Last month after losing long-time second basemen Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners, the New York Yankees game-plan drastically altered for their offseason.
They found a replacement second basemen in long-time Baltimore Orioles' Brian Roberts, but the bigger shock was when they signed Jacoby Ellsbury from the Boston Red Sox, especially since they already had a center fielder in Brett Gardner.
With their outfield set of Alfonso Soriano in left field, Ellsbury in center and Carlos Beltran in right field, it leaves Gardner as trade bait, even though the Yankees aren't actively shopping him. However, it hasn't stopped teams from calling Yankees GM Brian Cashman, as they have received at least six offers from teams who are interested in Gardner; two of which are from the Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers.
'Since the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, at least a half-dozen teams—from the Phillies to the Tigers—have taken a run at Brett Gardner, knowing he’s a free agent at the end of next season. But Brian Cashman won’t move him until and unless he has to for starting pitching. Cashman loves Gardner’s toughness and likens it to that of Dustin Pedroia, thinks Gardner is very similar to Ellsbury only a year or two behind in skill development, and thinks the defense and the offensive speed will play big in Yankee Stadium and in a lineup that will otherwise play for power.'
Last month, the Yankees rejected a deal from the Cincinnati Reds that would have landed them All Star second basemen Brandon Phillips in exchange for Gardner mostly due to the fact that they want a starting pitcher in any deal for Gardner.
Cashman might not be inclined to move Gardner unless something happens in the Masahiro Tanaka market and there are reports indicating that the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners could be strong players for Tanaka and swoop in and take him away from the Yankees who desperately want the 24-year-old Japanese star pitcher.
If Tanaka were to get signed elsewhere away from the Bronx, that could force Cashman's hand and may make him accept an offer from one of the other teams, but in that deal, there may need to be a starter, otherwise Gardner will stay put in the Bronx for 2014.
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