The next step to looking at an Alex Rodriguez trade is to determine where he could go, and what they could offer us. This will be the final post before I actually post ten different trades that I support.
There are three barriers to an Alex Rodriguez trade. First off, Alex has a no-trade clause. Although he wants to stay in New York, he has said that if the Yankees really want to trade him, he will agree to go elsewhere. However, it's hard to see Alex being traded to a non-contender. Alex doesn't strike me as a guy who would enjoy Kansas City too much. This probably eliminates Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Colorado. I could see him going to Washington, but only if they take steps toward building a winning franchise. I also can't see him going back to Texas, who already traded him away. Seattle would also be difficult.
The second barrier is Alex's salary. He is owed 64 million over the next 4 years. The Yankees are unlikely to throw in a ton of money in any deal to trade him away. This is a lot cheaper than the 25 million he is owed every year, but is still expensive. I cannot see the Brewers, Marlins, Athletics, Twins, or Braves affording him. Cleveland would have a tough time, but could in theory do it. Same with San Diego.
The third barrier is Alex's talent. The Yankees do not want to see him in the American League East, and would prefer to see him away from their other American League rivals. This eliminates Tampa, Baltimore, Toronto, and Boston. Trades to Anaheim, Detroit and the Chicago White Sox are certainly possible, but would be a harder sell. Oh yeah, and he isn't going to the Mets.
Who does this leave? This leaves the Dodgers, White Sox, Angels, Cubs, Giants, Phillies, Reds, Astros, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and Tigers.
I am going to strike a few names right away. I don't see the Tigers, Diamonbacks, or Reds trading for Alex. I could see the Cardinals doing so, but they have so many concerns this offseason that they probably don't have the chips to do so.
Let's look at each organization.
The Phillies could certainly use a right handed power bat to back up Ryan Howard. They got almost zero production out of third base this season thanks to the flailing David Bell. But what would they offer in return?Cole Hamels
is one of the best young pitchers in the game today. That said, he's a very risky prospect. The 22 year old has managed exactly one semi-healthy season since he was drafted: 2006. He still only managed to pitch 132 innings. That said, he excelled in those innings, posting a 4.08 ERA despite pitching half his games in a bandbox. The 6'4" lefthander has some serious power in his arm, pitching in the mid 90s. But the injuries are a concern.
The Phillies might send back Brett Myers
, who has been very good in the National League over the past two seasons. He is only 26 years old, has a history of neither being overworked nor sustaining injury, throws in the mid 90s with a power curve, and has been a near K per inning guy. Myers would be an excellent trading chip to return in a trade.
The Phillies top prospect is Giovany Gonzalez
. He is the #9 ranked pitcher by Scout.com and just 21 years old in AA. He's no Phil Hughes, posting an ERA in the mid 4's in his first season, but is certainly would be a great chip to come our way. Throwing power from the left side doesn't hurt either.
I don't see a lot in terms of 3rd base potential in the Phillies organization. Any trade would have to involve another 3b coming in from a 3rd party in a seperate trade or free agent.
The Houston Astros
The Astros don't have a lot of chips, but do have a lot of extra payroll room. Any trade for Alex would probably be seen as an upgrade over Morgan Ensberg
, who put together a nice season despite batting just .238. He is only being paid about four million dollars. He would certainly come back in a trade.
Pitching prospect Jason Hirsh
is listed by Scout.com as the #11 pitching prospect in baseball. The 24 year old out of college looks to use his giant 6'8", 250 lb frame to overpower hitters. It has worked so far in the minors. He dominated AAA this year with a 2.10 ERA. He could be a real gem.Hunter Pence
is listed by Scout.com as the #8 outfield prospect in baseball. He has some serious crudentials, being drafted in the 2nd round out of Texas and then posting a .302/.376/.552 line in three minor league seasons. He will go to AAA this season, and will be on the cusp of the major leagues. Pence has J.D. Drew offensive potential written all over him, without the injuries.
The San Fran Giants
The Giants have a lot of reason to want Arod this offseason. They are likely losing Barry Bonds, both in salary and ability. Alex is not only cheaper, but can be relied on to play 150+ games a year, something that the older Bonds could not. Problem is, they don't have a whole lot to offer in return.Matt Cain
is one of baseball's top young pitchers. The 22 year old has succeeded in a major league season and a half, after blowing through the Minor Leagues. At that young age, he was able to strike out 179 this year. The Giants have limited the innings on his young arm, gradually building it up. It's hard to see the Giants parting with him however, although they did send Boof, Joe, and Fran to the Twins for A.J. Talk about a bad trade.
The Giants don't have much more. 2006 1st rounder Tim Lincecum
can't be traded for another six months, but could in theory be included as a "Player to the named later" in the deal. He is an excellent prospect out of college. He could be major league ready by spring training 2009.
The Giants have little else.
