Yankees Trade Rumors: Focus is on the Bench

The Yankees have the second ranked offense in all of baseball this season slightly behind the Boston Red Sox and way out in front of whomever is the third place team on any given day. Still, with all of the injuries they’ve been experiencing they’ve had a problem with getting consistent offense. Buster Olney of ESPN has reported that the Yankees have been on the lookout for a bat.

Last season they had a great bench thanks to Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston Jr., but for some reason, mostly monetary, general manager Brian Cashman thought it was unwise to retain both in 2010. Instead he wanted to go with Ramiro Pena and Marcus Thames. The problem has been that Pena doesn’t have nearly a major league bat and Thames has missed time on the DL and has been a starter for part of the season when Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher were out. Thames will be back soon and that will help bolster the bench, but Olney wonders if the Yankees might make a move for the Orioles Ty Wigginton.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that the Yankees aren’t necessarily looking to upgrade their utility infielder, but threw out a few other names that the Yankees might eventually go after: Willie Bloomquist of the Royals, John McDonald of the Blue Jays are two such players. He also suggested that Jayson Nix, who is a free agent after getting DFA’d by the White Sox, as another. The Cubs’ Ryan Theriot and Geoff Blum of the Astros were two other less likely names Rosenthal threw out there.

The Yankees might still be in denial that they are going to make a deal for a utility infield type, but you have to wonder how much longer they’re going to be willing to go with Pena’s .190 average and below average UZR numbers. Kevin Russo, Chad Huffman, and Colin Curtis haven’t exactly wowed anyone yet either and realistically it wouldn’t take much to upgrade any of them (Curtis really hasn’t had any opportunity yet, but based on his minor league career nobody is expecting much).

Out of all the names Olney and Rosenthal have thrown out there Wigginton is the best one, but it is not clear if the Orioles would be willing to deal him within their division. He will be one of the better free agents on the trade market so it’s not like they’ll have a lack of suitors outside the division.

Those other names are upgrades over what they have now, but only marginal. If they have to give up much for any of those players it is probably just best to stay in house and give Eduardo Nunez a shot soon. Nunez is an infielder with Triple-A Scranton that has been tearing it up this year. Through 70 games he has a .320 average and a .775 OPS. Not bad for a potential utility infielder. If the Yankees are sincere in not wanting to trade for infield help hopefully they’re at least considering bringing Nunez up.

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7 Responses to Yankees Trade Rumors: Focus is on the Bench

  1. Lucas Weick says:

    Nunez would be a great upgrade over Pena offensively, but his defense seems to be a little lackluster, so I don't know if the Yankees want to sacrifice defense for offense, especially since they are carrying only one middle infielder right now.

  2. Mike S. says:

    I liked what I saw of Nunez. .322 at Trenton (AA) last year with 19 SB.

    .320 at AAA SWB this year. 14 SB. He has played very little outside of SS however, and we know who is ahead of him there.

    Of Nunez' minor league games, 562 are at SS, just 19 at 2B and 8 at 3B. Maybe SWB should play him at 2B and 3B more often to make him more versatile. Just a thought.

    I'd like Wigginton. Versatility and a MLB bat which the others don't have.

    Another name I am hearing, and I've advocated him for years, is that of David DeJesus.

    A big question mark is Nick Johnson. If I'm Cashman, I proceed as if Johnson is NOT coming back. If he does, it's a bonus. But proceed as if he isn't—and get another bat. That bat would replace Pena or Russo on the roster as presently constructed.

  3. The only thing about DeJesus, and why I haven't brought him up at all here, is that he's a starting outfielder and there are teams who need starters. On the Yankees he would strictly be a bench player/4th outfielder. I don't think Cashman is going to pay starter prices on a bench piece. Not that he isn't good, or that he wouldn't make this team much better, I just don't think the benefits are worth the costs and I bet Cashman will see it the same way.

    • Mike S. says:

      Could be. I can see him Dhing and giving all three OF a blow. Also, can play all 3 OF positions, which Thames doesn't do. The pricetag on DeJesus, $4.7 M, is reasonable.

      But Wigginton's infield versatility could be much more desirable based on his ability to play third and give Alex days at DH, which he seems to need (age and hip) much more than any of the outfielders. Wigginton is listed at $3.5 M. Heck, Cano never gets a day and Wiggy would be fine there just to give Robbie a blow. Preference Wigginton to DH, spell Alex (and occasionally even Teix or Cano).

  4. Well technically Russo is their second middle infielder even though he’s being used as an outfielder. So far Pena hasn’t been much defensively himself so bringing up Nunez wouldn’t be much worse. Pena has negative UZR numbers at second, third, and in the outfield this year. He’s really only has been strong defensively at shortstop this season.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    Wigginton has been out there for the taking for years. I would be pretty p'd off if they were to give up a good prospect for him now.

    Give Russo a few more at bats, his minor league record indicates that he should hit eventually and he has shown surprisingly good defense at different positions.

  6. Wigginton’s past availability doesn’t lower his price. He’s a veteran, he’s not especially great, but he’s proven solid. It takes something to get something. Not every move is a salary dump.