Report: Yankees Among Several Teams “Looking At” Jeff Samardzija And Clay Buchholz

Interesting tidbit of trade rumoring from Nick Cafardo today.  Buried in a larger article of mostly Red Sox-ian topics, Cafardo included the Yankees in a group of teams who are reportedly “looking at” right-handed starters Jeff Samardzija and Clay Buchholz as we inch closer to next month’s trade deadline.

These are new names as far as the Yankees and their potential deadline targets are concerned.  We’ve been hearing a lot more about Cueto, Leake, and Cole Hamels lately.  But both Samardzija and Buchholz would be upgrades over the guys currently occupying the back end of the Yankee rotation.  Samardzija has seemingly taken a step back this year (4.56 ERA, 123 hits, 19.0% K rate in 108.1 IP), but he’s still a workhorse and his velocity hasn’t dropped so presumably he’s healthy.  Buchholz has actually been one of the best starters in the AL and the only full-time starter in the Boston rotation who’s been any good.

Samardzija is a true 2-month rental while Buchholz has a few team options years attached to him, so the asking prices could vary a little.  …

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Quick Hit: How Active Will Yankees Be At Trade Deadline?

It’s almost July, so that means the MLB trading season will be kicking into high gear soon. We have heard a few Yankees rumors already with them scouting Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake extensively, and Joel Sherman speculating they might have interest in Jeff Samardzija.

The Yankees are in contention in both the AL East and wild card races, so they will be involved in many rumors as usual. Despite that, I really do not see them being that active this year. The only place the Yankees can add to their lineup is second base. They’re not going to upgrade at any other starting position, and they are pretty set on the bench as well. Besides Ben Zobrist — who will be in very high demand — what other good second basemen will be available? The Yankees offense has been among the best in baseball anyways, although it would be nice if they could be more consistent on the road.…

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Quick Hit: Why Mike Leake?

With the non-waiver trade deadline just over five weeks away, it is clear that the Yankees rotation needs a bit of help. CC Sabathia ranks among the worst starting pitchers in baseball, and Nate Eovaldi isn’t too far behind (or ahead, depending on your point of view). Michael Pineda has been shelled in two of his last three starts, and four of his last seven. And, in the minds of some, Masahiro Tanaka has been downright awful.

Sure – Adam Warren has looked quite good … but he remains relatively unproven, and may not have much left in the tank (he’s already at 77.0 IP, after tossing 78.2 IP 2014 and 77.0 in 2013). And, yes, Ivan Nova is back … but consistency has never really been his game.

The Yankees recognize this, obviously, and their scouts have been busy. In the last week alone, they’ve scouted Reds starter Mike Leake twice; many believe that he is the team’s chief target.…

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Monday Morning Food For Thought: A Trade Opportunity Across Town

All in all, I’d say it’s been a pretty smooth start to the 2015 season for the Yankees.  All the important players are healthy, A-Rod has been a positive in every way, and the farm system has showed why it’s considered on the upswing.  The Chris Capuano injury is unfortunate, but not a mortal blow.

Things haven’t been going quite so well in Mets camp.  Their ownership continues to embarrass the organization at every turn, they still don’t have a shortstop, they have early injuries barking in their rotation, most notably Zack Wheeler’s elbow problem, and they’ve had even bigger injury problems in their bullpen.  The most recent one there is to lefty reliever Josh Edgin, who will have season-ending elbow surgery this week.  The Mets, who were already real thin at lefty before Edgin’s injury, are now dangerously thin there with 3 weeks to go until Opening Day.

You know who’s not thin in the left-handed relief department?  The Yankees.  …

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Thursday Morning Food For Thought: Would You Trade Brett Gardner To The Cubs?

Let me preface this by saying that there’s nothing out there even hinting that this is a possibility.  The Cubs aren’t trying to acquire Brett Gardner and the Yankees aren’t shopping him.  Rosenthal’s tweet last night reminded me of an email conversation we had on Monday night about this topic though, and I’d like to expand on it in a little hypothetical trade musing if you’d indulge me.

