Last night Cliff Lee dropped a bombshell on the Yankees – he was taking his talents to Philadelphia. With Andy Pettitte possibly retiring the rotation as of right now is CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, and Sergio Mitre. Not exactly inspiring. So whom could the Yankees possibly trade for to improve their rotation. Here are 10 possible candidates in no particular order:
- Zack Greinke, Royals – Have to start this list with him. He’s young, talented, and most importantly, available. The Royals have him on the trade block, but the Yankees are hesitant to trade for him because of his exorbitant price tag and make-up questions.
- Mark Buehrle, White Sox – Rumors out there are that the Sox are willing to listen to offers for Buehrle. Minor problem, his contract includes clauses that bump his contract up to $15 million a year and add another year to his contract so he would essentially be paid $30 million over next two years.
- James Shields & Matt Garza, Rays – I’ll put these two together because neither is a no. 1 or a no. 2 really. More like a no. 3. Also, since they are on the Rays the chances that they’ll trade him in division to the Yankees are slim. Neither is a terrible option though.
- Joe Blanton, Phillies – Now that the Phillies signed Lee they may want to trade Blanton and the two-years and $17 million left on his contract. This guy doesn’t seem to be fit for the AL East though. His ERA+ over the last two years with the Phillies is just 93.
- Derek Lowe, Braves – It seems like there have been rumors the Braves would be willing to trade Lowe since he signed. He’s still owed $30 million over the next two years though, but he is AL East tested. Lee to Phils may make the Braves slightly more likely to trade him.
- Ricky Nolasco, Marlins – Nolasco made $3.8 million last year and is due a raise again this year. This is important because the typically frugal Marlins have already added over $10 million in salaries not counting arbitration raises. He isn’t on the trade block yet, but that could change.
- Wandy Rodriguez, Astros – Rodriguez will be a free agent a year from now so the Astros, who are rebuilding, may be open to a trade before they lose him. He made $5 million last year and will get a raise this offseason.
- Chris Carpenter, Cardinals – Not sure if the Cards would be willing to deal Carpenter, but emergence of Jaime Garcia and the impending free agency of Albert Pujols may incline them to listen to offers. He’ll make $15 million in 2011 and has a club option worth $15 million for 2012.
- Barry Zito, Giants – Haven’t heard that he’s available, but the fact that he didn’t even make the Giants postseason roster and is still owed $64.5 million makes me feel like they’d be willing to listen to offers. The Giants would almost have to eat some salary though, maybe even as much as $20 million, which would make it hard to get a deal done.
- Francisco Liriano, Twins – I saved this one to last because we already know the Twins wouldn’t want to trade him. I like this one the most though because there is potential for a three team deal with the Royals and Greinke. It’s an extreme longshot, but the Yankees could send a package to Kansas City in exchange for Greinke, who could then be shipped to Minnesota, with more prospects, for Liriano. An extreme longshot, but if you don’t believe Greinke could pitch in the Bronx the best name on this list.
It’s hard to say at this point what the Yankees plans are in the wake of missing out on Lee. They might not make any trades right now and instead look to strengthen their bullpen and wait for the right trade opportunity to present itself. If Pettitte does indeed retire it is hard to see them not trading for somebody. That person might not be on this list, but they’ll trade for somebody.
So what do you think? Did I leave somebody off this list? Which pitcher would you like to see the Yankees trade for?