Rumors of a three-way trade involving the Yankees sparked up Wednesday with Justin Masterson of the Indians and Brett Gardner being speculated as two of the pieces. Indians manager Terry Francona told Masterson he wasn't being traded and Brian Cashman made it clear that he wasn't actively shopping Gardner. A trade proposal from the Cincinnati Reds that would have involved a swap of Gardner and Brandon Phillips was rejected by the Yankees late Wednesday night. A day after all that crazy went down, more details about the three-way trade that wasn't are coming out.
According to Sweeny Murti of WFAN, the three-team trade would have sent Gardner to Cleveland, Justin Masterson to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and shortstop Didi Gregorius, who would have been moved to second base for the time being, to New York. Gregorius would have helped to fill the void left by Robinson Cano at second base while allowing the Yankees to deal from one of their few places of strength, the outfield.
Cashman seems adamant about holding onto Gardner unless he can get solid starting pitching in return, or at least something more than adequate to fill the hole in the infield. It seems as though the Yankees have no qualms about starting 2014 with both Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield, but are at least willing to listen in case the right deal comes along for impending free agent Gardner. Judging by the comments Francona made yesterday, the hold up on this deal may have very well been on the part of the Indians and not the Yankees.
The Winter Meetings come to a close in Orlando today, but that certainly doesn't mark the end of the trading process. Other teams know what the Yankees need and that Gardner is one of the few major league proven pieces they have with which to make a trade. It may all come down to whether or not another team needs Gardner enough to part with an enticing player for the Yankees, or if the front office decides to go with an okay deal instead of a great one.