As some of you may have read in my New York Yankees News and Notes post from Monday morning, I have started doing a Yankees mailbag. You, as readers, can feel free to email me quality questions worthy of being on the front page.
I've already gotten a few emails with some good questions, so I wanted to jump right in and see how this goes. It could provide some quality discussion in the dog days of winter. The first few questions are from 'Meatface.'
Also, I would appreciate some feedback on the post. Would you like to see more of these during the next few months?
With the large number of trade pieces that the Yankees have, how likely is a major trade for the Yankees this off-season?
I was thinking about this the other day, and I think the Yankees will definitely need to move somewhat quickly when it comes to dealing with some of their prospects. Guys like Adam Warren, David Phelps, and Hector Noesi aren't getting any younger, and there aren't many open roles on this team right now. They provide excellent depth, as most teams would love to have guys like them that could step in as a 5th starter in the event of an injury. But the older they get, they farther their trade value will fall. If the Yankees make a relatively minor move, seeing any of those guys in a deal would not surprise me.
The Yankees have elite prospects in Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Gary Sanchez that could be moved in the right package, but as of now, the market hasn't taken shape and it is difficult to say who will become available. The Yanks have also refused them in deals for good but not great starters, so it would really take someone special to see these guys moved.
Right field is the only position I could see the Yankees making a move. If a guy like Justin Upton becomes available again this offseason, as he did last winter, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Yankees kick the tires on him. Nick Swisher is a Type A free agent (if the Yankees decide not to pick up his option) and the compensation he would bring back (first round pick and a compensation round pick) would help re-stock the system after the Yankees would have paid heavily in prospects in the hypothetical deal for Upton.
As for the rotation, I think the Yankees (and most teams) will wait until the trade deadline to make any major moves. Next year's free agent pitching class is loaded with talent, and depending on where teams stand, there could be a lot of talent available in July. There's also the added bonus of teams overpaying at the deadline attempting to make a playoff push, so teams could try to wait out the first three or four months and try to cash in then.
How likely are the Red Sox to pursue Jose Reyes? And what can they do about their rotation woes?
I'm not so sure the Red Sox will be interested in Reyes, because I don't think they have the payroll flexibility. Adrian Gonzalez will be making $21M instead of the $6.3M he made in 2011, and Crawford's contract goes up about $6M to $20.35M. Add in Beckett's $17M, Lackey's $16M, Youkilis' $12.25M, Matsuzaka's $10.33M, Pedroia's $8.25M, Lester's $7.63M, and Jenks' $6M we have nearly $119M due to just nine players. If Ortiz and Papelbon re-sign, then that's about another $25M of payroll and we're at $144M for just 11 players.
Now, consider that the Red Sox have a ton of players due for arbitration raises, including Jacoby Ellsbury, who will be getting a nice raise after his MVP caliber 2011.
Also consider the fact that their recent big free agent deals, Lackey and Crawford, haven't worked out too well, and it doesn't seem like the Red Sox will be big players on the big time free agents this winter.
Of course, they could also keep raising payroll like they have in the past few years and make a big splash, but I don't think they'll do it. They've shown that they like to stay under the luxury tax, and signing Reyes would certainly push them over.
For the rotation, I'm not sure there's really anything they can do. Beckett and Lackey's contracts are immovable, and Lester is a stud. Clay Buchholz should be ready for 2012, so the only spot left open is the fifth starter since Dice-K will be rehabbing from Tommy John. I think they could look for a reclamation project like the Yankees did with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia and hope for the best, or they could try to make a minor move for a back end starter.