New York Yankees possible trade targets: Infielders

Yanks have plenty of options for upgrades, either incremental or blockbuster
07/15/2014 12:20 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Could a half-season in Yankee Stadium invigorate lefty Chase Headley's bat?(AP)
While starting pitching and then perhaps a power bat are the Yankees' top desires as the trade deadline approaches, general manager Brian Cashman often says that the team is always looking for upgrades, whether they be incremental or blockbuster in nature.

That said, it is entirely possible that the Yankees could look to shore up their infield with a veteran acquisition, a big splash, or even someone with enough flexibility to allow Joe Girardi to do things like start Zelous Wheeler in right field (as he did in Cleveland) or Kelly Johnson in left (as in the final game before the break in Baltimore).

There isn't necessarily one marquee name on the radar at any position (and even at shortstop or first base, it seemingly wouldn't matter), but there are quite a few possibilities. Some may seem far-fetched and some may seem like slam dunks, but that's the beauty of the mania surrounding the trade deadline: sometimes, slam dunks miss and wild shots go in.

The name Chase Headley has been bandied about so much in trade talks over the last couple years that it may almost feel like a situation of the boy who cried wolf. However, as it stands today, Headley is at least an option, at least if the Padres feel that they're not going to re-sign him and/or would rather have a tangible prospect than the draft pick they'd get if he turned down a qualifying offer and went elsewhere.

Headley has struggled this season (.226-7-29 at the break), but he would be a defensive upgrade (as his 2012 Gold Glove can attest to) and, as Ichiro and Alfonso Soriano have shown over the last two years, it's possible for a veteran to have a resurgence in Yankee Stadium after a trade. He would cost the Yankees roughly $5 million plus whatever they give up to acquire him,

Assuming second and/or third base is where the Yankees would look to upgrade most, one name that may make sense is Gordon Beckham, who is hitting .238 with seven homers and 28 RBI this season. He has played second base exclusively the last four years but did come up in 2009 at third base, so he could be an option there, and his contract - a little less than $2 million left this season, and then third-year arbitration eligible in 2015 - means he could be an inexpensive addition now and an insurance policy next year for either second base (which is theoretically open because Brian Roberts is on a one-year deal) or third (if something complicates A-Rod's return).

If something were to change Carlos Beltran's status as a full-time DH, perhaps Adam Dunn or even Paul Konerko, who is a 10-and-5 guy but may waive his rights to play for a possible contender in what could be his final year, could be options to fill a DH role and backup Mark Teixeira in a pinch.

Like the Yankees, the Indians enter the break at 47-47 and are by no means out of the race, but they have a proven utility player in Mike Aviles (.270-3-23 in 63 games at second, third, short, and left field) and a pending free agent shortstop in Asdrubal Cabrera (.251-8-37 in 89 games) who could be very enticing if Cleveland goes cold over the first 10 days following the break.

In Aviles, the Yankees (or any team) get a guy who is inexpensive now (less than half of his $3 million left this year), could be an option next year ($3.5 million option with a $250K buyout), and has played every position but first base and catcher in the last two seasons.

Cabrera, meanwhile, could be an interesting thought, and one of those wild longshots; like Beckham, Cabrera came up at a different position (second base, which he played in 2007 and 2008), so could the Yankees look to have him to play second (or even third) for the remainder of 2014 and then try to lock him in as a longer-term replacement for Derek Jeter once The Captain retires?

The Marlins were in the thick of the race until a four-game losing streak heading into the break - although really, they're not out of it by any means - and may not look to sell, but if they do, they might have one valuable asset the Yankees might like: Casey McGehee.

You may remember McGehee from his 22-game cameo in the Bronx in 2012, but this year's McGehee is a much different model; after spending 2013 in Japan (where he played alongside Masahiro Tanaka on the NPB champion Rakuten Golden Eagles), the lefty-hitting third baseman has posted a .319 batting average (good for fourth in the NL) and 53 RBI in his return to the States, and he currently leads the senior circuit with 115 hits.

McGehee could be a rock at third base while also filling in at first if needed, and he could even be an inexpensive option in 2015, too; he's owed roughly $500K over the remainder of the year and would be arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter, so the team could hang onto him if desired.

An intra-division trade isn't out of the question, and despite all of the Rays' injury woes right now, they don't seemingly have a place on the active roster for utility man Jayson Nix.

It's no secret that "Nixy" has been a favorite in New York, and given that he has hit lefties this year the same way he always has (.278 in the minors), he could be an option if the Yankees wanted to platoon him with Kelly Johnson while having a more versatile backup infielder.

This possibility may be short-lived, as Nix has an opt-out clause that says he can become a free agent on July 15, but it's an intriguing one either way.

Follow us on Twitter @LouDiPietroYES and @YESNetwork for more. comments