- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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Francisco Cervelli is crushing the ball this spring. He entered Friday hitting .484 in 31 at-bats. With four homers and seven RBIs, his OPS is 1.483. He has clearly won the backup catcher job over John Ryan Murphy and Austin Romine.
So by trading Cervelli, could the Yankees solve some depth issues in their bullpen or in the infield?
"At his bandwidth, I don't think you will get a lot," an NL GM told ESPN New York. "Most people think of him as a backup catcher."
The thinking is that if Michael Pineda is ready, Phelps might become expendable.
Because if they feel Pineda is good to go in the fifth-starter slot, they would be more willing to use David Phelps as part of a deal, which would be tough for them because Phelps provides good rotation support plus potential help in the bullpen. Both the Diamondbacks (who lost Opening Day starter Patrick Corbin for the season with a torn elbow ligament) and the Mariners (who will be without Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker to open the season) want to add starters who can help now.
Both Franklin and Gregorius have played just over 100 games in the majors and each has an OPS under .700. They are young but unproven.
But I don't think trading Phelps makes sense until you have a really good feel on Pineda -- and even then, I would pick my spots. Pineda has looked tremendous, but the Yankees still don't know -- and won't know for a while -- how he will hold up.
The Yankees' starting pitching depth could prove far more important than adding a Franklin or a Gregorius.
They haven't shown that they can be regular major leaguers any more than the hot-hitting Yangervis Solarte, Dean Anna or Eduardo Nunez, whom the Yankees seem to be souring on and could have his helmet falling off for another team soon.
The other trade name that will be out there heading into Opening Day is Ichiro Suzuki. The Yankees are willing to deal him because they don't have a spot to play him.
Early in spring training, Joe Girardi even forgot to mention Ichiro when discussing how he will use his outfielders. With Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro needs one or even two injuries to get in the conversation.
The Yankees would likely eat some salary -- Ichiro is set to make $6.5 million -- to unload him for a low-level prospect. Ichiro's trade value is not very high because of how low his on-base percentage has been. In 2013, it was .297, which is untenable for a singles hitter.
So the Yankees could make a trade in the next week ... but it won't be for much.