After the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran, speculation began that Brett Gardner would be traded. Also, it’s been reported that the club is gauging interest in Ichiro (bag of balls maybe?).

Something occurred to us though, after we wrote “How much is left to spend?” on Sunday night. Assuming Arod’s salary is cleared from the books via suspension, we calculated the Yankees will have ~ $14 million to spend before they hit the magical $189 million (including arbitration players and non-arb contract renewals). Considering they still need a third baseman, second baseman (unless they stick with Kelly Johnson), at least one starting pitcher (only one would leave them very thin!), and additional bullpen pieces, it will be incredibly difficult to fill these needs via the open market, where prices are always more inflated, and stay under $189 million.

Thus, in order to fill the roster, they might be forced to trade players at positions of excess (hello outfield). So whether it makes sense to trade someone like Brett Gardner or not, the Hal-Cap™ might deem it necessary to do so.

And if we start seeing trades of this nature, we will all know Hal’s true intentions, and whether the $189 million was a “goal” or a “mandate.”