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The Tools of Ignorance: Monday News

The first day of free agency was relatively quiet for the Yankees. As always, don't believe the hype.  This is a long process.

The front office told Cliff Lee's agent, "um yeah, we're interested."

Marc Carig thinks that Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and Joba Chamberlain could be trade options if the Yankees' feel they can't fill their needs on the free agent market.

Nick Swisher is coming off a career season, and with his friendly contract, would be an attractive piece for teams looking to upgrade their outfield. Also, Gardner reportedly attracted inquiries last season, and his low price tag makes him another attractive piece. And then there’s Joba Chamberlain, another possible trade piece.

I call bullpucky on Nick Swisher. Swisher is signed for 2011 at $9M with an option for 2012.  I suppose a team built to contend right now, like the Cardinals or Phillies, could be interested in Swisher in RF, or the Rangers or Giants might look at him for 1B (though there are a ton of 1B on the market that should make them all cheaper options).

Gardner is still pre-arbitration and posted the team leading OBP in 2009, so his value to the Yankees is much higher than to any other team in the league.  That said, the Yankees are trying to sell him as a center fielder and use him as a left fielder, so if someone wanted to blow Cashman away, I expect he'd pull the trigger pretty happily.  Or if Lee opts to stay in Texas, moving Gardner for a starter becomes a priority.

As with GGBG, Joba has a different value to the Yankees than to any other team in the league.  It's the Yankees' hope to have too many starters to allow Joba a shot at the rotation.  Which means that if some team is willing to value him as a starter, he's gone.

Given the huge number of aging 1B/DH players on the market, what are the odds the Yankees could land a big(ish) name to ride the pine, pinch hitting and DHing as needed.  How good a player would they need to sign to be worth pinch hitting?  It's a minor concern, and the spot could be filled by a Juan Miranda type, but someone who could sub for Tex (or play RF and put Swisher at 1B) a few times each month could be 2011's quiet big deal.