An arm for a bat?

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
12:00
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That seems to be the last remaining move in Brian Cashman's pre-season game plan, assuming he has squeezed the last remaining shekels out of Hal Steinbrenner's wallet with the Hiroki Kuroda deal. And with the addition of Kuroda and Michael Pineda to the rotation, the Yankees certainly would appear to have a surplus of starting pitching.

In that case, someone -- either Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett or Freddy Garcia -- has to go somewhere. It would be silly, of course, to ask you which should go. That is one vote Mr. Burnett would win in a landslide. But moving an underachieving 35-year-old pitcher with $33 million remaining on his contract is about as easy as moving a grand piano up five flights of stairs.

So it's more likely going to be Hughes or Garcia. Hughes, obviously, has value in the bullpen. Freddy has never really worked there. So it would seem that Garcia is the more likely candidate if the Yankees chose to trade a pitcher for a DH. (Don't ask me who they would get because I'm through trying to guess the GM's next move; as in the Pineda deal, I assume Cashman will come up with a name none of us have thought of.)

But in reality, it is Hughes who has by far the most value. He's young (26 in June), relatively affordable (on a newly-signed one-year deal for $3.2 million) and has that 18-win 2010 season on his resume.

The question is, can you live with a Yankee team that trades away Phil Hughes but holds on to A.J. Burnett?
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 15 67 69
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 21
RBIJ. Ellsbury 67
RB. Gardner 81
OPSB. Gardner .764
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAH. Kuroda 3.81
SOM. Tanaka 135