As the season inches closer to the Trade Deadline, the Yankees will seek to upgrade their roster wherever and however they can. Despite a 15–9 record against left-handed starters, the Yankees, as a team, are batting .236/.308/.341 with a 76 wRC+ against them. That's the third-worst in baseball. Also, given the fact that Jayson Nix and Mark Teixeira own the team's only two right-handed home runs this month and David Adams and Chris Stewart make up their best right-handed options, Brian Cashman will certainly be looking to find some better talent.
BTW, this isn't exactly revelatory, but rival execs have said Yankees are asking around on right-handed bats. Shocking, I know.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) June 26, 2013
If the Yankees are looking around now, they're looking at teams who are definitely out of contention. That means the teams currently floating around .500 (Giants, Rockies, Padres, Nationals) are probably not interested in dealing yet.
Cashman could be in contact with frequent trade partner Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners about his two veteran first base/DH options. Michael Morse currently has a 163 wRC+ against lefties and a 91 wRC+ against righties, while Kendrys Morales has a 142 wRC+ against lefties and a 99 wRC+ against righties. Either one could be an upgrade over Lyle Overbay's extreme platoon splits (46 wRC+/106 wRC+) or Travis Hafner, now that he's put up a 63 wRC+ in May and a 59 wRC+ in June. Morse is currently on the disabled list with a quad injury, but it isn't too serious. Between the two of them, Morales might be the better fit as a switch hitter who can take advantage of the short porch in right field.
The Yankees are probably in contact with the White Sox as they will almost certainly be trading off some of their lingering contracts. If the Yankees want some right-handed options, Paul Konerko, with his 142 wRC+ against left-handers, would be a great fit to platoon at first base with Overbay. The Yankees would have to pay a portion of the $13 million he is owed this season, but the problem is that he has a no-trade clause, so he might not even go anywhere.
Alex Rios could become an upgrade in the outfield, since he has hit right-handers (113 wRC+) and left-handers (124 wRC+) equally. Curtis Granderson will be back, but Rios could replace Ichiro Suzuki's 64 wRC+ against righties. Moving Ichiro to the bench could allow the Yankees to part ways with Vernon Wells, however, they would have to eat a lot of money from Wells and take on $12.5 million in 2014 before they buy out Rios in 2015 for $1 million. It's a lot of money that the $189 million-plan Yankees might not want to spend.
The Yankees could easily become trade partners with the Minnesota Twins if they want to acquire options for 2014 as well. Both Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit are under contract for next season, so Cashman might have to give up a little more to land them. Willingham is actually hitting righties (112 wRC+) better than lefties (104 wRC+) this year and he is owed $7 million in 2014. Doumit has a 102 wRC+ against lefties and a 93 wRC+ against righties, but is only owed $3.5 million next season. The benefit of Doumit is that he is a catcher and an outfielder, so he could represent a massive offensive upgrade behind the plate if the Yankees choose to install him there.
The Yankees could take Nick Punto from the Dodgers as an upgrade over Jayson Nix. He could be used as a shortstop/third baseman, like Nix, and allow them to get rid of Alberto Gonzalez. Punto has a 127 wRC+ against left-handers, but a 72 wRC+ against right-handers and is still better than Nix. He is also a much better defender, so putting him at shortstop and Nix at third would allow them to finally send David Adams back down to Scranton. The Yankees already have Eduardo Nunez, if he ever comes back from the disabled list, but they could easily option him down, considering he's been terrible even when he was healthy.
Michael Young could be the most likely Yankees trade candidate on this list. The Rangers are already paying $10 million toward his contract, so if they split the remaining amount of money with the Phillies he would only be a $3 million player. Young has a 115 wRC+ against left-handers and a 102 wRC+ against right-handers this season, which would be an offensive upgrade over Overbay at first and whoever is playing third base. Now that Mark Teixeira needs season ending surgery, Young could easily replace him as an every day player.
Somehow Placido Polanco could represent an upgrade for this team against left-handed pitching. He has 108 wRC+ against lefties, but a 34 wRC+ against righties. If the Yankees use him in a strict platoon role off the bench, he might actually provide some value.
Some of these options are expensive, some of them are cheap, and some will make you want to scream. If the Yankees think they can compete (when have they ever not?) a deal is going to be made and the Yankees desperately need a right-handed hitter who can actually hit a baseball. Who do you want?
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