NY Yankees Rumors: Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes Options if Brett Gardner Traded? Michael Pineda Contract Hurts Ivan Nova Future

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Jan 18, 2016 08:29 AM EST
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Justin Upton
San Diego Padres outfielder Justin Upton swings at a pitch during a 2015 game."

The New York Yankees continue to make adjustments to their 2016 roster as they work out contract deals with several players. Still in search of trades and upgrades, the Yankees are making commitments to some while holding off on others. As pitching comes back into focus for the Yankees, a raise to Michael Pineda could force a trade of Ivan Nova.

According to ESPN.com, the Yankees agreed to a new one-year contract extension of $3.2 million. Pineda is expected to fill the No.2 or No. 3 slot in the starting rotation this coming season depending on the development of Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia this offseason. Pineda is 17-15 in 40 starts with New York with a 3.51 ERA. The Yankees feel Pineda still has potential with the team despite his inconsistencies and his improvement could force a trade of Nova.

The Yankees continue to shop Nova on the open market in hopes of someone biting. Nova's value has taken a hit after he struggled to come back from Tommy John surgery. With no guarantees that he truly bounces back, the Yankees are eyeing trade deals. According to the Boston Globe the Miami Marlins have shown interest in getting Nova while the Houston Astros could also take a look. The Yankees have doubt in their starting rotation at the moment with so many question marks lingering around player's heads. Nova is certainly one of them and the team could aim to make a move as a result. 

"Yeah, I think there's a concern because of health, when you think about (Masahiro) Tanaka coming off an injury, (Nathan) Eovaldi coming off an injury, CC (Sabathia) with a knee he's had to deal with," Girardi said, via the New York Daily News. "Michael Pineda, that was the most innings (160.2) he's thrown after a substantial period of time. There is some concern. We had a lot of concerns last year and the guys did OK for us. You can go into spring training with five starters that are locked in and you can still have concerns. You'd better have depth."

Is the outfield also a question mark. According to Matt Bove of ESPN.com, Justin Upton should be a target for the Yankees. Last year, the team excelled because Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran managed to bounce back and have a good season, but the chances of that repeating with all three players is slim. The Yankees proved they need all three to be hitting big. When Teixeira went down with an injury, so did the team's playoff chances. 

Adding a bat like Upton or even Yoenis Cespedes could be critical to the Yankees in 2016. While the team's outfield is set at the moment, either option is an upgrade over Brett Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury. Will the Yankees make the move? With general manager Brian Cashman not wanting to overspend on players, it is unlikely. Should they eye a contract for either player? It could not hurt.

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