Saturday, May 13, 2006

Outfield Trade Options

Unless they determine that Gary Sheffield will be out for more than a month, I'd rather the Yankees not entertain trades for an outfielder. I'm very comfortable with Melky out there (and Bubba Crosby as his personal late inning defensive replacement). They have a deep enough lineup to handle a few weeks without Sheffield without making a trade.

If they do decide to make a trade, I would just hope that it would not include them giving up any legitimate prospects. This is a possibility, as players in the last year of a big contract on a team that has no chance, the team may just want to dump the salary. Let's look at the possibilities:

Alfonso Soriano, Washington Nationals: This makes so much sense, but Jim Bowden would hate to get nothing in return for Soriano. The fact that Wilkerson has been terrible with the Rangers could help him not feel as bad trading Soriano for nothing of substance (they're more than welcome to Tanyon Sturtze). It still may make sense for them to take marginal prospects to get rid of his $10 million salary, that they could use in the future. From the Yankee perspective, Soriano loves playing in New York and can handle the stage. Since so many players flop when they come to New York, Soriano is very safe from that stand point.

Reggie Sanders, Kansas City Royals: Sanders has a 2-year deal, which is the only reason he doesn't make so much sense. He's 38 years old and 11 years removed from his All-Star year. However, he'd be a cheap option and the Yankees could then try to trade him at the trading deadline to somebody else. He's a decent short-term solution.

Jeromy Burnitz, Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates would most likely be willing to give away Burnitz for nothing. The Pirates aren't going anywhere, Burnitz is on a one-year deal and the 37-year old is batting just .188 so far this season. Burnitz is a decent option for the Yankees if Sheffield will be back within a couple of weeks, since they won't have to give anything up to get him. When Sheffield comes back, if he does well, they can trade him. If he doesn't do well, they can release him. Burnitz has a large upside in Yankee Stadium, as he has a good swing to take advantage of the short porch (he does have 6 home runs this season despite only having 24 hits).

Carl Everett, Seattle Mariners: Like Burnitz, the Yankees could probably get Everett for nothing. He makes $4 million on a team going nowhere, and he's batting .230 (with a team-high 5 home runs). Everett was the Yankees first round draft pick in 1990, but they left him available to the expansion draft after the 1992 season because they realized he's a head case. This is probably the same reason they would not want him back. However, he didn't prevent the White Sox from winning the World Series last season. He would also benefit from the short porch.

Clearly, Soriano is the only impactful player on the list. All the others would be purely a stop-gap measure and an easy player to get as their teams may be happy to let them go. However, a stop gap like Everett or Burnitz, may still hit significantly better than a platoon of Andy Phillips and Bubba Crosby.

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