With the free agent market drying up with each passing day, the trade market presents some interesting potential trade chips for the Yankees. I’m going to target prominent players coming off injuries, players on rebuilding franchises, and affordable pitching options.

1. Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE: Thought by many to be the next great center fielder, Sizemore was a legitimate MVP candidate from 2006-2008. Over that three year span, Sizemore crushed 85 home runs, drove in 244 runs, stole 77 bases while hitting at a .285 clip.  However, Sizemore has only played 139 games over the last two seasons, suffering from a knee injury in 2009 and synovitis in this left (throwing) elbow. Sizemore had micro fracture surgery in June and is on pace to be ready for Spring Training next month.

Sizemore, only 28 years old, is relatively cheap option. He is owed only $7.5 million in 2011 while having a $9 million club option coming into play in 2012.

Sizemore screams ‘Buy Low’, given his age, cost, and past production. However, the Yankees seem very comfortable with their outfield alignment. The team did not aggressively pursue either Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford nor have they shopped any of their three outfielders for an upgrade.

If Brett Gardner were to start slowly and have a poor first half, the Yankees would be willing to look for an upgrade. If Sizemore has a decent first half, expect the Yankees to at least kick the tires. The Yankees and Indians have matched up as trade partners in the past (Hello, Kerry and Austin), so talks could progress.

2. Mark Buerhle, SP, CWS: The 31-year-old Buerhle is in the final year of his contract. The crafty lefty is owed $15 million this season (if traded) and has a vesting $15 million 2012 option on deck. Since the Yankees lost out on Cliff Lee, they are always looking to upgrade their rotation.

Over his ten full seasons in the Majors, Buerhle has never thrown fewer than 201 innings. Buerhle has made at least 32 starts over that time frame and would give the Yankees an almost guaranteed 200 innings. Known for his command and location, Buerhle doesn’t exactly post huge strikeout numbers. In 2010, Buerhle averaged only 4.24 K/9. Buerhle’s ground ball rate sits at 47%, so he’s not exactly getting strikes out or getting ground outs. Buerhle has limited his walks, 1.9 BB/9, so he makes hitters get on base. Buerhle gave up 246 hits last season, which were the most in baseball. Bottom line, hitters are going to put the ball in play against Buerhle.

The White Sox added Adam Dunn and re-signed Paul Konerko so they clearly want to ‘Win Now’. Buerhle headlines a rotation occupied by Jake Peavy, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd. While I doubt the White Sox would trade their durable ace, the Yankees should at least kick the tires on the free-agent-to-be.

3. Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA: I wrote a lengthy piece on the dominant righty a few weeks ago. Seems like a pipe dream, but check it out.