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New York Yankees Should Trade Austin Romine to Los Angeles Dodgers for Chad Billingsley

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New York Yankees Have One More Trade to Make
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The Yankees' Austin Romine talks to Hiroki Kuroda.

COMMENTARY | The New York Yankees appear to be waiting for conclusions to Alex Rodriguez's arbitration hearing and the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes before making any more offseason moves, as both outcomes could likely dictate whether the team will try to avoid taking a luxury-tax hit next season.

However, one immediate potential trading partner for the Yankees could be the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In addition to having a crowded outfield, the Yankees find themselves with a surplus of catchers, one of whom could bolster the Dodgers' weak catching depth.

With Brian McCann on board and Francisco Cervelli back from his 50-game PED suspension, there doesn't appear to be room for Austin Romine on the New York Yankees' 25-man roster. According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, Romine is "very much available." The former top prospect started off poorly last season after being promoted in late April but finished strong, batting over .300 in July and August.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, may have a surplus arm in Chad Billingsley, especially if the team can trade for David Price or win the Tanaka sweepstakes. The team's 2014 starting rotation already includes Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, and Hyun-jin Ryu, so Billingsley is seemingly expendable.

A.J. Ellis is set to be Los Angeles' starting catcher in 2014, but his spot in the lineup has more to do with his handling of the Dodgers' pitching staff than his bat. Ellis batted .238 in 2013, but the wear and tear of everyday catching took a toll on his production, as he batted .207 in the second half of the season.

Behind Ellis, the Dodgers have Tim Federowicz, who batted .231 in 56 games last season, and Drew Butera, a career .181 hitter that the Dodgers picked up last season at the non-waiver trade deadline. Los Angeles is so thin at catcher, the team recently invited 34-year-old journeyman backstop J.C. Boscan to spring training, according to ESPN.

Billingsley, meanwhile, is expected to return from Tommy John surgery in May, according to the Los Angeles Times. The right-hander, who is 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA for his career, will earn $12 million in 2014 and has a $14 million club option for 2015. Last season, Billingsley started two games for Los Angles before opting for elbow surgery.

If the Dodgers agree to pay part of Billingsley's salary and the Yankees are patient with working Billingsley into the starting rotation, the two teams may be ideal trading partners.

Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.

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