After missing out on All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, the New York Yankees have a much weakened infield. The only spots that are set are oft-injured first baseman Mark Teixeira and the aging Derek Jeter at shortstop. The never ending Alex Rodriguez saga leaves third base open (though it appears the Yankees are spending as if he’ll be suspended), and Kelly Johnson is currently the only playable option at second base. They also have defensive whiz Brendan Ryan as a backup to both Jeter and Johnson, but he’ll be pressed into enough duty at shortstop with Jeter’s age and recent injury history. This leaves a situation where the Yankees have plenty of money, and needs in the infield. Plus, they could use an extra arm in the rotation. Enter: Milwaukee Brewers.Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Brewers have some contracts on the books that they’d probably like to move. They signed Aramis Ramirez as part of a last ditch effort to get a contender in before the loss of their stellar 2012 rotation. Unfortunately, the bullpen collapsed in 2013, and left the Brewers without a playoff appearance, and a less than ideal contract to an aging player. Rickie Weeks has been awful the past few seasons, so I doubt the Yankees would even entertain the idea of taking on Weeks’ salary in full, but if the Brewers covered at least half the salary, the Yankees might be interested in him as a platoon option with Kelly Johnson. The final, and most valuable piece, is Yovani Gallardo. The Brewers have seen a decline in Gallardo’s performance the last few years. However, he did show improvement down the stretch last year, and still has the perception of being a solid #2/3 type around the baseball world.
In regards to the return, I wouldn’t expect much. The Yankees would be taking on a lot of salary (31.75M in 2014 alone if we assume half of Weeks’ contract), so they won’t be inclined to offer much in terms of prospects. You’re probably looking at a couple mediocre prospects, and a relief pitcher. The most important factor, though is the probably 50.75M in savings that could be allocated elsewhere. That’s an extension for Jean Segura, and allows the Brewers to be players in the free agent market next off-season.
The likelihood of this occurring is next to zero. It is possible the Yankees would take Aramis Ramirez, but a deal moving as much salary as I proposed rarely occurs (exception of the Dodgers basically buying the Red Sox). The Brewers could make some small moves to more frugally replace the production lost if they didn’t want to give up on 2014 before it began, and also set themselves up for a competitive team in 2015 and beyond without having contract obligations to declining players.
As always, leave any comments, questions, proposals of your own below. Or just yell at me, your choice.