Kevin Youkilis has agreed to terms, and as long as the doctors give the green light, the Yankees have their third baseman. That means right field now stands as the clear priority, and that market is becoming crystal clear as well.
1. Last night the Indians shipped Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds in a three-team trade that sent young shortstop Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks.
2. Because the Diamondbacks now have their shortstop, they no longer have much incentive to trade Justin Upton, and Kevin Towers says such a trade is “highly unlikely.”
3. Because the Diamondbacks aren’t likely to trade Upton, the Rangers have little reason not to re-sign Josh Hamilton.
4. Because the path is now clear for Hamilton, the path should also open for Nick Swisher. Maybe it’s Cleveland. Maybe Philadelphia. Maybe Seattle. His market seems fairly wide open, but it should come into focus now that pieces are flying off the board.
5. Because Swisher and Hamilton are the last remaining free agent outfielders who don’t need a platoon partner — and because there are no obvoius trade targets readily available — the Yankees might as well buy into the best platoon situation possible.
6. Because the Yankees might as well find the best platoon possible, they might as well start with Ichiro. He could more easily handle the position and potentially play everyday than the any of the left-handed alternatives (Ryan Sweeney, Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel, Raul Ibanez).
7. Because the Yankees already seem to be moving toward a deal with Ichiro, they can also start considering the right-handed corner outfielders, a group that begins with Cody Ross and continues through Scott Hairston and Delmon Young.
8. Because the Yankees have a clear left-handed outfield target and a small group of right-handed options, they might as well fill that designated hitter spot, figure out whether Chad Gaudin is still pitching, and call it an offseason. When do pitchers and catchers report again?
Associated Press photo