The NY Yankees almost made a trade for Brandon Phillips in the offseason and now that Opening Day 2014 is around the corner, could New York make a deal later on with Ichiro Suzuki or David Phelps with the Cincinnati Reds for the second baseman if Brian Roberts goes down with an injury during the season?
The Yankees have said that they are content with having Brian Roberts as their everyday second baseman, but for a guy that has missed significant time and has been injured in each of the four seasons, it could be tough to make it through without going down again. According to CBS Sports, the Mariners have been shopping Nick Franklin and the Yankees have been mentioned as a possible destination, although right now there has been no movement on that front.
The Mariners and Yankees are familiar trade partners and one option could be with David Phelps, as Seattle has been scouting him in spring training as a potential option to deal for. The Mariners are going to start the season without Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker in the rotation and they may need to add an arm to help get through the first month or so and Phelps could be the pickup. The team has not been close to trading Franklin yet, although they have gotten plenty of attention, including from the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets as well as the Tampa Bay Rays and now the Detroit Tigers after Jose Iglesias went down with stress fractures.
Rumors came up earlier this offseason that the Yankees would look to trade Ichiro and the main reason for that is because he is the fifth man in a crowded outfield. The Yankees have Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Jacoby Ellsbury now and Suzuki is the odd man out and one report had the Phillies as a possible option. The team needs some depth in the outfield and while Ichiro is getting up there in age, perhaps a trip to the National League could bring him back to what he usually does at the plate after he put up a career low batting average in 2013.
The Yankees season will have a lot riding on Roberts, as he is taking over for Robinson Cano, who has been one of the most productive and healthy second basemen in the league over his career. Roberts has missed over 100 games over the past couple seasons and he played in just 77 games last year and now he will be looking to get near the 159 number, which is how many he played in back in 2009, his most since last season over the past four years.
Phillips nearly was a Yankee during the offseason, but the team opted to reject a deal for Brett Gardner and now heading into the season, things could heat up if Roberts goes down. The Yankees don't want to pay Phillips a ton and he has four years and $50 million remaining on his contract so that will be tough, but if something unforeseen happens, he could be the player they look to. Phillips has had issues with the Reds and the Cincy media since before last season and if he is looking to get out of things, he could end up in NY and this comes after he hit .261 with 18 home runs with 103 RBIs, which are a career high for him.