Are the New York Yankees "laying in the weeds" for outfielder Josh Hamilton, the biggest prize of the current free-agent market? At least one baseball insider thinks that is exactly what the Yankees are doing, especially now with reports that the team is open to the idea of trading center fielder Curtis Granderson.
The Yankees, of course, have been stunned this week by the news that third baseman Alex Rodriguez will need a second hip operation in three years, and will miss at least half of the 2013 season.
[Related: Yankees talking to Kevin Youkilis?]
The Yankees have spent the offseason acting like paupers, losing their own free agents and refusing to bid on others as they try to get to a Hal Steinbrenner-mandated $189 million payroll by 2014 to get under the luxury tax threshold.
Here is what USA Today wrote about the state of the Yankees:
Please, can someone step up and save the New York Yankees?
If George Steinbrenner were alive, he'd be mortified watching this mess.
Who's running this franchise these days, Jeffrey Loria?
In the good ol' days, when the Yankees were beset with an obstacle, Steinbrenner would jump on the phone, demand his front office come up with the greatest player you can buy, and order world be restored. These days, the Yankees have become a poor man's version of the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates, working the edges of free agency and hoping to fill holes frugally.
Could the A-Rod news shake the Yankees out of their self-inflicted state of paralysis and into the hunt for Hamilton? The International Business Times makes the case for how a Granderson trade could pave the way for a Hamilton signing:
It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the Yankees to trade Granderson for a package of young hitters. With players like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez almost at 40 years old, New York is in desperate need of some young bats.
Trading Granderson would free up the money to sign Hamilton. If Hamilton is looking for a 10-year deal, like some have speculated, New York may have no chance to sign him. Others, though, feel that Hamilton’s issues away from the field will cause teams to offer him no more than five or six years.
In the new Yankee world order I have no idea if a Hamilton move is realistic -- it definitely is not unless the Yankees move Granderson first. I'm also not sure bringing Hamilton and all of his personal baggage to New York is a good idea.
It is, however, what George Steinbrenner would have done. And at least it would tell us that the Yankees are still the Yankees.