School is out, Independence Day is next week; and Major League Baseball is at its mid-way point of the season. With July upon us, teams have to decide whether they’re buyers or sellers since the trade deadline looms on July 31st.
The teams in the two leagues face completely different scenarios. Of the 15 American league teams, 12 are still within 3.5 games of a playoff berth, while in the National League, there are only seven teams with a realistic shot at the postseason…over half the league should be planning golf trips for October, because they won’t be playing baseball.
The Nationals are a cinch to win the NL East, while three teams, (Brewers, Cubs, and Cardinals), are battling it out for the NL Central. And, the top three teams in the NL West all seem destined for the playoffs, with the top team carrying the West, while the other two will be in the Wildcard game.
With so many teams in the playoff picture in the AL, most teams will be buyers. One of the three teams who won’t be buying this year is the Detroit Tigers. It’s time to blow it up in Motown. With the second worst record in the AL, it is time to sell off some bloated contracts and turn the page.
One of the teams who’ll be obvious buyers is the New York Yankees. They are currently tied for first place and look to be for real. One of the areas they are lacking is in their starting pitching. CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, and Jordan Montgomery just doesn’t strike fear into the opposition. It may be enough to snag a postseason appearance, but the 27 time champs don’t look for playoff appearances, they look for World Series victories.
In looking at the two teams situations, they are perfect trade partners. Although they are each AL teams, they aren’t in the same division, so it’s not like the Yanks would be trading with the Red Sox. The Yankees have nearly $100 million coming off their books at the end of this season, and can certainly afford to carry some payroll. The Tigers are in desperate need to free themselves of some terrible contracts. It is a match made in heaven
To the Yankees: Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton, and Jordan Zimmerman. To the Tigers: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dellin Betances, Greg Bird, Luis Cessa, and Jorge Mateo. The Tigers would be freeing themselves of $400 m`illion in contracts, and only picking up 64 Million in taking back Ellsbury, plus whatever the annual arbitration figures are for the other players. They will save somewhere in the vicinity of 320 million dollars while getting back talent in Ellbury, a top reliever in Betances, a young starter in Cessa, and two top prospects in Bird at first base and Mateo at shortstop. With Didi Gregorius playing a terrific shortstop for the Yankees, and under team control through 2019, Mateo becomes expendable and fabulous trade bait.
The Yankees get a top first baseman in Cabrera, an ace in Verlander, a power hitting outfielder in Upton to play left field, moving Brett Gardner to centerfield, and they get a second starter in Jordan Zimmerman, who was forced into the deal as a salary dump. The deal works for each team, and satisfies each team’s needs. Adding Miggy and J-Up to that offense is truly scary to think of, and putting Verlander at the top of that rotation, instantly makes the Yankees odds on favorites to win the AL East, and puts them in great shape versus either the Astros or Indians.
For the Tigers, it will be the start of a long overdue rebuild, which is completely necessary. It won’t be a quick process, but freeing themselves of so much salary would be the most logical first step.
Just think how great it will be to see Kate Upton wearing a Yankees cap sitting in row one near the first base dugout at Yankee Stadium.
Cam Giangrande follow me on twitter @camcamelot