As the summer begins and the baseball season heats up, the Yankees find themselves in third place in the American League East, eleven games behind the Boston Red Sox. While they opened the month of June on fire, they have since cooled and are playing closer to how they began the season. The return of Roger Clemens to New York was a savior to a Yankees fan. Clemens has experience and he’s a leader who can help motivate this team. In reality, as a leader he might be, he looks like an aging pitcher who doesn’t have what he used to (you have to have some respect that he was willing to come in relief on Sunday; not that it helped the outcome any). As we are in the last week of June and every paper in the nation has their opinion on what’s wrong with the Yankees and how to fix it, there’s one area that no one is addressing. Instead of trading away some prospects to bring in Mark Teixeira, Adam Dunn, or Mark Buehrle for a stretch run, what about selling off pieces of the team, and look to next season?
This obviously isn’t the popular route for Yankee fans that refuse to believe they are out of it, but probably the best thing in the long run for this franchise. With the Tigers and Indians fighting it out in the AL Central, and the Twins always finding a way to win, it’s looking less and less likely that the Wild Card will come out of the AL East. The Yankees have potential free agents who can put a playoff contender over the top and in return the Yankees can get some young players who can make an impact on this team next season.
Bobby Abreu– Abreu has started the season off slow, and some Yankee fans have to question his acquisition and Gary Sheffield’s departure. Abreu is a good defender in right field. He isn’t a power threat he was once considered, but has good speed and puts the ball in the gap. The Padres would love some offense, and have some good relievers they’d probably part with.
Jorge Posada– Posada is again putting up All-Star numbers. Currently Top 5 in the AL in batting average, Posada has been a consistent spark for the Yankees this season. Posada will be a free agent at the end of the season, and he’ll also be 36. The Yankees will need to start to look for a replacement for the Posada, who has been the daily backstop for over a decade. An AL team looking for an additional bat to possibly DH, or a farm rich team like the Brewers could use a catching upgrade.
Mariano Rivera– Another fan favorite and the greatest closer in the history of the game. Though he has appeared to slow down, Rivera would have a lot of value on the summer trade market. Teams like the Indians and Tigers who are battling it out in the AL Central could both use a closer upgrade. Rivera coming in the 9th to close the game out is an obvious upgrade over Todd Jones of Joe Borowski.
Alex Rodriguez– Rodriguez has been raking the ball this season, again proving why he’s one of the best players in the game. He’s on pace to establish a career high in home runs, RBI’s, and runs scored, and has an option at the end of the season to become a free agent. Whether Rodriguez plans to leave of not we will not know until seasons end. A team like the Los Angeles Angels have some young players and top prospects, who would definitely be shipped to New York, for ARod’s services.
Look, I know the Yankee fans have a never say die attitude, and I’m sure it’s "possible" for a huge second half and a playoff run, but why would it be better next season? Mussina, Pettitte, Damon, & Giambi will all be another year older and with age follows nagging injuries. I’m sure it would upset the fan base to deal away fan favorites like Rivera and Posada, who were part of the dynamic Yankee teams in the late 90’s, but sometimes you need to look past things like that, and see how it could benefit the club as a whole. Babe Ruth was also a fan favorite, and the Yankees send him to the Braves for the good of the team. The good thing about the Yankees is a few trades will only really sacrifice this season. They still have strong pieces in place, that with some young talent, the Yankees could have a contending team for years to come.