10 Starters Yankees Could Trade For After Missing Lee

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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50 Responses to 10 Starters Yankees Could Trade For After Missing Lee

  1. i put my money on buehrle, they have 161 million to spend, they can afford it.

  2. Steve says:

    Besides Garza and Shields but I'm not sure the Rays would trade them inside the divison.

  3. James says:

    How about Felix Hernandez? Any chance??

    • No chance. Unfortunately. Although it would cost a TON of prospects to sign him so maybe this is for the best.

    • Joe says:

      What about Montero,Joba,and Nunez for Hernandez? The Mariners wanted Montero for Lee. the Yanks have Romine and Sanchez plus several good young arms. Learn a lesson from the Giants and use your young players rather than bury them in the Minor Leagues.

      • Wouldn’t be enough. I think for Hernandez they would have to start with Montero, 1/2 Killer B’s, Another Top 5 prospect, and still more. It would sting. It would sting bad. The Yankees farm system would be decimated.

  4. Mike S. says:

    The other question is which reclamation projects, like a Brandon Webb, could the Yanks target. Low-risk/high reward guys.

  5. jose says:

    I think the yankees are better off not doing anything and give the kids a chance to show what they got like to banuelo who is a lefty adam warren and even brackman and by the summer some team are going to be out of contention and there the yankees will have chance to get the pitcher we need

  6. jose says:

    whoever the yankees trade for better be a left hander to neutralize the red sox line up if get any pitcher just for the sake of getting one is not going to work out because we need to think how can beat the red sox with that line up and for that to happen we either a right hander with dominating stuff or left hander who throw off pitch the botton line we need another ace i was thinking how abot johan santana now that the mets know they are going nowhere with the philly getting lee they might be to the idea of getting rid off of some salary santana will be just as good as lee when he is healthy

    • Santana may not pitch at all in 2011 thanks to a shoulder injury and will remain a question mark for the rest of his career. Until he proves that he can pitch again nobody, especially the Yankees, will go near him. It's a combination of the fact that shoulder injuries = doom and he makes a ton of money.

  7. Steve says:

    What about giving the Marlins a call about Josh Johnson. The signing of Martin helps it to. Grienke is way too risky giving up top prospects, if he cant handle NY. Montero can be packaged with either Betances or Banuelus, and other lower prospect or 2 to aquire Josh Johnson who is only 26 and is a top of the rotation guy. Martin can hold down catching until Romine is ready a year or two form now, who might be better defensively then Montero anyway,(which is something they need with the speed of the Red Sox and Rays). The only names on that list that seem to be a a good fit for the Yankees would be Buehrle or Wandy Rodriguez, I dont see the Liriano trade happening but it sounds like a good idea. The rest of the list is either too old and unproductive to trade their top prospects away for.

    • The Marlins are not interested on trading Johnson. He is a very good pitcher signed on a very team friendly contract. He's at least a year away from hitting the trade market if he does at all.

  8. Russ says:

    What about one of the Dodgers young starters? They have 6 starters and with the divorce, moving someone with a huge financial upside may be something they would do especially to bring back 4 prospects to replenish their farm who could all provide major league production soon. Montero, Laird, Warren & Phelps for Kershaw or Billingsly would be worth investigating.

    Can the Dodgers move Koroda? Since he was a free agent he can't be dealt until May 1 right? Or since he re-signed can he go now? Same Q for Ted Lilly.

    What's the story on Yu Darvish? Is he ineligible to jump to the US before 2012?

    Joel Sherman mentioned that if he returns healthy and with full velocity that since they should be out of it and that combined with the Phillies getting Lee might mean the Mets would be willing to unload Johan Santana's contract in July.

    • Billingsly and Kershaw were two names that I wanted to put on this, but I left them off because ultimately I don't think they'll be traded (most of the names on this list won't be traded, but I think their chances are even smaller).

      Koroda and Lilly are interesting because if the Yankees really wanted them they could have talked to them while they were free agents. Obviously they still wanted Lee then so maybe things have changed. I'll look into the rule as well cuz I'm not 100% on that.

      Darvish is not coming to America this offseason. It sounds like he doesn't want to come here at all, but he may just want to wait until 2012 when he is a FA so that way he can negotiate with many teams and not just one.

      As for Santana. I wouldn't worry about him at all until he's healthy. The Yankees and Mets don't make many trades at all though. It does happen, just not often.

