Could Soriano, Ramirez be fits for Yankees?

WASHINGTON -- The New York Yankees have three scouts watching the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs as they look for bullpen and hitting help. It appears the Yankees may have some interest in Cubs left-handed reliever John Grabow as well as hitters such as Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano.

New York is looking to beef up its team which will be challenged by the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays in the second half in what is baseball's deepest division.

Although money can be an issue with some teams, the Yankees and Red Sox will usually spare no expense in getting the right players to help them win a pennant.

Although the Yankees already have a solid base in their everyday lineup, Ramirez or Soriano could add some punch as a designated hitter. Soriano has around $65 million left on his contract that runs through 2014. The Cubs would likely step up and share a good portion of that contract obligation if they found an interested party.

Soriano, a former Yankees second baseman, likely would jump at the chance to return to the playoffs, and being the DH would save his legs and make him a stronger hitter over the next three seasons.

The Cubs are probably not inclined to trade Ramirez at this point; he has been one of baseball's hottest hitters over the past five weeks. Like Soriano, Ramirez can veto a trade. However with an option year left on his contract at $16 million, the likelihood of Ramirez approving a trade seems more plausible now than in May when he told ESPNChicago.com that he wanted to stay with the Cubs and would invoke his no-trade clause if they asked.

"I'm a Cub, and that's how I look at it," Ramirez said on Thursday. "I come to the park everyday to work and help us win. I'm not going to let trade talk distract what I have to do here."

The Yankees bullpen is in need of veteran left-handed help. New York scouts are looking at many relievers around baseball. WTOP-FM 103.5 in Washington reported on Thursday that the Yankees have interest in Nationals left-hander Sean Burnett.

Grabow is in the last year of his contract and would be someone the Cubs could possibly move in a trade.

Cubs manager Mike Quade was asked what he would recommend to his players when the rumor mill begins to spit out Cubs players names over the next three weeks.

"You talk to veteran players and managers who have been through this thing before; when your name comes up you don't ignore it but you need to stay focused on what you're doing," Quade said. "And I like to think whoever it might be then would be OK with that."

Quade had a last word of advice.

"I would tell them don't let anything affect you because until it happens it's just not true," Quade said.