Despite the fact that the Yankees have the best record in Major League Baseball, the story of this year has essentially been injuries and underperformance. With the exceptions of Gardner, Cano, Swisher, Rivera, Hughes, Sabathia, and Pettitte, fans, analysts, and media alike have tore into everyone on the roster with gusto.
With the trade deadline about a month away, talk of change has already begun – I have heard calls for the Yankees to target Cliff Lee, Adrian Gonzalez, and Adam Dunn, among others. While I believe that the team should stay the course and avoid any ‘blockbuster’ deals, I’m quite sure that the team will look to improve its corner-infield/DH situation.
The following are some targets that I believe make sense for both of these areas – each player will either be arbitration-eligible or a free agent for 2011 (and I’m not including Ty Wigginton and his .239/.321/.370 line over his last fifty games):
Wes Helms, Florida Marlins
Helms can play 1B and 3B well-enough, and has a bit of experience in the LF, as well. While he isn’t likely to hit for a high average, Helms does have solid plate-discipline and above average power – and he’s also batting .304/.385/.522 against LHP this year. It’s a small sample-size, but he’s consistently battered LHP in his career.
Jorge Cantu, Florida Marlins
Cantu has bounced between 1B and 3B over the past few years, and he played 2B earlier in his career (though I’m not sure if he could still play there). Cantu profiles quite similar to Helms, though he likely has more value due to his age (28) and team control for 2011 – though, the Marlins will likely have to deal either Cantu or the following player to save some cash.
Dan Uggla, Marlins
This is likely a reach, but I do feel that Uggla will be on the move before the end of July. Capable of playing 1B, 2B, and 3B, Uggla has tremendous power, a decent glove, and good plate discipline. The Marlins are likely to want a fair bit for their All-Star second-baseman, but I do think the Yankees could give him plenty of time in the line-up, between 1B, 2B, 3B, and DH, allowing Teixeira, Cano, and Rodriguez to remain healthy, to boot.
Brandon Inge, Tigers
While his numbers aren’t great, Inge may be the most intriguing name on this list. His ability to play 3B and C would offer tremendous flexibility to the Yankees, allowing Rodriguez and Posada to rest regularly. Inge also has an .806 OPS against LHP for his career, and would benefit from a move to Yankee Stadium, to boot. The Tigers need pitching, which is a strength in the Yankees system, as well.
Jose Lopez, Mariners
With the Mariners close to being out of it and Lopez consistently on the trading block, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved – though, the Mariners may be unwise to sell low on the struggling infielder. Lopez has experience at 1B, 2B, and 3B, and has demonstrated solid glovework at each position. While his plate discipline is a bit lacking, he has good power, which would only improve with a move away from Safeco.