Yankees have options as Trade Deadline nears
The Yankees don't have the injury bug -- they have the injury plague. Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Kevin Youkilis have all come back from injuries this season only to be placed on the disabled list again shortly after their return. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are injured as well and potentially months away from returning. Even guys like Eduardo Nuñez and Francisco Cervelli are hurt.
To this point, the Yankees are in a good position (just 3.5 games out of first place) mostly because of surprisingly good starts from some late Spring Training acquisitions like Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay. But their bats have calmed down significantly, and the Yankees' best threat at the plate, Robinson Cano, is being pitched around. As a result, the Yankees have scored an average of less than three runs per game in the last eight games, and have lost seven of their last nine.
With the Trade Deadline a little less than a month away, the Yankees should be looking for a bat or two to keep them afloat in the high-powered AL East. Given that the Yankees skew older, it's important that they keep their best young prospects in the organization. Their two best trade pieces might just be Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, who will be free agents this offseason.
Chances are the Yankees won't be able to land somebody like Giancarlo Stanton anytime soon, and with Curtis Granderson coming back in a few weeks and Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner playing well already, outfield may not be their top priority. But with Kevin Youkilis having just undergone back surgery and the uncertainty of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez's injuries, it looks as if adding a corner infielder should be.
There are three names in particular that the Yankees should pay attention to. The first is San Diego's third baseman Chase Headley. While the Padres aren't out of it yet, Headley has already said he has no intention of re-signing with them when his contract is up. His struggles this year (.222 6 HR 22 RBI in 59 GP) could mean San Diego is willing to give him up -- and his 115 RBIs last year could mean the Yankees would love to have him, regardless.
The second name is the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez. He has only played 40 games this year because of injury, but has played moderately well (.266 4 HR 19 RBI) when healthy. And given that the Brewers are 13 games under .500, they may be looking towards the future anyway. Although Ramirez is 34-years-old and counting, he had a terrific season last year (.300 27 HR 105 RBI) and could be worth the risk.
The last name is Mark Trumbo of the Angels. With Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in their lineup already, offense doesn't figure to be the Angels' problem. Their problem all year, in fact, has been starting pitching. Their ace Jered Weaver has been injured and ineffective, with a record of 1-3 and a 4.41 ERA. And Joe Blanton (1-10) and Tommy Hanson both have ERAs over 5.00.
This is where Phil Hughes comes in. Hughes, who is from California, could seriously bolster the struggling rotation in Anaheim. And Trumbo, who can play first base, DH and play outfield, would bring a much needed right-handed home run bat into the Yankees' lineup. If the Yankees add a prospect or two to the deal, it's a swap that could easily benefit both teams.