The Yankees currently have six outfielders who could potentially make the Opening Day roster; Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki, and Brett Gardner. However, one of their best outfielders, Gardner, is also their best trade chip going into the 2014 season. If the Yankees want to acquire someone through a trade, Gardner would have to be the one included.
According to Peter Gammons, "at least a half-dozen teams–from the Phillies to the Tigers–have taken a run at Brett Gardner, knowing he's a free agent at the end of next season. But Brian Cashman won't move him until and unless he has to for starting pitching." It's not known when these teams looked in on the center fielder or if they're still interested at this point, but Brian Cashman has refused to move him for anything other than starting pitching.
The fate of Brett Gardner is likely tied to the fate of Masahiro Tanaka. If the Yankees are able to sign the Japanese right-hander, they will have no reason to trade Gardner and can fill the fifth spot in the rotation internally. David Phelps, Michael Pineda, and Manny Banuelos could all be candidates for the fifth starter role. If Tanaka signs elsewhere, it is likely Cashman will try to pull the trigger on a deal to get back a solid pitching talent.
The Yankees value Brett Gardner and will likely only part with him if it's a good deal for the team. They will probably try to avoid giving contracts to Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana, with the last two costing draft picks. Cashman has also said they may need to look at players who get released during spring training, like they did last year with Lyle Overbay, in order to find help.
As for the Phillies and the Tigers, the only teams specifically mentioned, Philadelphia could be trying to find a suitor for Cliff Lee, someone they seem to be perpetually shopping, or Jonathan Papelbon, who they have recently wanted to get rid of. The Tigers could have been a match before they traded Doug Fister away, and though they might still be interested, the Yankees need starting pitching. Who else do you think has been looking into Gardner?
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