  9. Jamie says:

    Johan Santana doesn't come back until July – at the earliest – and he's proven in multiple consecutive years that he is just utterly incapable of staying healthy. He'd be a waste of talent and even midlevel prospects. The Yankees dodged a huge bullet with Cliff Lee going back to the Phillies. I seem to be in the vast minority on this one with other Yankees fans but getting another 30+ pitcher, particularly on long-term deals while continuing to lie to ourselves that "THIS guy will be the exception" needs to stop being the answer. Permanently. With Zack Greinke having N.Y.-oriented makeup and anxiety issues and Felix Hernandez unavailable, the Yankees have never been handed a better opportunity to say to their own fans and the rest of the baseball world that this free spending silliness must stop be the quick fix answer. It worked out well in 2009 of course but that WAS the exception. It had never worked before and probably won't again. Everyone else beforehand was never as expensive or brought in on as long a deal. And there's no 28 year-old C.C. Sabathia in his prime to hand out that kind of long-term deal to anyway. Let teams like the Phillies have their "greatest rotation in the history of baseball" be decimated by injuries come mid-June because everyone minus 27 year-old Cole Hamels is too old to not break down at some point during the season. I'm tired of that being the makeup of the Yankees. I never liked Randy Johnson in pinstripes, never liked the A.J. Burnett signing, and I only liked the idea of Cliff Lee in pinstripes for four years at the longest. It's time for the younger arms to get a chance and it's time for our chronically impatient fan base to finally get a gripe and give the young arms a chance to grow because they will be readier than people realize anyway and we're dealing with high ceiling pitching prospects in an already Top 10 minor league system. No more quick fixes!

  10. Lincoln says:

    I'm all for giving the prospects a shot at the Majors. They have to make it sometime, and this year seems like as good a one as any. Let DJ Mitchell, David Phelps, Hector Noesi and Ivan Nova have a crack at both rotation and bullpen duty. Throw in Andrew Brackman, Romulo Sanchez, Eric Wordekemper and hell, even let Kei Igawa attempt to earn his dollars. Also, dont forget the minor league signings of Andrew Sisco, Neal Cotts, Brian Anderson and Buddy Carlyle. They are bullpen possibilities. I would like to add that I believe Kerry Wood and Alfredo Aceves should be re-signed by the Yanks. And I truly believe Robert Fish and Daniel Turpen wont stick for the entire season.

    • Your head is in the right place. Mitchell, Phelps, Noesi, and Nova should be given a crack. Brackman may be the only real prospect among the ones you named though. Igawa is going on where near the majors.

      Hopefully Wood and Aceves will both be re-signed. The rest of everyone you named will be lucky to have a minor league job though.

  11. Lincoln says:

    Let me throw this out there too…in regards to a package deal to obtain a starter via trade, everyone talks about Montero being a centerpiece. What about 1B Jorge Vazquez? In 2010, he hit .284 with 18HR and 68 RBI, with a .845 OPS in 334 AB. He’s blocked by Mark Teixeira and seems he is enjoying his AB against AAA pitching. Combine him with OF Justin Christian (.289, 9HR, 55RBI, 409AB) and a couple of pitchers, or add RF Nick Swisher and let Christian onto the big club. There are so many possiblities that they are hard to predict. We just need to be PATIENT (word of the day) and see who is available and what that team will need. No need to jump to action and get a quick fix, as Jamie said previously.

    • Neither Jorge Vazquez nor Justin Christian are anywhere near valuable pieces. They are the equivalent of Juan Miranda who brought back a single-a pitcher without a high ceiling. Not even close to the center piece of a trade.

      • Lincoln says:

        I'm new in this game. I've just started to delve into the minor league system of the team that I've watched since I was a child. I just happened to see their stats and thought that they could help ease the pressure off of a "must trade Jesus Montero" attitude. Can't hurt to consider though…at lest I tried.

        • No it's not a bad thought. When it comes to prospects though age is important not just stats. The guys you named have put together decent seasons, but at their ages there would be something wrong with them if they didn't. Jesus Montero is at Triple-A, he's just 20-years-old, and he's dominating. It's the stats and his young age that make him so attractive.

  12. UCLinden says:

    I think David Price becomes a FA in 2012. I would do one of two things since the Yankees have that money on the table from Cliff Lee offering. I would trade prospects, include either Gardner or Chamberlain plus money for Price. Second idea being a three team deal — NY trades for Greinke then trade him to Tampa for David Price.

    • Lincoln says:

      Tampa Bay is looking to unload either/both Matt Garza and James Shields. I cant see them even thinking about moving David Price, even if he becomes a free agent in 2012 and will command a very decent salary. I've read articles elsewhere that speak about a veteran coming off of injuries being a target for the Yanks. Possibly a Jeff Francis or Brandon Webb (although no one seems to like Webb). If trades are the way though, maybe we need to get a younger arm that is pretty good. Maybe a J.A. Happ or Anibal Sanchez? I'm sure they wouldnt mind being on a perennial WS Contender.

    • David Price doesn't become a free agent until after the 2015 season. I doubt very much they would trade him anytime soon.

