It is well known that Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners this past week, and the New York Yankees reacted with the signing of Carlos Beltran to a 3-year $45 million deal. Before that, the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7-year $153 million contract. These moves replace Curtis Granderson who took the subway ride to Queens to play for the New York Mets and added a lot more talent with these two signings. This leaves the outfield of the Yankees looking like Beltran, Ellsbury, and Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner, Vernon Wells, and Ichiro Suzuki. Soriano will probably be the DH most days with the other three playing every day in the outfield. The odd man out of this grouping is obviously Gardner.
As of right now, Andy Dirks would be the starting left fielder for the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have been looking for a left fielder and many fans have suggested Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo, but now that the Yankees have picked up both Beltran and Ellsbury, Garnder should be available. Choo is probably going to get an expensive contract after Ellsbury was paid $153 million, so he may be out of the Tigers’ price range.
Gardner would fit in Detroit adding a lot of speed to an order that added speed with the addition of Ian Kinsler. If Gardner could stay healthy, he can steal 40+ bases. He would be able to roam left field and cover a lot of ground along with Austin Jackson in center. Last season, Gardner hit at a .273/.344/.416 clip with 10 triples, but only 24 steals. Gardner stole 47 and 49 bases in 2010 and 2011 with 49 being his career high.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman told USA Today, “I’m not looking to move [Gardner].” The Yankees biggest needs at the moment are at 2nd base which they “filled” with Kelly Johnson, 3rd base which is still in limbo with the Alex Rodriguez suspension still looming with other options such as Eduardo Nunez and Brendan Ryan, and pitching, both starting and relief. Pitching is where the Yankees need the most help. As of now, the Yankees’ starting staff consists of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova with the possibility of Michael Pineda and David Phelps joining the rotation. The Yankees bullpen is also a mess after the departure of Mariano Rivera.
So who could the Tigers trade to the Yankees to get Gardner? Going through the needs listed above, the Tigers won’t send a second or third baseman to the Yankees that is worth anything because they just traded for Ian Kinsler, and the Tigers said they were going to give Nick Castellanos a shot at third this season. Unless the Tigers want Steve Lombardozzi or a minor leaguer, it’s doubtful the Tigers would send an infielder. The Tigers would probably need to send pitching to get Gardner. This will come in the form of a prospect unless the Yankees wanted to take on Al Albuquerque, Jose Alvarez, Luis Marte, Jose Ortega, Evan Reed, or Luke Putkonen.
Realistically, I think it would take Lombardozzi and a pitcher, and a prospect to get Gardner in Detroit. Personally, I would pull the trigger on the deal and get Gardner here to play left field next season for the Tigers.