Yankees Trade Deadline Preview: Outfield

Brian Cashman's now infamous words of claiming the Yankees will be "careful buyer" has seemingly gone by the wayside in the wake of last night's blockbuster trade in which the Yankees dealt their number three overall prospect Blake Rutherford, double-A outfielder Tito Polo, single-A starting pitcher Ian Clarkin, and much maligned relief pitcher Tyler Clippard to the Chicago White Sox for 1B/3B Todd Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle In part two of our Trade Deadline Preview series, I'll be discussing the outfield situation and some of the players previously connected to the Yankees. 

**As a disclaimer, I firmly believe the Yankees are set in the outfield and will not be trading for another outfielder, but keeping with the template of our series, we'll look at potential trade targets, as well as pieces the Yankees might even look to deal from their plethora of outfielders** 
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As a refresher from our first piece, let's discuss what "careful buyers" means once again: 

The Yankees currently have a top-three farm system in all of baseball, with stud prospects like Gleyber Torres, Blake Rutherford, Jorge Mateo, Chance Adams, and others. In addition to those in the minor leagues, they also have talented prospects who have recently made their debuts, such as Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, and Dustin Fowler before his injury. Due to the injuries to Fowler, Torres and James Kaprielian, the likelihood of them going anywhere is small, and the likelihood of many of these mentioned prospects going anywhere is also small.  However, in some of these deals, it may be necessary to part ways with these prospects. While having a deep farm system is nice, prospects panning out is never guaranteed. And while you're in contention, Major League talent is more valuable than Minor League talent. There is a debate as to whether the Yankees truly will contend towards the end of this season, and the way they handle the deadline may determine that. But at the end of the day, the Yankees would like to keep most of their farm system in tact while upgrading where the price is right, so let's dive into that. 

Clint Frazier & Dustin Fowler
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The outfield is the one position the Yankees are least in need of an upgrade, with Aaron Judge as the present and future right fielder, Brett Gardner under contract through next season, Jacoby Ellsbury's albatross of a contract still in play, number two prospect Clint Frazier making an impact in recent weeks, and don't forget Aaron Hicks who is working his way back from an oblique strain. Let's take a look at a few players, all rentals, previously rumored in connection with the Yankees: 

JD Martinez (Tigers) 
The top outfielder available on the trade market, JD Martinez was shipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday. The Yankees were never really in play for Martinez as the cost to acquire him would have been way too high.  He will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Curtis Granderson (Mets) 
A former Yankee who is hitting okay for the Mets despite their poor season, Granderson is likely to be dealt before the end of next week as he is in the last year of his four-year, $60 million contract he signed ahead of the 2014 season.  Granderson is currently hitting .228/.330/.464 with 13 home runs and 37 runs batted in. He has battled injuries as well but not seen any DL time. Granderson is just a year removed from hitting 30 home runs, however. 

Jay Bruce (Mets) 
Another current Met in the final year of his contract, Bruce has been arguably the Mets second best hitter this year behind youngster Michael Conforto.  Bruce is hitting .270/.337/.540 with 24 home runs and 62 runs batted in.  He would be a perfect fit in Yankee Stadium, but there is just no room for him on the roster, and his defense is a concern.  He could, however, also play at first base occasionally The Yankees are listed on his limited no-trade clause.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images


Melky Cabrera (White Sox) 
Yet another former Yankee rumored to have a bit of connection to the team through a trade, the window to acquire Melky might have already come and gone as the Yankees just made a deal with Chicago yesterday and Cabrera was never a factor.  Melky, like Martinez, Granderson and Bruce, is set to be a free agent at season's end.  He is currently hitting a solid .289/.333/.422 with 11 home runs and 53 runs batted in after a very slow April. 

Conclusion/Predictions: 
While the Yankees will certainly not be in play for an available outfielder at this year's trade deadline – that is just not their area of need (starting pitching) – last night's trade with Chicago brought about an interesting development.  The Yankees are clearly not interested in adding outfield depth at this time, and perhaps they are even looking to deal from their wealth to improve other areas of need on the roster. Even with Rutherford and Polo now gone, the Yankees still have Judge, Gardner, Ellsbury, Hicks & Frazier at the major league level, and Dustin Fowler, Estevan Florial, Billy McKinney, and Jake Cave in the minors.  Rutherford's path to the majors seemed to be blocked and he was just too valuable a piece to sit on for too long.  Perhaps this is the start of another storm we haven't expected? 

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
With Ellsbury all but immovable due to his awful contract, I wouldn't expect him to be going anywhere unless the Yankees eat a ton of money on his contract (they won't). But perhaps, with Hicks due to return, and Frazier seemingly not at all fazed by playing in the majors, is this the year Brett Gardner is finally dealt?  The Yankees are in desperate need of starting pitching, and they don't seem to think Chance Adams is ready yet and Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell showed this week that they are not the answer.  Perhaps Gardner, along with maybe Jorge Mateo and another prospect, can form the basis of a package for a stud the Yankees so badly need? 

Our own Noah Clement will break down the starting rotation this afternoon and later this week Ryan Thoms has the bullpen, so stick around with us here at the BBB for more during this most exciting time of the year. 

Article by: Andrew Natalizio

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