With so many teams maintaining or reducing payroll this winter, the New York Yankees and New York Mets have an opportunity to take advantage, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Although it's possible that the Yankees' and Mets' 2010 payrolls will be below their 2009 figures, Sherman says each team still has money to spend.
Sherman suggests that the two New York franchises could use their financial flexibility to explore the trade market. The Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds are among the clubs reportedly looking to trade. Sherman thinks that the Yankees or Mets are in a position to take on a bad contract from one of these teams (such as Magglio Ordonez, Bronson Arroyo, or Francisco Cordero) if a more desirable piece, like Curtis Granderson or Brandon Phillips, was also included in the package.
One agent tells Sherman that the Mets "are not a destination spot right now, especially if you are a hitter. You would be going to a questionable team playing in a huge park." As such, Sherman implies that if the Mets aren't able to blow away a hitter like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay with a ton of money, the trade market could serve them better.
It's a decent idea in theory, but I'm not sure it's necessarily the right move for either team. For instance, Sherman rightly points out that the Granderson-Ordonez pair will be less expensive next year ($23.5MM) than what the Yanks paid for Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui this year ($26MM). However, he neglects to mention that Damon and Matsui outproduced the two Tigers in 2009, and it's unlikely that the Yankees' pair will cost $26MM again in 2010. Plus, as MLBTR's Mike Axisa tweets, there's no guarantee that taking on a bad contract would reduce the price of a player like Granderson or Phillips.
If you were running the Yankees or Mets, would you be calling up the Reds, Tigers, and other cost-cutting franchises that are looking to deal? Or would you be more inclined to stick to the free agent market?