  13. joe zigmand says:

    people act as if the yanks aren’t a extremely talented team, that still has a chance to add Andy back to the rotation.. If we do add andy, then i’d be happy with that, and then see, whats what at the in season trade Deadline if need be.. U don’t have to add every yr when you have a sensational team, like the yanks do.. Its not like the team is guranteed to finish how they did last yr, and everyone on the yanks is a possiblity to have a better yr this yr then last, including AJ BURNETT…

    If we were to trade for a guy, i’d be happy to go after a guy like Wandy Rodriguez, all though, Brett Myers would be even better.. Is there anyway Brett Myers would be up for grabs?

    ALso, is there any chance with Pujols impending FA’cy upcoming, and Wainright becoming a possible free agent after this yr, we could possible make a mega deal for him? I’d pay a heavy price for a guy like Adam Wainright all day long!

    Back to wandy rodriguez.. Would this get it done. Hector Noesi, Jr Murphy and Daniel Brewer(throw in type)? I woulden’t go to crazy for him, so much more then that, i’d pass..

    • A lot depends on the Astros. They might not even want to deal a pitcher right now preferring to wait until the July 31st deadline. Also, the package would depend on the interest that is out there.

      It's possible that they may take a deal with Noesi as the center piece, but it is hard to say and if it worked it would take some time to pull off. And if the Yankees aren't dealing one of the Killer B's in a trade then they would want better prospects around him. I'm not sure if Murphy and Brewer are enough.

      You have to ask yourself, if you were an Astros fan, would you be happy with that kind of a return for Wandy.

  14. Lincoln says:

    Ok, if it wasnt happening already, I'm gonna show everyone just how boneheaded I can be. I was looking at Barry Zito, and before everyone shouts about how much of a horrible idea it is, let me just say that his ERA's over the years havent been extremely terrible (seeing as how we just made the playoffs with two +5.00 ERA performances from Vazquez and Burnett). In 2010, Zito put up a 9-14, 4.15 ERA performance in 199.1 IP. Which makes his ERA still better than Hughes, Burnett, Vazquez, Mitre, Moseley and Nova last year. Is it his contract dollars that make him a non-target? Or am I missing other data?

    • I included him on this list for a reason. He’s decent and tradable. You have to remember though that he’s in the NL, not the AL, and the NL West is a division packed with pitchers parks. The fact that he’s a lefty would help a little in Yankee Stadium, but it is still a hitters park.

      That contract is also not even close to over. With I believe 4 years left. That would make him cheap though. Just ask yourself if you would sign him for 4-years and $64 million and then lose prospects on top of that?

      • Lincoln says:

        Any chance the Giants eat any of the salary, as you suggested in the earlier report? I think that if the Yankees were to trade or sign another starter, it would need to be a lefty. That would at least help (if Pettitte retires) to keep the lefty-heavy Rex Sox at bay. How about this scenario: Sabathia, Burnett, Hughes, Carlos Zambrano? and Jeff Francis? Long shot, I know…but Z is still real good and at only 29 years old and the Yankees already spoke about possibly acquiring a free agent coming off of an injury (Francis), plus he's a lefty.

        • I do think the Giants would be willing to eat some of Zito’s salary, but only if the Yankees include some good prospects in the deal. The better the prospects the more salary they would eat.

          Zambrano is probably the one name I regret leaving off this list. He makes a lot of money so the Cubs wouldn’t have many options of different places to send him and he would be reunited with Larry Rothschild. Definitely a possibility.

  15. Johnn Clarke says:

    It seems to me that if the Yanks are in a pinch then go to Plan C. Kerry Wood would do OK. He’s familiar with the organization, he’s been a starter before (pretty good I re-collect) and they know what he can do. I thought he was one of the only guys out of the pen that could be counted on–Under 1.oo era–not bad. He throws every 5th day–he goes a max of 5-6?–Joba does 1-2 or 3 if he’s going good and Mariano gets the ball. We could work in some of the ‘kids’ when we are up by more than 4–we can still score runs I presume. When you count dollars spent–pay the guy 12m per. We’re still up 8 or 9 per season from the unspent Cliff Lee dollars. And by the way all we have to do is learn how to hit Cliff Lee and everybody will forget about him. He puts his pants on like every body else does. We slap him around a few times he sure won’t have the swagger he has right now. Last time I checked he actually lost a few games last season. Somebody beat him–why can’t we. Perhaps the A-Rods and the Jeters and the ‘Tex’ guys need to grow some and do their job against this guy. You want 20+/year–earn it and not by hitting doubles and home runs when we are up by 4. It’s the close games that separate the good from the great. Cliff Lee is not invincable –certainly not unbeatable. Good yes but so are we. Rigth now though he is living inside the heads of the Yankees and he actually has them believing that they can’t touch him. This game is half head game and half physical attributes. If we had beat him up this past year would we be so anxious to go and get him?? It seems like we have forgotten that–John C

    • I don't think Kerry Wood will ever be a starter again.

