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What can the Yankees gain from a Detroit Tigers fire sale?

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Who could the Yankees acquire?

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees will be looking to upgrade their roster this winter. They could use some more pitching, and a power bat wouldn’t be so bad. There’s no one on the free agent market worth pursuing, so a trade might be best. Heading into the offseason, the Tigers have said they are willing to discuss trading anyone. Who on Detroit’s roster should the Yankees be looking to acquire?

Stay Away

Miguel Cabrera

Yes, obviously Cabrera is still one of the best players in baseball, even at the age of 33. He just put up 38 home runs this year, and he would surely make a good replacement for Mark Teixeira; however, the financial commitment would be nonsensical for the Yankees to take on at this point. He is still owed $212 million through 2023, not to mention the two vesting options for his age-41 and -42 seasons. Since the 10-year Alex Rodriguez contract, New York has been averse to such financial commitments. The Yankees have Greg Bird returning, and there is no way they will accept Cabrera’s seven-year-deal at this point.

Jordan Zimmermann

Zimmermann was someone I wanted the Yankees to go after in free agency, but now that he completely fell apart in his first season with Detroit, he should be avoided like the plague. As a 30-year-old, he struggled and dealt with injury throughout the season. He might eventually be able to work things out when he gets healthy, but right now the Yankees can’t invest $92 million on a four-year contract that might never work out for them.

Justin Upton

There is just way too much risk involved in a deal for Upton that the Yankees shouldn’t really consider him as a possibility. As good as he has been, he’s still not as good as he “should” be. Still, he turned that potential into a lucrative contract that will net him $110 over the next five seasons. It’s easy to see his 2017 opt-out clause as a sure thing, but if Upton continues to disappoint, it becomes more likely that he decides to opt in to the remainder of his deal. The Yankees can’t be stuck with a player like that, especially when their outfield will already be filled.

Worth A Look

Anibal Sanchez

Despite being injury prone and pretty bad over the last two seasons, Sanchez is a name that is at least worth checking up on. The red flags are serious, but if the Yankees think there’s even a chance they could change things around for him, a $16 million contract would be worth it in 2017. He would be a project, though, and it’s probably better if they avoid those kinds of players right now.

Nick Castellanos

As a 24-year-old three years away from free agency, and having just broken out this past season, Castellanos seems like the type of player the Yankees should be targeting. Unfortunately, he appears to be a third baseman in name only, as most defensive metrics seem to dislike his work in the field. The Yankees have Chase Headley, but his contract would be easy enough to move if they found the right replacement. Castellanos might not be the one, but he’s at least worth considering this offseason.

Ian Kinsler

To accommodate a Kinsler acquisition, the Yankees would have to make a few moves. They already have a second baseman in Starlin Castro, but Kinsler has been one of the best players in baseball in recent years. They could shift Castro to third and shuffle Headley out as they search for more pitching, but this is all very unlikely to happen. It’s just something you have to consider when you can get 5.0+ WAR for $11 million in 2017, then pick up a $12 million team option the year after.

Go For It

Justin Verlander

After two seasons of disappointment, Verlander seems to have returned to form this year, pitching to a 3.04 ERA and 3.49 FIP in 227 innings. If the Tigers are ready to sell on him, the Yankees should look into a potential deal, but it might ultimately be too much of a gamble for them. Despite improved numbers, he is still owed $84 million over the next three years, not to mention a $22 million vesting option in 2020. The Yankees are one season away from running out of starting pitchers, though, and Verlander would go a very long way in filling up innings over the next few seasons.

Francisco Rodriguez

After trading away Andrew Miller this year, the Yankees could use another arm in the back end of the bullpen. Instead of signing a reliever to a long-term contract, they could target someone like Rodriguez, who is only due to earn $6 million off a team option. He just saved 44 games in 49 opportunities at the age of 34, so high leverage situations shouldn’t be a problem for him. Installing him as the closer would also allow Dellin Betances to remain in more of a fireman role too.

Victor Martinez

Despite his age and injury concerns, the Yankees should seriously consider acquiring Victor Martinez to serve as the team’s regular designated hitter for the next two seasons. The organization would no doubt want to have a more versatile player there, but they also really need a power bat in the lineup. At $18 million per year, V-Mart would be a useful, and affordable option, even during his age-38 and -39 seasons.

Do Whatever It Takes

J.D. Martinez

The Tigers briefly spoke about signing Martinez to a long-term deal, however, with news of the coming fire sale, these plans have changed. The Yankees might have Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier coming down the pipeline, but as a one-year deal at $11 million, Martinez seems like an easy sell. He isn’t great in the outfield, but his bat is strong enough to fit at DH if one of the prospects pushes his way into the picture.

Michael Fulmer

There is a good chance that Fulmer’s value will never be higher. As a 23-year-old rookie, he had a campaign that is sure to earn him the Rookie of the Year nod. He doesn’t have a huge track record when it comes to his minor league usage, but his 2016 season has shown that he knows how to pitch. A player with this much team control is likely going to cost the Yankees a good amount.

Bruce Rondon

After years of anticipation and expectation, Bruce Rondon finally arrived and put it all together. He joined the big league team in June, and from there, he pitched to a sub-3.00 ERA with an 11 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 to make him a legitimate bullpen weapon going forward. He’s about to become arbitration eligible, which could motivate the Tigers to move him as they try to strip down payroll. Rondon would offer another high-leverage option in the bullpen alongside Betances.