Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What Should the Yankees Do With Brett Gardner?

After the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury (7-years/$153 million), and Carlos Beltran (3-years/$45 million), the Yankees have a crowded outfield. They now have 7 outfielders, Ichiro, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, and Kelly Johnson, to go with Beltran and Ellsbury. It seems as if they will trade Wells to anybody who will take him. The Yanks are still left with CF Brett Gardner. Gardner, who is a free agent next year, is a similar player to Jacoby Ellsbury. Gardner hit .273 in 539 PA last year with a career high in home runs (8), doubles (22) and triples (10) and RBIs (52), and was 24-for-32 in stolen base attempts in 2013. 

The Yankees seem to want to add another established pitcher to add to their rotation, or some second base help, after losing free agent second baseman Robinson Cano to the Mariners. Now while Yankees GM Brian Cashman might not seem like he's upset about Cano leaving, he probably is upset that they don't have a second baseman as good as Cano. The Yankees were able to sign utility man Kelly Johnson to a 1year/$3 million contract last week, however he isn't Cano. Kelly Johnson isn't anywhere near Cano in terms of offense. Johnson hit .235 with 16 HRs and 52 RBIs in 2013. The .235 could end up being the weak link in the Yankees stacked lineup. So what should the Yankees do?

With CC Sabathia, Kuroda, and Nova already in the starting rotation, the Yanks have Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Adam Warren as potential candidates for the final two starting spots. I think they're fine. The Yankees should turn their attention to second base now, and use Gardner as trade bait. While they stated it would take a lot to move him in the past, the best option might be acquiring Brandon Phillips from the Reds. The Reds are in need of a center fielder, and Gardner could be just the guy. The Yankees could throw in another OF prospect of theirs, such as Zolio Almonte, and another prospect, and get a deal done.

This could potentially work out well for both teams, and they should definitely look into it.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter. @RyanORourkeMLB

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