If the Yankees want to sign one of the high-profile free agents still on the market, they might have to part with a valuable piece of their bullpen to make it happen.
Caveat emptor, Latin for let the buyer beware. Except in the case of the Yankees potentially dangling David Robertson as trade bait, the more appropriate words should be, let the seller beware.
Jon Paul Morosi reports on MLB.com that the team could part with that critical component of their bullpen to gain financial leverage to sign free agents Yu Darvish or Mike Moustakas.
The move by the Yankees, if it’s executed, presents itself as one with high risk but also, the potential for a high reward. Unlike the team trying to trade Jacoby Ellsbury with the same goal in mind, there is any number of teams who would move quickly to add Robertson, even with his hefty $13 million price tag for the 2018 season.
For the Yankees, Mike Moustakas would almost be a dream come true, and of the two players, he gets the nod over Darvish as the player making Robertson expendable. His 38 home runs and 85 RBI in 2017 tell us all we need to know about the 29-year-old lefty hitting third baseman.
With Darvish, the ante for trading Robertson is too high. His horrid performance during the 2017 postseason, whether it a harbinger of things to come or not, is not a good fit for a team like the Yankees whose season will be determined by one thing and one thing only – and that’s bringing a World Championship back to the Bronx in 2018.
As a corner infielder, Moustakas fills the hole that neither Miguel Andujar or Gleyber Torres is likely to fill from a position where power is always looked on as a requirement. The rookies are untested in battle, while Moustakas has two World Series under his belt with the Kansas City Royals, along with one ring to show off around the Yankees clubhouse.
With Robertson, though, the word expendable doesn’t apply. Robertson is fearless, flexible, and he has a fastball that never goes straight. You can, however, rationalize that if Robertson had been playing for a team other than the White Sox, who were in the midst of conducting a fire sale last season, he would not have been on the radar of Brian Cashman for a return trip to Yankee Stadium.
As Morosi points out, no one seems to know what the payroll currently is for the Yankees. After much finagling with the numbers, though, Morosi pegs the team with $15 million to spend, leaving the Yankees, minus Robertson, comfortably within the range of Moustakas, who is looking for something in the area of $18-20 million over a minimum of five years.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained? And while it’s questionable the Yankees even need Moustakas or anyone like him to win their 28th World Championship, adding him to both the lineup and the clubhouse only serves to solidify an already exceptional team.
And if it means parting with a reliable and proven veteran like Robertson, so be it.