When it was announced on Tuesday that Brett Gardner might miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury, fans immediately had the image of Justin Upton patrolling the Yankee Stadium outfield in their heads. Those fans may be disappointed to find out that it’s not a scenario that seems likely to happen.
Instead, one source close to the team told me that he believes we’ll see the Yankees acquire a utility outfielder at the deadline – if General Manager Brian Cashman decides to make a deal at all. One name that comes to mind if this is indeed the case is David DeJesus, who is currently with the Cubs. The 32 year old is a Brooklyn native is signed to a reasonable contract paying him $4.25MM through 2013, and could slot in next season as a replacement for impending free agent Nick Swisher in right field. DeJesus is currently hitting .264/.354/.377 on the season, and plays all three outfield positions well defensively.
I also checked in with ESPN New York’s Wally Matthews during his weekly chat yesterday, and asked him to play oddsmaker, picking any one player on the trade market that winds up in pinstripes. Wally’s choice was Shane Victorino, a center fielder by trade who has extensive experience in right field, while having seen a little bit of time in his career in left field. At 31 years old, Victorino has struggled a bit this season, hitting .254/.317/.392 over 92 games this season. However, the Phillies outfielder plays similar to – you guessed it, Brett Gardner – both in the field and on the basepaths, which could make him even more appealing. Victorino is signed for $9.5MM through the end of the season.
Victorino would not be eligible for arbitration if acquired by the Yankees, as the new CBA requires a player be with a team for the entire season in order for them to be eligible for arbitration and compensatory draft choices. However, if the Yankees were to acquire DeJesus, he would likely be a “Type-B” free agent after the 2013 season. Though he hasn’t been mentioned much on the trading market as of yet, I think that DeJesus is a name to keep an eye on. But again, as Brian Cashman has stressed so many times over the past month, we’ll only see a deal if the price is right.
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