The Yankees ranked as one of the most active teams at the trade deadline when it came to making deals, and the seller’s market proved to be so valuable that the team may be able to skip a prolonged rebuild period. With that said, the team is still rumored to be looking for ways to rid themselves of veteran players having already dealt away arguably the most expendable option: Brian McCann.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, two players that could find themselves included in trades this winter include Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia. Furthermore, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman fielded questions on Friday regarding the availability of not only Gardner but Chase Headley as well.
"I've had my fair share of hits on [Gardner and Headley]," Cashman said. "They're still here and they're here for a reason, but we'll see. We have our interest in getting younger and stronger and more flexible, and improve our present and our future. If all that provides that opportunity, then I think I'll be talking to our owner and see if he'll consider it."
Of the three players mentioned, none were particularly valuable to the Yankees last season. However, the 33-year-old Gardner is still seen as a plus-defender with good speed and still puts up an on-base percentage of around .350. He’s also just one season removed from hitting 16 homers.
Headley is a bit of a similar case. While the 32-year-old third baseman hit 14 homers last season, he still hit eight percent worse than the league average by wRC+. His on-base percentage continues to trend in the wrong direction, but his defense continues to impress.
The comparison gets a little more interesting when contracts are also considered. While Gardner is under team control through the 2019 season, he is guaranteed $26 million, including a $2 million buyout if his $12.5 million team option isn’t picked up. Meanwhile, Headley is due $26 million with a contract that expires following the 2018 season. Essentially then, they are due the same amount of money, while Gardner has the more appealing contract that retains his rights.
Lastly, Sabathia is due $25 million next season in his last year under contract. That’s a steep price for a 36-year-old pitcher with waning effectiveness, but, to the right team, Sabathia could be a good addition. In 2016, Sabathia shared some success, including his best groundball rate since 2010. Over 179.2 innings, Sabathia posted a 3.91 ERA on a 1.32 WHIP. While his strikeout rate is well down from seasons past, if Sabathia has found a knack for generating groundballs, the veteran could have reinvented himself in time for a small, late-career renaissance.
The Yankees have a number of assets that could come into play at any time during the offseason. They may have to retain salary in order to make the right deal work—like they did for McCann—though, regardless, the Yankees seem to be in a good spot with significant pieces with which to build around.