As of late, the Evil Empire doesn’t seem so evil anymore.

The New York Yankees have looked horrid this year and nothing like the powerhouse team we saw in the late 1990s and 2000s.

As of May 19, the Yanks hide in the cellar of the AL East with a dismal 17-22 record. They sit seven games back of first place and look more like a nursing home than an actual major-league baseball team.

The lineup is riddled with washed-up veterans such as Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, and Alex Rodriguez.

(May 4, 2016 - Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America) A-Rod has been one of many veterans underperforming.

(May 4, 2016 – Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America) A-Rod has been one of many veterans underperforming.

There are many, many more almost-fossils who take the field in pinstripes, but the point of this is not to expose the age problem that the Yankees clearly have.

It’s to point out that the Yankees need to commence a massive rebuild similar to the one that they had from the mid-to-late 80s to the early 90s. Back then, that rebuild helped them grow Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte (hey, the core four), and many others who brought them five World Series rings in the span of about 14 years.

They need one of those sometime soon.

The Yankees farm system was ranked 16th in baseball by Bleacher Report’s Farm System Rankings before spring training. With all of these old guys out there limping around and most likely retiring or fading out within the next few seasons, they need to have prospects who can come in and fill those roles.

Luis Severino was supposedly their next big ace who they picked ripe and fresh right off of the farm. But so far this year, he sports a record of 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA.

He wasn’t too fresh, I must say.

If they’d like to improve their farm system, Brett Gardner may be the perfect piece to trade.

Gardner is 32 years old and is batting .240 with five home runs and 11 RBIs. He can also steal bases, so it is worth noting that he does have seven stolen bases as well.

(May 16, 2016 - Source: Norm Hall/Getty Images North America) Gardner argues a strike after striking out.

(May 16, 2016 – Source: Norm Hall/Getty Images North America) Gardner argues a strike after striking out.

Those numbers certainly don’t pop out at you, but there is one team who could use a consistent outfielder like Gardner and has trade pieces that the Yankees could actually use: the Houston Astros.

The Astros have started the year out terribly and seem to have a massive hangover from last year’s triumphant playoff berth. Aside from George Springer and occasionally Colby Rasmus, their outfield has been dreadful. Center field has consistently been exposed, as Carlos Gomez has fallen off a cliff and is batting .182 with no home runs and five RBIs while Jake Marisnick is batting .105.

Gomez just went on the 15-day disabled list.

If the Astros want to turn this ship around, they will need to find some sort of band-aid to stop the bleeding, and that could easily be Gardner.

Since 2009, Gardner has been a consistent bat in the lineup and has never hit below .255. He’s coming off of his two years with the most power, as he hit 17 home runs with 58 RBIs in 2014 and 16 homers and 66 RBIs in 2015. In his career, he’s a .348 hitter at Minute Maid Park. He’d also be a solid number-two hitter in the Astros lineup as well. The ‘Stros need consistency and Gardner certainly brings that.

(June 26, 2015 - Source: Scott Halleran/Getty Images North America) Gardner dives for a ball in Houston.

(June 26, 2015 – Source: Scott Halleran/Getty Images North America) Gardner dives for a ball in Houston.

For the Yankees, this deal would also work well in their favor.

The Astros have the sixth-best farm system according to Bleacher Report. Gardner’s return wouldn’t break their farm system into a million pieces, but it would still be significant enough to satisfy the Yanks. Prospects Francis Martes or Joe Musgrove, both right-handed pitchers, could come back in the deal. The Yankees desperately need pitching, so those two would be a formidable return even if it was just one of them.

Both Martes and Musgrove are projected to be ready sometime next year.

Nonetheless, it would be a great return for the Yankees. Michael Pineda and Severino continue to prove that they’re busts with each passing start, Nathan Eovaldi seems to always be armed with a high ERA, and CC Sabathia is getting up there in the age column.

It’s just time for a new-look Yankees in the Bronx.

Brett Gardner trade rumors haven’t gone viral yet. But as the summer becomes more and more pointless with each passing game for the Yankees, they’re going to start to heat up.

It’s a win-win for both teams and something that will increase in necessity as the season progresses.

The Yankees want to start to rebuild and the Astros want to contend for the World Series.

Didn’t think I’d ever say that.

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