Yankees could execute interesting salary dump trade to solve shortstop and centerfield spots

alvis andrus, yankees

It is entirely possible the New York Yankees take a more cost-efficient route after the lockout. After all, general manager Brian Cashman stayed quiet before the league shut down, and while he could target a big name like Carlos Correa, the expectation is management doesn’t want to spend the type of money Correa is looking for over a decade long period.

There are a variety of options that could serve as a stopgap at a much cheaper price point, including Andrelton Simmons or Trevor Story. However, Cashman could look at potential trade scenarios as a more appropriate strategy.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman believes the Yankees could take more of a garbage disposal approach, accumulating big contracts and stop-gaps for the short term:

If the Yankees wanted to emphasize defense, it would probably not take a ton of prospect capital if they were willing to absorb most or all of the $6.25 million the Athletics owe shortstop Elvis Andrus in 2022 and the $18 million the Brewers owe Lorenzo Cain. … Cain would serve as a rotating part of the outfield, plus insurance for Hicks (Milwaukee has had interest in Voit previously).

Elvis Andrus is currently 33-years0old and headed into the final guaranteed year of the eight-year, $120 million contract he signed back in 2015. Andrus has a 2023 player option that would become guaranteed with 550 plate appearances in 2022 or 1,100 play appearances in 2021 and 2022 combined. He enjoyed 541 this past year with the Oakland Athletics, posting a .243 average and 15% strikeout rate.

Andrus is a decent player but isn’t known for his slugging abilities, which is usually the direction the Yankees take when acquiring players. He’s more of a contact specialist, recording 91 singles and 25 doubles this past season to go with 12 stolen bases. In the past, Andrus was known for his speed on the base paths, recording 31 stolen bases back in 2019 before experiencing a big drop-off with age.

Acquiring a player like Elvis would undoubtedly be a stopgap for the future, but taking his money off the books from Oakland would likely cost the Yankees little to nothing.

Another player Cashman could trade for is Lorenzo Cain of the Milwaukee Brewers. Cain is currently heading into the final year of a five-year, $80 million contract. He’s prepared to earn $18 million in base salary this upcoming season at 36-years-old, and serve as mostly a rotational player for the Bombers. This past season, he hosted a .257 average with eight homers and 36 RBIs in just 78 games.

Cain has undoubtedly experienced health complications in the past, but when he’s available, he’s a solid player capable of producing quality offense and good defense. Nonetheless, adding another injury-prone player to the outfield isn’t exactly an ideal situation, so this is a move the Yankees would likely pass on unless Milwaukee was looking for a salary dump and willing to give them assets in exchange.