      Also, the Yankees hit Lee pretty hard this past August and in game 5 of the World Series in 2009 as well. He still beat them that game though because I believe Burnett started it and pitched poorly.

  16. Tanned Tom says:

    Love these kind of articles. Now that Lee-fever is subsiding, perhaps NY can take a longer view of things. I want them to reduce payroll to the luxury tax threshold of $178 million for 2011. That would mean not adding any players. For the rotation in 2011, go with Sabathia, Hughes, Lowe/Zambrano, Chamberlain, and Nova. Maybe they'll miss the playoffs, maybe they'll hit their way in.

    They should trade A. J. Burnett at all costs, he stinks. Swapping him for Zambrano or Lowe intrigues, either way we probably have to chip in money. The other guys on the list? Greinke is not a fit for NY, Buerhle is a FA in a year, Carpenter is 36 next season, and if they trade for Zito then Cashman should be shot.

    The larger point is should Cashman keep his job? His moves over the last 2 years have been mostly terrible. If we say that Sabathia, Swisher (yes!), Thames, and Wood were good moves, then Nick Johnson (ugh!), Randy Wynn, Kearns, Berkman, Vazquez (jeez!), Burnett and Granderson were stinkers. That's a 36% success rate. And the Burnett deal was horrible because they could have had Lowe instead. The Granderson deal is in a league of it's own for stupid: the team gave up a starter who had an ERA of 3.80 over 194 innings and a .293 hitter who made $800,000 combined for a guy who's gonna make $8.5 mil next year and can't hit lefties. Think they could've used Kennedy in the rotation this year? or Damon as DH?

    I say roll the dice with kids in the rotation for the next 2 years. Trade Burnett for Lowe or Zambrano, let Pettitte and Posada retire, and fire Cashman…maybe Pat Gillick could be lured…

  17. Scott says:

    The yankees benefit more from NOT signing lee. They need to take this oppertunity and sure up the bullpen with a R. Soriano or a Bobby Jenks. With either guy the yankees create a 7 inning ball game. Remember '96 rivera to wetteland? When rivera retires Soriano can step up and be the closer. Both demand around 7-8 mill to sign, big deal. We save 12 million per year, and I think we should call up a top pitcher from the minors. Hughes was a project but it took 1-2 years for him to develop into what could be a 20 game winner. Look at the red soxs with lester and bucholtz. If we take a chance on the right guy we can secure our rotation for years to come without sacrificing/trading top prospects.

  18. kevin says:

    I feel that Greinke can help any club but I would not pay him huge $$ and consider him a savior. He is still young but I consider him a "one hit wonder". Take a look at his career stats, take away the Cy Young season and he is 44-59 with a 4.23 ERA. I will give him this, his wife is smoking hot !!!

    • I don't know if Greinke will be able to perform on certain stages, but I think that a lot of people in the game would be shocked if he never had another big season. He's a great pitcher with a good pitching mind. He's always had talent, but struggled with anxiety early in his career. Since he's gotten over that he's been amazing. He was damn good in 2010 too, he just seemed bored at times.

      • kevin says:

        Rob, always respect your opinions here but I have to disagree about Greinke having a damn good 2010. Go back and look at his career stats, or for that matter compare last season to '09. In the same # of starts and almost the same amount of inn. he gave up almost twice as many ERs and his SOs were way, way down. Maybe a much better team would make a difference, but untill I see another big time season from him I will still have my doubts about giving him the big $$, thanks !

        • You are right. I was overstating his season. But while he didn't have a Cy Young season it was a good season with nice stretches. I read a lot about him looking bored last season and he was outspoken about being upset that the team wasn't getting any better. So when you look at his starts from last year he did have some very good stretches and he also had big games against tough opponents like Tampa and Boston (luckily he didn't face the Yankees last year). It's encouraging. And when you watch him, he clearly has strong pitchability and amazing stuff. Unlike guys like Burnett who have amazing stuff and zero pitchability.

          If I wasn't worried about his anxiety disorder I would have great confidence in him being able to pitch in the Bronx. He also just turned 27.

  19. Franco Kotos says:

    Greinke is a head case with a dx of Social Anxiety…Yankee Stadium will either cure him or kill him…

  20. bobby russell says:

    What about seeing if David Robertson could be converted ?He has a assortment of pitches /

    • Mike S. says:

      No. Robertson has never started a single game in his professional career and never has pitched 100 innings in a season.

    • Mike is right. Besides, he really only has a fastball and curveball. He’s not starter material. If only the Yankees had another setupman who does have experience as a starter and 4 pitches in his arsenal that they could convert into a starter…If only.

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