Over the last few weeks, there have been a number of transactions and trade rumors involving the Yankees. However, the most significant transaction involved another team taking the Yankees best player, Robinson Cano. Regardless of how we feel about that and what the Yankees should or should not have done with regard to Cano, the Yankees have since been dealing with the task of trying to replace him. With respect to the same, the names bandied about by supposedly legitimate sources have made most Yankees fans frustrated. Omar Infante, Darwin Barney, Brandon Phillips? Seriously? Three guys who play higher end defense but range from being on the decline to marginal hitters at best, to be kind. So now we can have two Brendan Ryan types in the lineup plus who knows what at third (Kelly Johnson?)? I know that the Yankees have to deal with the market that is available to them but I find it hard to believe this is it. Which brings me to what I would think would be their best solution, a trade with the Mariners.
The Mariners now have multiple MLB ready/experiences infielders with nowhere to play. Nick Franklin, Dustin Ackley, Stefen Romero, are all without real spots on the team. Notably, all of those guys are or were decent prospects and play either second base or third base, both of which are significant needs for the Yankees. Further, none of these guys would make any notable hit to the Yankees payroll if the Yankees are concerned with the same still. It would seem like trying to secure these guys through trade is both viable and a no brainer decision.
Nick Franklin, while a solid prospect, has never been so highly ranked a prospect that people drool over. Yet he is a multi-tool player projected to be above average everything. Stefen Romero is not a top 100 prospect but he has solid hitting tools and projects to hit well and for power. Dustin Ackley was actually, at peak, the best rated prospect of the three. However, a pedestrian couple season brought his status down. Nonetheless, some more seasoning and tweaking seems to have helped him toward the end of last year, whereby he showed flashes of the skills that made him so highly rated a couple of years ago. All of these three players have upside, but are not top prospects with top value, and have no starting spots open to them that fit their skill set which means all three should be available to be had for the right deal.
Most people are in agreement that the Yankees system disappointed this past season especially with respect to the previously ranked top prospects. Because of the same, the Yankees ability to leverage these prospects in a trade is much more limited than they would like. However, that does not mean the Yankees have no one to offer in a trade to get someone of value, but rather that they have a lot less leverage than they would like. As stated with respect to Seattle, none of three guys named are top prospects right now, just guys with upside, the same of which could be said about the Yankees prospects, notably, many of whom rank or ranked in the same stratosphere with the Mariner prospects. Further, the Yankees have a combination of things that fill needs for the Mariners. Specifically, the Mariners still have a tenuously put together outfield and difficulty getting players to take their money, which is why they had to overwhelm Cano. While the Mariners have some very nice prospects, none of them are outfielders. Plus, while they have two of the best pitching prospects in the game, only one is ready as the other one will miss next season because of Tommy John surgery. Because of the same, the Mariners could use some depth. Additionally, they could use some bullpen reinforcements. The Yankees have all of these things to offer.
Considering the aforesaid, it would seem clear that a trade could be made that would make both teams happy. For the Yankees, acquiring Nick Franklin and Stefen Romero would answer both the Yankees infield needs. To make the Mariners interested in doing so the Yankees could trade something like, though with easy potential tweaking, Brett Gardner, one of the Yankees top prospect outfielders, someone like Chase Whitley or Francisco Rondon and/or Vidal Nuno. This is a win-win type of trade for both teams. The Yankees get two guys who can start for them this season, but of whom have solid to high upside. The Mariners get a definite upgrade in the outfield immediately who they can try to negotiate with long term or even do so in advance if they like, but also two to three guys who fill needs they do not have the depth to fill themselves. Also, should the Mariners decide to trade for someone like David Price down the road even though the same would be silly because he with not sign with them, the Mariners would be positioned just as well to do so. (If need be, the Yankees can always substitute someone like JR Murphy or Jose Ramirez for other players in the deal to make it easier for the Mariners to make another trade if the Mariners are so inclined.)
Realistically, there is no better investment the Yankees could make in their future at the present time than a trade of this type.