The trade rumor question on everyone's mind today: who are the Yankees getting to replace Hideki Matsui?
Buster Olney ran through seven options in his blog today. Let's assess these first.
1. Bobby Abreu was the headliner today. Olney reiterated Gillick's aggressive attempts to deal him this winter. But as a few commenters on this site have mentioned, why would the Phillies trade Abreu to the Yanks when their team is contending? New York doesn't have an equitable starting pitcher to offer in return (unless Carl Pavano gets a visit from the 2003 fairy again). Dealing Abreu for Philip Hughes and another prospect just isn't sensible for the Phillies.
2. With a projection of .273/.335/.406, Shannon Stewart ain't replacing Matsui's offense. Matsui is a 5-6 win player, Stewart is a two win player.
3. Torii Hunter is a better option, though his defense is not what it once was. If the Twins could wrangle Hughes for Hunter, it would be a killer move for them. It seems likely that the Yankees will at least inquire, and Hunter would be happy on the big stage.
4. Olney rightfully questions Aubrey Huff as a poor fit because of a slow start, poor defense, and no good match among Yankee pitching prospects.
5. Alfonso Soriano is sounding less crazy each time I think about it. But again, could this happen without Hughes? Wouldn't be worth that price.
6. Mike Cameron...not sure why he is on this list.
7. Austin Kearns...see Mike Cameron.
Now to add a few others:
A couple of mid-tier options I mentioned in conjunction with St. Louis still could apply: Reggie Sanders, David Dellucci, and Craig Wilson would all come at a lesser cost.
Some more large salaried possibilities: Carlos Lee, Shawn Green, Luis Gonzalez, Raul Ibanez, Jim Edmonds, Mark Kotsay, and Juan Pierre. These guys are admittedly less likely for various reasons, but it's always fun to speculate. I was surprised to hear that the Brewers are trying to work out a contract extension for Lee.
I really could see Hunter as the guy, especially since the Twins are already in fourth place, 8.5 games out. If the Yanks want a player comparable to Matsui, it should cost them Hughes and perhaps Jose Tabata or another younger prospect.
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