Jake Gibbs was the Yankees catcher in between Elston Howard and Thurman Munson, though Gibbs career overlapped somewhat with both of the Yankees greats. Gibbs was Munson's backup for the '70 and '71 seasons. In June of 1971, Gibbs announced he would retire at the end of that season to return to his Alma Mater, the University of Mississippi, to coach baseball. Gibbs, a former All American quarterback for the Ole Miss football team, was already an assistant football coach, returning to the school every year following the Yankees seasons. Archie Manning was one of the players Gibbs coached.
Following the announcement, Jim Ogle, the Yankees correspondent for The Sporting News, wrote a column lamenting that the Yankees struggles to rebuild had taken another hit because of Gibbs walking away from the game and not being moved earlier in some trade for a younger player. It's the old baseball adage of "trading a player a year too early rather than a year too late." Gibbs' announcement made it too late for the Yankees in 1971.
Such is the case with the current Yankees, as there is no shortage of veteran players who could (or maybe should) be moved to continue the current youth movement. Since it has been reported that upper management remains hesitant to engage in a massive sell off, it is incumbent on Brian Cashman to convince the bosses that at the very least, some limited sell off is necessary. And there is no reason the Yankees could not be buyers at the same time, if such a deal makes sense. Brian Cashman has his work cut out for him over the next couple of weeks. So who might (or will) be gone is anybody's guess, but here are a few possibilities.
1. Aroldis Chapman
The Yankees MUST sell Chapman to the highest bidder, unless they plan to offer him a long term contract. Getting a draft choice for Chapman should not be an option. There is no shortage of possible destinations for Chapman, as they include the Nationals, Cubs, Giants and Rangers to name a few. Andrew Miller would then slide back into the familiar closer's role. Let the bidding begin.
2. Carlos Beltran
Beltran, like Chapman is a free agent at the end of the season. But Beltran is the only middle of the order hitter having a good year, so management might be reluctant to make a deal. Beltran's contract allows the Yankees to trade him without his permission to any of fourteen teams. While it is possible that multiple teams might be interested, Beltran is mostly a designated hitter which may limit his appeal to American League contenders. How many of them are on the list and would the return be enough to justify the trade? Similar circumstances as with Chapman, but quite different at the same time. It also begs the question, would the Yankees consider bringing back Beltran one more time and what might become of Alex Rodriguez if they do?
3. Brett Gardner
Don't dismiss the possibility of the Yankees moving Gardner before the deadline, though such a move seems unlikely at this point, Gardner rumors continue to surface though.
4. Andrew Miller
The rumor mill seems to go back and forth on Miller. Some rumors suggest both Chapman AND Miller might go. Now that's a sell off. If the Yankees could pry loose some team's untouchables, maybe a deal could be struck An example would be the Cubs' Javier Baez or Kyle Schwarber, though Schwarber's injury might give the Yankees some pause. Expect Miller to remain in the bullpen unless the Yankees are clearly blown away with an offer.
5. Michael Pineda or Nathan Eovaldi
Pineda's name has recently surfaced in rumors, though without much in the way of specifics. Eovaldi has been relegated to the bullpen, where he might find a home, especially if Chapman is dealt. Chad Green may get the call back to the rotation following his dominant performance at AAA Scranton Thursday night (8IP 1 hit, no runs, no walks and eight strikeouts) That might be enough to keep Eovaldi in the pen a while longer. Pineda's recent resurgence might make him marketable enough to bring something in return. Both Pineda and Eovaldi are free agents after 2017.
6. Mark Teixeira
The thinking here is that Teixeira will not waive his no trade clause and further thinking is that it probably doesn't matter at this point, due to health and struggles at the plate.
7. Brian McCann or Jacoby Ellsbury
Here are two more players with long term contracts and no trade clauses, whose names keep cropping up in rumors, McCann in particular. There is likely nothing to see here. The same goes for CC Sabathia who was great earlier in the season, but has struggled over his last five starts. Sabathia has a vesting option for 2017, which it appears will kick in. Expect all to remain Yankees.
8. Ivan Nova
There doesn't appear to be much interest here, though the soon to be free agent (following this season) could be a rental for some contender looking for a 5th starter or long man in the bullpen.
9. Austin Romine
Gary Sanchez to the White Sox rumors surfaced recently but reportedly the Yankees asking price was too high. Might some teams consider Romine as a backup and might the Yankees be ready to promote Sanchez? Catcher Kyle Higashioka has had a breakout year at both AAA and AA, and offers the Yankees organization depth at catcher, just in case they see a worthwhile return for Romine.
10. Any number of prospects
Could the Yankees be buyers as well? Not that they would trade prospects for some thirty-something veteran, but a younger player might be appealing enough for the Yankees to part with a prospect or two. It's just a thought. Cashman has been known to pull off trades no one had expected and that might occur here.
For now the Yankees sit at .500 having split their first 88 games. They play 49 of their remaining 74 games within their division, where the season record sits at 10-17, We asked a few weeks ago what the Yankees brass likes and dislikes about this team. The day of reckoning approaches. At the moment, the big question remains, will Cashman convince his bosses to do at least a partial sell off (Chapman) and what other tricks does he have up his sleeve?