12 Dec 2013
Player A in 2013- .261/.310/.396 2.8 WAR 32-years old
Player B in 2013- .273/.344/.416 3.2WAR 30-years old
Even if the two players made the same amount of money, I think you would clearly lean towards Player B. If I told you Player B made 6-times less than Player A, I think you wouldn’t even consider trading these players.
Player A is Brandon Phillips and Player B is Brett Gardner. Yes, Phillips had a bad year, but he has been declining for a couple of seasons now. Yes, Phillips fills a bigger hole on the Yankees, but Gardner still has a lot of value for the Yankees. Add in the fact that Phillips has 4 years and $50 million left on his deal and I can only assume the Reds were trying to get the Yankees to swing at a pitch in the dirt.
At this point in the offseason, the Yankees have done the heavy lifting for their lineup. Now, they need to make smart tweaks finalize everything. In the outfield, a rotation of Ellsbury, Gardner, Soriano and Beltran makes sense. Ichiro is the guy you want to get rid of and the Yankees should figure out a way to trade him. At this point, they are on the hook for his entire salary of $6.5 million, so even paying 95% of that would lower the payroll. Vernon Wells won’t actually cost the Yankees anything in 2014, but he is not a helpful player, even against LHP. The Yankees should get rid of him.
Catching is set with McCann starting and being backed up by either Cervelli or Romine. That leaves the infield and there are the biggest questions. If healthy, Teixeira and Jeter man first and short. Kelly Johnson could play second or third and Ryan is the defensive replacement. We still have no idea what A-Rod is going to get in terms of a suspension and that means the Yankees may or may not need a third baseman. Signing someone like Infante makes a lot of sense and bringing back Mark Reynolds could make even more. Reynolds could cover first and third and he could probably be had on a one-year deal. He is only 30 and has hit well at the Stadium (.534 slugging in 136 PA’s) If A-Rod isn’t suspended, Reynolds can back him and Teixeira up while also getting AB’s in the DH rotation. If A-Rod is suspended, Reynolds could cover third.
That would leave a roster with 4 outfielders, 2 catchers and 5 or 6 infielders depending on A-Rod. You could carry Nunez as a multi-positional sub and leave it at that.
Of course you will also need some pitching, more on that at a later date.