As of today's date, the Yankees have three glaring holes on the team, second base, third base and an upper tier starting pitching slot. As we all know that the Yankees are holding out hope that they can land Masahiro Tanaka and that he represents the only potentially worthwhile starting pitching investment that seems available to the Yankees, unless Homer Bailey becomes an option, let us assume that starting pitching is nothing to be addressed at the moment. While studly starting free agent pitching options are sparse, the cupboard for high quality free agent infield options is completely bare. The Yankees have already added blah options like Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts, while looking at more blah options like Mark Reynolds, Scott Baker, etc. I think everyone would agree that losing Cano is bad enough, but replacing him, even in the loosest of senses, with the likes of the names added and bandied about, is downright frustrating. That being said, what else can the Yankees do other than figure out a trade that they can make happen that will land them something better.
Notably, as most of us realize, the Yankees farm system has been poor to date on the development side, and possibly the scouting side as well. The Yankees seemingly best prospects are too low in the minors to have the kind of value to make team's toes tingle. The prospects who are high enough in the system to excite clubs have done nothing to culminate excitement. Because of these problems, ingenuity is needed more so for the Yankees than other teams who do not have these issues. In the effort to attempt ingenuity, I start off with a not so novel concept of involving a third team to become the catalyst to making the deal. The one thing the Yankees can do (if they decide that winning is foremost) that many other teams either cannot or will not, is absorb some salary. Therein lies there chance to get better. That being said let us look at a trade that seems to make sense for all.
Previously, I suggested that the Yankees acquire Nick Franklin. I continue to hold to the belief that, he would be a great as well as the best option for the Yankees. However, as most people recognize, the Yankees may not have, at least standing alone, the best pieces that would entice Seattle into making such a deal. In case that is true, here is a scenario that changes that. A third team is brought into the equation, specifically the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are looking to unload Jonathan Papelbon and in order to do so, have noted that they would include Domnic Brown in a deal to do so. The Phillies want to use the money they are paying Papelbon to add one of the starters in free agency. Meanwhile, the Mariners want another outfielder and probably would prefer one under team control. The Phillies want salary room more than anything else and have no need for a second baseman. Accordingly, the Phillies trade Dominic Brown to the Mariners and Jonathan Papelbon to the Yankees, while the Mariners trade Nick Franklin to the Yankees. A part or two or some money may need to be included in the deal by one or multiple teams, but it is a win-win for all three teams because each team gets what they want and need. I know most Yankee fans do not like the idea of Papelbon as a Yankee but he has been a solid closer over his career but more important is worth absorbing if he can bring someone like Franklin to the team. David Robertson who might be a perfectly good closer still has plenty of value as the 8th inning guy or can be traded for a better 3rd base option like Matt Davidson. Oh wait, the Yankees missed that boat. They could still do that idea for someone else like maybe Jedd Gyorko or some other nice 3b option. I do not want to trade Robertson and like his skills a lot but he might bolt next offseason anyway unless the Yankees are willing to pay him closer money. But even if he wanted to re-sign, the idea of adding say Nick Franklin and Jedd Gyorko or someone else of potential value (e.g., Mike Moustakas) would make trading him worthwhile.