Earlier today, George A King of the NY Post reported that the Rangers have been following and scouting Joba Chamberlain. With the type of relief depth the Yankees have, and the offensive needs, it’s no surprise that they’d make Chamberlain available. The question here is what the Yankees want back.
The team has some obvious needs offensively. The Yankees are down an outfielder until May and a corner infielder for even longer. If the organization is looking to find an outfielder, they’d likely target a right-hander to compliment the three lefties. They also may be looking younger, as Curtis Granderson will become a free agent in 2014, and Ichiro Suzuki the year after. The problem with acquiring an outfielder from the Rangers is their own needs in replacing Josh Hamilton.
If a corner infielder is what they want, the team is best suited to go with a younger player that can provide depth at third base while Alex Rodriguez‘ hips continue to be minced into pulp. The Rangers have a few corner infield options that could make some players expendable.
Mike Olt- There’s a bit of hype surrounding the Rangers’ third base prospect, but he’s still a very good player that fits the Yankees’ needs. Both Baseball America and Jonathon Mayo’s MLB.com ranked Olt the 22nd best prospect in baseball. At 23 years old, the right-handed hitter batted .288/.398/.579 in Double-A Frisco, hitting 28 home runs. The Rangers gave Olt a chance in the Majors at the end of last season, where he only had 5 hits and 5 walks in 40 plate appearances.
He’s also struggled so far in Spring Training, but small sample size aside, Olt is a very good third base prospect, arguably the best at the moment, and he’s blocked by Adrian Beltre through 2016. Obviously, Chamberlain would only be one piece in a trade for Olt, but he shouldn’t cost much more if they add one of the top four prospects into the package.
Mitch Moreland- Assuming the Rangers want to move Olt or Lance Berkman to first base, Moreland becomes available. The first baseman and outfielder fits the Yankees’ two primary needs, and has a career .264/.328/.441 slash line. As good as it sounds, his wRC+ is only 100 because of the hitter’s ballpark he plays in, and he is consistently a below average hitters on the road. Moreland is still young at 27 years old, and is under team control through the 2016 season.
As a left-handed hitter, he’d probably be able to keep his offensive numbers in Yankee Stadium, however positionally, he doesn’t fit as perfectly as it might sound. Moreland is a good fielding first baseman, but when Mark Teixeira returns to the team, Moreland’s only spot would be the outfield, where he is awful.
Elvis Andrus- Unless the Yankees are planning to do something with Derek Jeter, I’m not sure why this would make sense for the club. Andrus is one of the best fielding short stops in the game, he can get on base, and he can steal bases. If the Yankees didn’t have a short stop, that’s who we’d be hoping for. Because of Jurickson Profar, who can also play short stop really well, and just happens to be the best prospect in baseball, Andrus could be on the trade block.
I don’t see the Yankees moving Jeter, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. The Yankees have shown concern about his defense in recent years, his injury is another question mark, and who knows how much longer he can keep hitting the ball. Like Olt, Andrus would also cost more than Chamberlain, but this trade is a long shot that I don’t see happening.