COMMENTARY | With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline a little more than a week away, some had floated the notion that the injury-ravaged New York Yankees would be in the unusual position of being sellers in 2013.
Not so much.
George King of the New York Post reported Tuesday, June 23, that the Yankees are in talks with the Chicago Cubs about re-acquiring outfielder Alfonso Soriano, whom the Bronx Bombers sent to the Texas Rangers as part of the 2004 trade that put Alex Rodriguez in pinstripes.
The punchless Yankees were shut out Monday night by Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers, 3-0. Through 99 games, New York is 12th in the American League with 387 runs, 13th with 88 home runs, 13th in batting average at .243, 13th in on-base percentage at .308 and 14th -- next to last -- with a .373 slugging percentage.
Any way one wants to slice it, the Yankees' offense has been offensive.
Yet at 52-47, the Bombers are still in the race, even if only peripherally. They trail the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox by seven games -- although there are two other teams between the Yankees and Red Sox in the standings -- and are 4.5 games in back of the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild card in the AL.
That is fairly remarkable all things considered. Think about this factoid: If one were to add the plate appearances of expected starters Francisco Cervelli, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, there wouldn't be enough to qualify for the batting title.
No, not the 502 needed to qualify for a full season. That sextet wouldn't even have the necessary 307 plate appearances to quality right now. Those six players have made a combined 277 trips to the plate this season for the Yankees.
The production, or lack of the same, has been almost comical.
Yankee first basemen are hitting a combined .230/.298/.402 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs this year. Their left fielders are at .224/.268/.331 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs. Third base? Try .218/.281/.291, four and 27. The shortstops check in at .217/.272/.289 with two home runs and 26 RBIs. The catchers are at .225/.298/.317 with six home runs and 26 RBIs.
In fairness to the catchers, Russell Martin wasn't exactly a hitting machine in 2012 at .211/.311/.403, but he did at least bring some pop to the order with 21 home runs.
And the designated hitters have been much more Mario Mendoza than Edgar Martinez. The various Yankee DHs are hitting .211/.298/.360 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs.
So, yes, Soriano would not just be an upgrade in either left field or at DH, he would be a massively enormous upgrade.
King cited a person familiar with the trade talks as saying that the Cubs would pay the bulk of what remains on Soriano's contract, which runs through next season. That would be roughly $7.3 million for the rest of this year and the full $18 million for 2014.
In return, according to the report, the Cubs would get a mid-level prospect. Predictably, general manager Brian Cashman had no comment about the potential deal.
Soriano is hitting .256/.286/.471 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs in 92 games for Chicago this year. The homer and RBI totals would be second on the Yankees behind only Robinson Cano (21 and 69, respectively).
The Yankees are one of the signature franchises in Major League Baseball with a record 27 World Series titles. There is no way the Bombers would be sellers at the deadline. That's as crazy as thinking one of the NBA's most storied teams, the Boston Celtics, would blow everything up and start over.
Wait ... who are all those new guys over in Brooklyn?
Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter at @FurtherReview.
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