The LA Dodgers
The Dodgers have a one of baseball's best farm systems, and as a result could provide some incredibly attractive options for any team looking to trade with them. They also have the payroll room, and the need for Alex. Their top two home run hitters managed to hit only 20 out each.Chad Billingley
has future ace written all over him. His major league debut was as impressive as his minor league numbers. He could very well be the centerpiece of an Arod trade. He could be as good as Mussina or Wang right now, and is just 22 years old.Wilson Betemit
is a 24 year old formerly hot prospect out of the Braves system. He now looks to be a decent replacement level 3b, the type of guy who could be very good on a contender's bench. That said, he could provide a stopgap in the position until better options are provided. The Dodgers wouldn't have a huge problem parting with him, as they were ready to trade him for Scott Proctor in the begining of the season.Andy LaRoche
, in stark contrast to Betemit is a supreme prospect. LaRoche just hit AA, but has torn apart the minor leagues during his time there. LaRoche has the power, discipline, and baseball sense to hit like Chipper Jones in the major leagues. He could certainly come in return for Alex Rodriguez. There has been speculation that LaRoche will eventually end up at 1st base.Jamie Loney
was an athletic 1st baseman drafted by the Dodgers in 2002. He looked like a bust, but the careful nurturing of the excellent Dodgers farm system turned him in to a success in 2006. He posted a .547 slugging percentage in 2006 in the major leagues. He has Lyle Overbay potential.Hong-Chih Kuo would be our second pitcher out of Taiwan if we were to trade for him. After successful seasons in 2005 at AA and 2006 at AAA, Kuo has made his impact in the MLB for the Dodgers. He is very talented, and could come to the Yankees if the Dodgers refuse to part with Billingsley. John Broxton is also an excellent young reliever who might be had in any deal.
The LA Angels OA
The Angels are an interesting option. On one hand, they are a constant thorn in the Yankee's side and Alex would immediately boost their team. On the other hand, the Angels are the one team that both has a number of excellent young pitchers and position players that they would be willing to trade to meet our needs. Any trade to the Angels would require more return than a trade to other teams, for this reason.
The Angels have the pitching trio of John Lackey, Ervin Santana, and Kelvim Escobar who could potentially come our way in a trade. One of those guys would absolutely be expected to be Yankees after an Alex Rodriguez trade. This doesn't even mention Jered Weaver or Bartolo Colon.
In addition, they have a wealth of position prospects/rookies including Howie Kendrick, Dallas McPherson, Casey Kotchman, Jeff Mathis, Mike Napoli and Kenny Morales. One or two of this group would certainly come back in a trade.
The Angels have a number of established major league regulars who could be traded, specifically Scot Shields and Chone Figgins. Shields is one of the better relief pitchers in the game, and Figgins is an excellent utility player.
Looking down further, the Angels have shortstop Brandon Wood, pitcher Nick Adenhart, starter Joe Saunders, and outfielder Terry Evans. Shortstop Eric Aybar could also be a throw in to the deal or the 19 year old star pitcher Tommy Mendoza.
The Angels have a huge mass of young players, putting them in a unique position. Their current offense leaves a lot to be desired. They could very well deal a few young players and a young pitcher for a star hitter while still maintaining the best farm system in baseball. That is how deep they are. If I were Brian Cashman, I'd give them a call.
The Chicago Cubs
Rumors have circulated recently about Lou Piniella wanting the Cubs to make a push for Alex Rodriguez. I can't see it happening, mainly because the organization has little to give in return. Ramirez is going to become a free agent, and they are very short on position prospects.
Carlos Zambrano is a free agent in one year. He had an impressive system, posting a 3.41 ERA, despite 115 walks. I would take Zambrano, but I would question his control issues agains the American League. Zambrano has been an excellent pitcher for three years, but could not be the only piece in an Arod trade.
The Cubs also have Rich Hill and Angel Guzman among their young pitchers. Both have had injury problems and would be risky bets. That said, they are both major league ready and could provide immediate help to the Yankees.
Cubs outfield prospect Felix Pie is one of the more overrated prospects in baseball. Pie is an all-tools no-sense guy who still needs to learn the strike zone. He is very young and in AAA, but shouldn't be counted on any time soon. He is ranked #10 overall in outfielders by Scout.com, but I think that number is soft.
Eric Patterson is a 23 year old 2b/SS prospect who is listed by Scout.com as the #2 2b prospect in baseball. Mark Pawelek is a 20 year old who has some potential to be a decent pitcher. That said, these guys aren't really desirable by the Yankees and shouldn't be more than throw ins.
The Cubs simply would be stupid to trade with us for Alex Rodriguez. They don't have the depth to absorb a hit to their farm system like that. Of course, Mark Prior could enter the discussion.
The Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have also been rumored to be interested in Alex Rodriguez. The recent report that I read was a Mark Buerhle + Josh Fields + Brandon McCarthy for Alex Rodriguez deal. It's interesting, but do the Sox have anything else to offer?
The White Sox had five starters go 196 or more innings. Unfortunately, they also had 5 starters with ERAs over 4.27. With a little more offense, the White Sox could see their win total go through the roof, with such an efficient yet average pitching staff.
Mark Buerhle was the ace of the championship team, but through overuse and diminishing strikeout totals, his ERA rose to 4.99 this season. I would be very worried and skeptical about him if traded to us, especially considering that he is a free agent after this upcoming season. He cannot be the centerpiece of a trade.
Josh Fields is an athletic 3rd baseman in the White Sox farm system. He has been compared to Drew Henson, except that this ex-quarterback has performed in the minor leagues. He recently posted a .900 OPS at AAA. Fields can be seen as a long term replacement for Alex Rodriguez at the hot corner. He is listed by Scout.com as the 3rd best 3b prospect in the minors.
Joe Crede is the current White Sox 3rd baseman. He has suffered from back problems in the past, and in 2006 posted his first real good season ever. That said, his OBP was just .323 and his Slg% barely topped .500 in a home run inducing ballpark. He has had back problems. Despite the great defense, I wouldn't touch him.
Brandon McCarthy is an excellent young pitcher who would be a major league starter already if not for so many White Sox pitchers blocking him. He has been effective out of the bullpen and has proven everything he can in the minor leagues. I would love to have him in the Yankee rotation.
The White Sox have little else, but Freddy Garcia and Jon Garland may also enter the equation. David Riske and Mike MacDougal could come over out of their bullpen.
Wow, that took longer than expected. The big finish is coming up, hopefully later tonight.