Saturday, December 14, 2013

Yanks Must Now Look to Trade Market for Second Baseman

With Omar Infante off the board, the Yanks must now look to the trade market to fill their hole at second base. Usually the grounds crew takes care of that sort of thing, but I suppose a trade is just as good.

With their outfield depth, the Yankees could look to move one of their excess outfielders for a second baseman. Some have suggested trading Gardner, but the Yankees need Gardner for when Ellsbury inexplicably destroys himself for absolutely no reason.

Here does not endeth the lesson, however. The Yankees could look to move Ichiro Suzuki, a living legend who brings a veteran presence and instant star power to any team. He could be an attractive candidate, particularly for a younger team needing an outfielder and some veteran leadership.

In light of this, I have the perfect candidate: the Seattle Mariners.

Think about it, they have some money and they need to replace Ibanez. They could take on Ichiro in exchange for second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano currently has 10 years left on his contract and is still owed $240 million, but at 31 he's young enough to continue to play at a high level for some time and has been durable enough to not be overly concerned about the length of the contract. After all, the way the Yanks have spent this offseason, they are clearly living for now, so why not make the switch? Seattle, though they have some cash on hand, is currently somewhat hamstrung by Cano's contract, unable to make any really significant moves.

By trading Ichiro, the Mariners get a player who is not only legendary, but has proven he can play in the demanding spotlight of the Northwest media and fanbase. The Yankees fill their hole at second and would be set at the position for the foreseeable future. Considering Seattle's financial handcuffs, they would probably pick up part of the costs of Cano's contract in order to facilitate the deal, easing the Yanks' own concerns about a ballooning payroll. Everybody wins.


Rich Mahogany said...

This post is prophetic. The Yankees will trade a fringe outfielder for Cano, but at least six years from now.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely hilarious!

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

It'll be like Soriano's homecoming all over again!

Rich Mahogany said...

The Cardinals signed Mark Ellis to a one-year deal. I can understand the Yankees not wanting to give Infante four years, but Ellis would have been a great fit at one year. I'm getting concerned that the Yankees are serious about not spending anymore.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

The only way I can rationalize it is that they are holding out for Tanaka. There are no obvious impact candidates at second or third, and so rather than use up part of their payroll for only a relative upgrade, I think they may have decided to hold onto that money and spend it on Tanaka IF he gets posted. That seems less and less likely at this point, but that is the only way I can understand the Yankees not having made some sort of deal yet for a second baseman. If that's not their thinking, then yes, they're just being cheap. But at the price of position players right now, they may feel getting in under $189 million is more important than giving that money to an only okay player, and holding it in case a more worthwhile player like Tanaka becomes available (or perhaps a trade candidate whose contract they have to pick up but is worth the price).

Rich Mahogany said...

If I understand the new posting rules correctly, they work like this:

1. All teams offer a posting bid, to a maximum of $20 million.

2. The winner gets exclusive rights to negotiate with the player.

3. If there is a tie (which there will be for Tanaka and any other quality Japanese player), all the tied teams can negotiate with the player as if he were an MLB free agent.

This arrangement greatly increases the player's leverage. Tanaka will be paid like a 25 year old no. 2 (possibly no. 1) starter. It's an unprecedented situation, so I'm hesitant to predict what he'd get, but I expect it to be in excess of $100 million.

In other words, it will be a big contract. So it just seems strange to me that the Yankees would pass up obvious and relatively inexpensive upgrades to go after more large contracts. Ellis will probably get $5-7 million, and while he's no superstar, he is a 2-3 win upgrade over Catch N Throw. I don't see why the Yankees have to sacrifice those wins at a very modest cost to go after yet another $100+ million contract.

Again, the Yankees need to pay attention to what the Red Sox are doing. They are maximizing their dollars by signing useful, but not elite, players to short contracts. You sign enough of those guys and you have team with no holes. The Yankees are top-heavy and will just be more so if they skip easy fixes like Ellis to invest in Tanaka.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

You can't compare the Yanks to Boston, Boston knows what it's doing and it's not clear the Yankees do. I agree with you that the Yanks should pursue more upgrades of the Ellis variety, but that would require good baseball sense, which I'm not sure they have. At days end, I think the Yanks are well aware that they have no pitching depth in the minors and that they want to get under $189 million for this year. Some have said that's already impossible, but they seem to disagree. The result is that they'll spend for a possibly elite pitcher but avoid even moderate additional contracts so as not to go over $189 million once Tanaka is in the fold. I don't expect much action from the Yanks outside of a trade (of either Ichiro or Gardner) until it is clear whether Tanaka will be posted or not.