The news coming from the Yankees recently has been that Jeter thinks Manny could fit in, and Wang has avoided arbitration by signing a $5 million deal. Those two pieces of news are far less exciting than the Sabathia and Burnett signings, or the Cameron for Melky trade talks. With that being the case, its time to start a rumor. Is there any better way to pass the cold winter baseball-less months than discussing rumors? Recently it was reported that Manny had received a 3 year $75 million deal from the Yankees, but that rumor quickly died out when Cashman bluntly stated that it was "not true". This rumor will require a little more work by Cashman, because its going to sound so true. Here it is:
Yankees Sign Ty Wigginton. Complete trade of Alex Rodriguez to the Angels for a bundle of prospects and outfielder Torii Hunter.
The Yankees have completed a trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which will send third baseman Alex Rodriguez to the west coast in exchange for Torii Hunter and prospects Brandon Wood 3B, Trevor Bell RHP, and Robert Fish LHP.
Hunter who has 4 years and $71.5 million left under contract will fill the centerfield vacancy for the Yankees. Hunter batted .278 with 21 homeruns and 78 RBI's last season with Anahiem, while also stealing 19 bases. Hunter, has won 8 consecutive gold gloves as an outfielder, including one this last season. Hunter will be accompanied by top third base prospect Brandon Wood. Wood got his first big league cup of tea last season, but struggled for the most part batting .200 with 5 homeruns and 13 RBI in 150 at bats. Wood was also recently released from the Dominican Winter league after a weak start.
Also included in the package were minor league pitchers Trevor Bell and Robert Fish. Although neither pitcher has thrown a ball above the Single A level, both pitchers have shown promise. Bell was a supplemental first round draft pick by the Angels in 2005, and went 6-8 with a 4.22 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 117.1 innings last season for the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Fish, a 6th round draft pick in 2006, landed in second on the Angels organization strikeouts list this last season. Fish went 10-4 with a 4.85 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 143 innings for the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels.
The Yankees sent third baseman Alex Rodriguez who had been a top producer since coming to New York in 2007. The Yankees saw the deal as an opportunity to drop A-Rod's large contract that can amount to $30 million annually if incentives are reached. In a corresponding move, the Yankees signed third baseman Ty Wigginton to a one year $5 million contract hoping the infielder can repeat his 2008 numbers with Houston where he batted .285 with 23 homeruns in 386 at bats.
"Losing Alex will have a severe impact on our lineup, but we couldn't have Madonna any where around this team next season." Explained Co-Chairperson Hal Steinbrenner. "Hunter gives us the gold glove defender we need in centerfield, and Wiggington will give us a little pop. Though we are still looking at other options to better our team, we feel comfortable opening the season as our team now stands."
"Does this deal better our team?" Asked Brian Cashman rhetorically. "I don't know, I drink a lot. I'm not even really sure where I am right now."
The deal does leave open the possibility that the Yankees could pursue Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez, especially since A-Rod was due $32 million next season. Taking on Hunter's $17.5 million contract and Wigginton's $5 million deal still leaves the Yankees with $9.5 million in freed up money. Though the Yankees may not want to spend every dime they have freed up this off season, they are likely to do so if the deal is right. Or in Hal's words:
"We leave ourselves open to every option and opportunity. We are following the free agent market carefully. If there is a deal to be made, it will be made."