This post has been updated with news on the Yankees' interest in Justin Ruggiano.
It's no secret that the Miami Marlins have been shopping Ricky Nolasco to teams desperate for a starting pitcher. It was reported that the Yankees had a scout at Nolasco's most recent start, which seemed strange because the Yankees aren't exactly hard up for pitching. They have at least six guys who could be starters in the rotation right now and Michael Pineda is on the horizon as number seven. According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Yankees had scouts at Nolasco's start, but they weren't there to see the Marlins' right-hander.
Tex SFG Col SD and NYY had scouts at nolasco's game last nite, via @DannyKnoblerCBS. but yanks not on nolasco, seek hitters— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 4, 2013
The Yankees need offense and the Marlins are selling off players, so this should come as no surprise. It's a pipe dream to believe that the Yankees might be able to swing a deal for Giancarlo Stanton, who the Marlins have repeatedly said is not available for trade. While most of the trade interest in Miami has centered around their bullpen arms, they do have a few offensive pieces that could pique the interest of the Yankees if the Marlins decide to trade them off.
Justin Ruggiano probably presents the most attractive option outside of Stanton with his 12 home runs in 71 games this season. He's certainly not without flaws with his sub-.300 on-base percentage and sub-100 wRC+, but he put up a 146 wRC+ in 91 games for Miami last season and currently sports a .270 BABIP that should be due for some correction. With Curtis Granderson returning soon and the emergence of Zoilo Almonte, the Yankees may not have room for another outfielder, though.
Update: Ken Rosenthal writes that sources confirm that the Yankees and Rangers are two of the teams that have expressed interest in acquiring Ruggiano. The Marlins have a rehabbing outfield prospect that could take over for Ruggiano in the outfield if he is traded. Does he represent an upgrade over current outfield options?
Ed Lucas is playing his first season in the big leagues since floating around in various teams' farm systems for ten years. The third baseman has a .293/.369/.343 line with a 104 wRC+ in 26 games so far in 2013. When a guy has been in the minor leagues that long, you have to side eye his success a little bit, but the Yankees don't want to use Eduardo Nunez as Alex Rodriguez's backup, Jayson Nix is out with a hamstring injury that cost Stanton over a month of playing time earlier this season, and David Adams hasn't managed to take advantage of his time as a starter by hitting at a reasonable clip. Lucas could potentially serve as a nice option for when A-Rod needs a DH day, which he will frequently.
The Yankees have possibly the greatest need at first base since Mark Teixeira will not be returning this season. That is one place that the Marlins truly don't have anyone that would represent an upgrade over Lyle Overbay. Maybe you see if an outfielder can hack it there, if the assumption is that anyone who can hit reasonably well can play first base, but there is really no relief from the Marlins on that score.
Ruggiano is under contract through 2016, so he wouldn't be given away for free. It's unlikely that a career minor leaguer like Lucas would factor into the Marlins' future plans, so he may be able to be had for a reasonable price. The Marlins aren't competing tomorrow and can't expect much for a guy who has spent the last decade traveling from farm system to farm system. Whether either of these guys would provide an upgrade over the players the Yankees already have is a different matter entirely. That being said, hold out hope for Stanton. It's almost certainly not going to happen, but dreaming on that is so much better than the reality of the situation. Do you see anything, Stanton not withstanding, offensively in Miami that might be an upgrade for the Yankees?