Remember the blockbuster deal on August 25, 2012 that changed the course of two teams; in particular the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
With Boston in dead last and the Dodgers looking to acquire talent to go on a potential playoff run, the Dodgers claimed Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto off waivers and then worked a trade to acquire them for four prospects, plus James Loney to complete the deal. The trade cleared a ton of payroll for Boston and gave Los Angeles players they needed in order to help them become a contender in the National League West.
Why is that trade important almost two years after it happened? Because as Jon Morosi of FOX Sports wrote this week, the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies could be potential candidates to work a similar kind of deal as well.
"For one, the Phillies aren’t certain to trade Hamels — to their northern neighbors, least of all. And without a rich farm system, the Yankees may struggle to compete with the prospect offers from other teams. But they do have a significant asset: money. The Phillies could ask them to reprise the Red Sox-Dodgers trade from two years ago, taking on Hamels in addition to an expensive veteran or two (Jimmy Rollins? Jonathan Papelbon?) in an effort to clear the Phillies’ future balance sheets. If a blockbuster with the Phillies sounds like a desperate move . . . well . . . do the Yankees have any better options? They have lost their first-half MVP for the foreseeable future, and there’s no guarantee they’ll get him back this year. Unless they’re resigned to watching Derek Jeter play meaningless games in his final September, they must make a very bold move, very quickly."
The Yankees would be playing the part of the team acquiring talent to make them stronger, while the Phillies would be playing the part of Boston, looking to unload high-priced salaries to help rebuild for the future.
Of the players the Phillies have, who would interest the Yankees the most? Obviously, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee would be at the top of the list, especially if CC Sabathia needs career-ending microfracture surgery and Masahiro Tanaka needs to undergo Tommy John Surgery. If the Yankees lose both Sabathia and Tanaka, the Yankees are desperately going to need help and not just for 2014, but 2015 and beyond, which is where Lee and Hamels coming in would help.
Jonathan Papelbon? Not likely, as the Yankees already have a closer in David Robertson who is performing well and a closer-in-waiting with Dellin Betances. So don't count on Papelbon drawing interest from the Yankees.
A.J. Burnett? The Yankees could use a reunion with the former Yankee in Burnett since they need pitching, but the Yankees have been reported as to having no interest in the said reunion, plus Burnett has also been reported to saying that he would like to remain in Philadelphia for the remainder of the season.
Jimmy Rollins? He has a no-trade clause, but the Yankees don't have a shortstop after the 2014 season with Derek Jeter retiring and Rollins might waive his no-trade clause if it means going to the Yankees.
Ryan Howard? Not a chance. Not with Mark Teixeira still under contract until 2016 and Alex Rodriguez coming back next season and likely moving from third base to the designated hitter spot. Howard's contract is considered one of the worst in all of baseball and even worse than A-Rod's.
Chase Utley? Also has a no-trade clause and has been un-willing to waive it to help facilitate a trade out of Philly. He signed a two-year extension with the Phillies in the summer of 2013 with a couple of vesting options attached to it, but with Brian Roberts signed only for one season, Utley could make sense if he were willing to waive the no-trade clause to leave Philly for the Bronx.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has already said that he would be willing to inherit salary and add to payroll in order to help the team and at 47-47, they definitely could use the talent necessary to make them better, especially since they are only five games back of first place in the American League East.
With the Phillies trying to shed salary, the players that make the most sense for the Yankees would be Hamels and Lee with either Rollins and Utley, pending on if either of them would be willing to waive the no-trade clause. If they came to New York, Rollins or Utley would likely have to move to third for half a season and then move back to their original position in 2015.
With the trade deadline in two weeks, this could be something for Brian Cashman and Ruben Amaro to potentially discuss this summer to help both their needs going forward, just like it did with the Dodgers and Red Sox two summers ago.
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Tags: A.J. Burnett, Baseball, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Papelbon, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies