The Yankees have a number of needs this offseason. They have open spots in their rotation, bullpen, third base, shortstop, second base, catcher, and they could really use another formidable outfielder. Their biggest need is offense, home runs, and it really doesn’t matter where they get it from. When Jose Dariel Abreu was available a few weeks ago, I was a little surprised that the Yankees weren’t more involved. Even though he had no position with the club, a projectable power hitter that comes relatively cheap without costing draft picks should be highly valued. For a team as desperate for offense as the Yankees, teams should try to find creative ways to put a 30+ home run player on the field.
There are few power threats available in free agency this offseason, most of the big names are pitchers. Outside of Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Carlos Beltran there are few free agents that can put up 30+ home runs. The Yankees may have to look at the trade market to find power, and the Angels may be a decent trade partner.
According to Buster Olney, the Angels recently put Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo on the trade block. The Angels have a ton of money guaranteed to players over the next three seasons, particularly Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver, Albert Pujols, and C.J. Wilson. Cots has their 2014 guaranteed salaries sitting at $126.5 million before arbitration and player benefits. It’s hard to see them adding a big name pitcher like Matt Garza to their payroll, which is why they’re now looking for young and cost controlled pitching.
The Yankees have a number of young pitchers that performed fairly well in an offensive environment last season. Ivan Nova is probably the most valuable trade chip the team can realistically give up. After emerging with a new repertoire in June of last year, Nova pitched 17 games, 116.2 innings, with a 2.70 ERA. Inside Yankees Stadium, in the AL East, a below 3.00 ERA in that many innings is extremely difficult to find. Those are ace-type numbers, but in a sample size that’s far too small to make that determination. Moving Nova to the AL West should theoretically aid those numbers. Angel Stadium, O.co, and Safeco Field are pitcher friendly parks that should help any pitcher coming from an offensive division.
Nova displayed a type of upside rarely seen in Yankee-developed starters, so here’s where we roll the dice. Could the Yankees trade their young starting pitcher to the Angels for Mark Trumbo? The right-handed power hitter has averaged 32 home runs a season, and he owns a career .250/.299/.469 slash line. These numbers should improve as he moves to the AL East. The problem is that Trumbo is probably best suited for first base, as his defense in the outfield is somewhat of a liability. But again, the small dimensions of Yankee Stadium should help him there, where right field has been kind to the range factors of other converted first baseman like Nick Swisher.
As I mentioned earlier, the Yankees also have needs in their rotation, and trading Nova could be considered counterproductive. But the organization also plans on spending big this offseason. Masahiro Tanaka seems like a favorite to land with the Yankees, and the team could also spend on Hiroki Kuroda and Matt Garza without giving up their 18th overall pick.
If the team does indeed plan on spending big this winter, Nova is somewhat expendable, and Trumbo is the type of bat that you might not find on the free agent market. Would you pull the trigger on this deal?