The Yankees need to make some kind of a trade because otherwise their offense is not going to be strong enough to make them a contender in the second half of the season. The Padres and the Marlins are two teams that are in a position to sell, however, one may be more willing to trade off major pieces than the other.
After losing 14 of their last 15 games, the team once ready to make a move on the NL West division has now decided it's time to start looking at 2014. The last place Padres are now 8.5 games out of first place and 11.5 games out of a wildcard spot, so they could finally be interested in trading off someone like Chase Headley.
The third baseman has been on the trading block for awhile now, but this might finally be the time where he actually gets moved. He is under team control for 2014 as a Super Two and is currently making $8.5 million. In 2013 he has hit .229/.330/.359 with seven home runs, which is a 95 wRC+, but that still represents a significant upgrade for the Yankees over what their third basemen have produced this season: .218/.281/.293, 56 wRC+. The Padres would be asking for a decent return for their star player, but it might be worth it if it means no more Luis Cruz, David Adams, Alberto Gonzalez, or Jayson Nix at third base in 2013 and 2014. The Yankees haven't actually had a third baseman play third base since Kevin Youkilis went down with a back injury. Alex Rodriguez might be rehabbing, but the team can't afford to wait around and hope he can provide value.
Besides Headley, San Diego has plenty of other players that could make the team stronger. The Yankees could try to acquire a right-handed hitting outfielder like Chris Denorfia, who is signed through 2014 and has hit .271/.328/.394 for a 103 wRC+ this season, or Carlos Quentin, who is owed $17 million for the next two seasons with a $10 million option for 2016, but has hit very well, batting .275/.366/.496 for a 141 wRC+.
The Yankees could also target Logan Forsythe and move him to third base, now that he's been displaced by top prospect Jedd Gyorko, and Jesus Guzman, who can play the infield and outfield corners, but both are under team control for a long time still. Catcher Nick Hundley might have also been player to go after, but that became much less likely after Yasmani Grandal tore up his knee.
The Marlins are not even close to competing for a playoff spot and could instead be fighting with the Astros over the first pick in next year's draft. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that Giancarlo Stanton or Logan Morrison are available. Miami views both players as pieces to build around, rather than sell off. They could trade them if they are blown away with an offer, but the Yankees probably don't have the pieces to get Stanton and Morrison might not be worth the overpay.
Players who are available include Greg Dobbs, Placido Polanco and Justin Ruggiano and only Ruggiano is worth even considering. The righty outfielder has hit left-handed pitching at a rate of .230/.302/.460 with a 109 wRC+. He could be a nice addition to to the 2013 squad and is signed through 2017, making him a longterm option that could be worth pursuing.
The Yankees need to make a move, but the 2013 season is so up in the air right now that the smartest moves would be to make upgrades for the future, just in case this team can't turn it around.