda is ready to start, even if none of the starters is injured, Pettitte and then Kuroda will be ready to skip a couple of starts.

    The likelihood is that neither of those two will be back next year and it’s ’bout 50-50 on Hughes being back.

    It’s quite true that next year the Yankees are gonna need both of them to be starters

  4. Duh, Innings!

    Since when does Nova have to be sent to the bullpen or AAA to make room for Pineda? What has Pineda done for the Yanks and compared to Nova? Nova has two full seasons of MLB starting pitching experience – a good year followed by a bad one where he started out well and upped his strikeouts considerably (the only positives) on the biggest stage in pro sports while Pineda has one season of MLB starting pitching experience two years ago on a crap team and let himself get fat. If Nova averages six innings per start, he’s not going anywhere, Pineda and/or Phelps will be, because six innings a start or better is more than you could possibly expect and hope for in a fifth starter.

    The four outfielders listed are intriguing, but what would it take to acquire one of them? I would assume it would take Nova, Phelps, or Pineda to get one of them but can the Yanks really afford to trade young, cheap, promising, under control starting pitching with 33, 38, and 40 year olds in the rotation (Sabathia, Kuroda, and Pettitte), two of them in their walk years, and a third starting pitcher in his walk year (Hughes)? I say no. Hypothetically, Kuroda and Pettite could retire, Hughes could sign elsewhere, and then where would the Yanks be if they traded Nova for Wells? Sabathia would be the ace, Pineda the #4, Phelps the #5, but who would be the 2-3 and at what price in years and money as they’re gonna cost both?

    I cannot believe none of the contributors on here, River Avenue Blues, or Yankees Lohud have written with the idea of the Yanks strenghtening the rotation and the bullpen to make up for the lack of offense.

    If Pineda is healthy by June and the Royals struggle/suck, how ’bout him and Phelps to Kansas City for James Shields and a Sabathia/Shields/Kuroda/Pettitte/Hughes rotation? Kansas City gets two young, cheap, promising, controlled starting pitchers and the Yanks get a bonafide veteran #2 starter with lots of experience versus the AL East and no fear who’d be an ace on most teams through 2014 assuming they picked up his pithy $12M club option for 2014. I mean can KC afford to pay Shields $12M for 2014? Would they want to? I would imagine Shields would rather pitch for the Yanks and be held hostage ie prevented from becoming a free agent after 2013 with that club option by the Yanks than the Royals, and who says the Yanks couldn’t sign him to an extension after this year or lock him up after 2014? If the Yanks truly have had enough of walk-year-squawking Chamberlain and he’s most likely a goner after 2013, how ’bout swapping him for a veteran reliever in his walk year?

    The 2014 Yankees rotation could be Sabathia/Shields/Kuroda or Pettitte/TBD/Nova. If they let go of Kuroda they clear $15M. If they let go of Pettitte they clear $12M. If they clear both they clear $27M. Who says it couldn’t be the same rotation as 2013? It’s not a given Kuroda and/or Pettitte are goners after this season. What if both guys post ERAs under 4 in 170-210 IP in 2013 and want to keep pitching? The Yanks are gonna let them go? I could see them letting go of one of the guys – more likely Kuroda – but I doubt they let both go. if both posted those numbers. Something to think about.

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