When the Chicago Cubs closed out their four-game series in Washington, there were a few extra hands on deck to see the Cubs’ incredible comeback. Namely, three New York Yankee scouts were taking in the game, looking for hitting and relief help, according to Bruce Levine.
He speculates that the Yankees are looking to add some pop in the designated hitter spot, and guys like Aramis Ramirez or Alfonso Soriano could fit the bill.
Although the Yankees already have a solid base in their everyday lineup, Ramirez or Soriano could add some punch as a designated hitter. Soriano has around $65 million left on his contract that runs through 2014. The Cubs would likely step up and share a good portion of that contract obligation if they found an interested party.
Soriano, a former Yankees second baseman, likely would jump at the chance to return to the playoffs, and being the DH would save his legs and make him a stronger hitter over the next three seasons.
While it’s certainly true that Soriano could be more productive as a DH than a left fielder (and he could avoid all those pesky “horrible, nightmarish plays” in the field), it’s hard to imagine the Yankees being willing to take on Soriano for more than a season or two, and at a reduced rate. That means the Cubs would have to kick in enough salary to cover not only years three and four remaining on Soriano’s deal, but would also probably have to split the cost of this and next year. While we may hope the Cubs do that, it’s just not likely.
As for Ramirez, he’s said he’d use his no-trade rights to veto a trade; or alternatively, would require a trading team to pick up his $16 million 2012 option. In either case, putting together a deal for Ramirez, even with the Yankees, would be tough.
Levine notes that the Yankees are also looking for bullpen depth, and might be considering a veteran like John Grabow. Although he hasn’t been terrible productive overall this year, Grabow has absolutely dominated lefties. The Cubs would gladly toss Grabow the Yankees’ way for very little, and would probably throw in some salary to boot.
For more on Soriano, Ramirez and Grabow as trade candidates, as well as every other tradable Cub, make sure to check out our 2011 Cubs trade deadline cheat sheet. There’s a whole lot of information and analysis in there.