Yankees Trading Deadline Need: Right-Handed Bat for Right Field

July 6, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees


As the calendar turns to July, the Major League Baseball trading deadline looms. Most people are expecting the Yankees to be active players near the deadline.

They already made one deal, landing Eric Hinske from the Pittsburgh Pirates for two minor leaguers.

It gives the Yankees more depth on the bench and a chance for Alex Rodriguez to get a day off here and there like Joe Girardi planned.

The only problem is Hinske is another left-handed bat, as is their current starting right fielder, Nick Swisher.

Swisher has been much better this year from the left side of the plate, hitting nearly 30 points higher and hitting eight more home runs than the other side. It’s more obvious that Swisher is a more productive bat against right-handers.

Swisher has also been asked to play every day due to Xavier Nady’s season-ending Tommy John surgery, which could be causing Swisher to wear down, since he was brought on to be the super utility player as a backup first baseman and fourth outfielder.

Early on, Swisher picked up the slack with Alex Rodriguez’s injury that kept him out the first month, plus Nady’s injury.

With Johnny Damon, Hinske, and Brett Gardner as only-lefty hitters and Melky Cabrera plus Swisher as switch-hitters, but mostly take at-bats from the left side, the outfield of the Yankees is heavily left-handed, so the Yankees need a balance in their lineup and outfield.

One option could be to recall Shelley Duncan back up, who is currently in AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

However, Duncan is not on the 40-man roster and in order to call Duncan back up, the Yankees would have to drop someone off the roster, which could mean they could be claimed off waivers.

Plus, Duncan hasn’t shown he can hit major league breaking pitches, which is why he hasn’t been called back up since 2008.

So if Duncan isn’t an answer, then the Yankees should look outside the organization to make a deal for a right-handed bat to play right field.

Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox is an option. Dye’s a proven power bat and a former World Series MVP; he’s also 35 and a free agent to be. The Yankees would more than likely have to use Dye as a rental-type player for 2009.

He’s hitting .291 with 20 homers an 51 RBI, but because the White Sox are only 2 1/2 out of the A.L. Central race, Chicago GM Ken Williams might be inclined to hold onto Dye. But, Dye’s age and free agency could buy him a ticket out of Chicago.

Jeff Francoeur of the Atlanta Braves could be another option. The Braves are slowly falling out of the N.L. East race and Francoeur is not the type of hitter the Braves were expecting; mainly it could be because Turner Field is not hitter-friendly.

Francoeur is only 25, so he could be around for a while if traded for, and hitting in a home run friendly park like Yankee Stadium might be a fresh start for a hitter like Francoeur, who is hitting .244 with five home runs and 33 RBI.

The Braves are always smart about the trades they make, so Frank Wren may ask for decent prospects in return.

Magglio Ordonez is a longshot of a choice from the Detroit Tigers, mostly because his power is decreasing and the Tigers are currently in first place. However, Ordonez is also 35 and a free agent to be, so he too would be a short term type player if acquired.

The downside is his power is not what it once was, hitting only .266 with four home runs and 28 RBI as of right now. But Jim Leyland put Ordonez on the bench recently due to his struggles, which did not sit well with him or Scott Boras, Ordonez’s agent, so if the Tigers were to move Ordonez, this summer would be the time.

However, the Tigers have Dave Dombrowski as their general manager, a very smart trade maker who can get a lot in return for a premier name like Ordonez, but because of steroid allegations and the sub-par 2009, the Tigers may not ask for a lot like they would have in the past.

There are 25 days left until the deadline, which leaves plenty of baseball left to be played.

Most deals probably will not occur until after the All-Star Break and more than likely not until July 31, which means more teams could fall out of the race and put more players on the trading block.

If so, hopefully the Yankees will jump on a gold mine of a deal that will help them overtake the Red Sox and get them ready for a return to the playoffs.

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