Say the Cubs were interested in Gardner.  That’s a pretty well stocked trade partner in terms of return pieces.  And Gardner’s 4-year/$52 million extensions kicks in this year, so the Cubs would be getting him for the next handful of years at a good price.  That would be worth something pretty significant.  For the sake of this hypothetical, let’s say it’s Addison Russell.  …

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We Don’t Really Need To Talk About Ryan Howard, Do We?

There was a rumbling of trade musings last week after this Jerry Crasnick tweet in which he listed the teams who were not on Ryan Howard‘s no-trade list.  The Yankees were included in that list of teams, so naturally that sparked a run of “what if the Yankees traded for Ryan Howard?” posts around the Yankosphere.  To be honest, I don’t understand why even one post of that nature needed to be written.  Ryan Howard is not coming to the Yankees.  Period.

Mark Teixeira may have been bad last year, but he was still better than Howard.  He had a .711 OPS to Howard’s .690, he hit 1 fewer HR than Howard in 30 fewer games, and he significantly bested Howard in bWAR and fWAR thanks to the fact that he can still actually play first base.  He’s younger than Howard by 4-5 months, he’s owed less money over the same period of time ($46.25 mil for the next 2 years compared to $60), and he’s a better 2-way player than Howard with a better chance to improve his production in 2015 if his wrist is stronger.…

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Quick Hit: Have The Yanks Called Tampa About Ben Zobrist Yet?

Zobrist vs CHW

Courtesy of Getty Images

Because if they haven’t they’re missing a golden opportunity.  Zobrist was made expendable earlier today when the Rays agreed to a 1-year deal with Asdrubal Cabrera, and Tampa is reportedly willing to move him.  At age 33, Zobrist is a switch-hitting, multiple position-playing super everyday utility man.  He’s what Martin Prado would be if Martin Prado was better at baseball in every way and he’s available on a steal of a 1-year/$7.5 million deal for 2015.

Simply put, Zobrist does everything well.  He’s a .264/.354/.429 career hitter, although he’s posted averages of .270 or better in each of the last 3 seasons, with few strikeouts (15.7% career K rate) and a ton of walks (12.7% career BB rate).  He’s an above-average defensive player at second base and in the outfield corners, and he can fake it at third, shortstop, and in center in a pinch.  He doesn’t steal a ton of bases, but he’s had 10 or more for 6 years in a row and he rates as an above-average baserunner.…

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Didi Gregorius Trade Thoughts And Afterthoughts

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Courtesy of Getty Images

For a guy who the Yankees had been trying to acquire for over a year, Didi Gregorius sure seemed to come as a surprise when he was announced as the center piece of the 3-team trade involving the Tigers and Diamondbacks last Friday.  Leading up to then, the bulk of the trade talk centered around Troy Tulowitzki and Alexei Ramirez.  The primary FA focus was on the trio of Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Stephen Drew.  There was no thought given to Gregorius, which is probably exactly what the Yankees wanted.

The reaction to the trade around the Yankosphere over the past 2.5 days has been mostly positive, with a noticeable contingent of fans expressing concern over Gregorius’ underwhelming performance with the bat to date.  He’s no stud 2-way shortstop, that much is certain.  But that’s a much rarer commodity in baseball these days than it was during Derek Jeter‘s golden years.  …

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What they’re saying about the Gregorius trade

Gregorius vs COL

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As expected, there’s a lot of discussion out there regarding the Yanks – Tigers – Diamondbacks second three-way (trade, you people) in the last few years. You know, the one that lands us a new shortstop. While this puts the team back in the market for pitching (a very deep end of the pool), it takes us out of “Stephen Drew (that wasn’t fun, was it?)/Asdrubal Cabrera (no, just no)/Brendan Ryan (living on an outdated reputation only, along with 1/4 the Yanks 40-man)/some other guy” trade market. I still think Everth Cabrera (PED, DUI, other unsavory things) was worth a cheap dip in the unpatrolled, non-tendered kiddie pool, but alas, the Yanks decided to go get one of the guys they apparently wanted for quite some time: Didi Gregorius.

While I, and others, will miss Shane Greene, I’m not heartbroken. We needed a legitimate shortstop more and there’s LOTS of pitching to go after, either high-priced or bargain-bin.…

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