Friday, December 21, 2012
Asked how the search for a right-handed hitting outfielder to go with left-handed hitters Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro is moving, Brian Cashman didn’t sound like a man on the verge of filling the need.
“It’s not deep,’’ the general manager said of the free-agent pool and trade market.
If free-agent Scott Hairston continues to look for a two-year deal it’s unlikely he will get it from the Yankees, who have signed five free agents this winter and gave just one — Ichiro — a two-year contract. Free-agent Cody Ross is also looking for a multi-year pact.
As for the trade market, the names are enticing, but the dollars and years remaining on contracts put the Yankees out of play.
Minnesota may move Josh Willingham who hit 35 homers and drove in 110 runs last year and has two years and a combined $14 million remaining. And the Twins would likely want something better than what the Yankees could offer.
The Yankees have long liked Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer, but he is owed $21 million for 2013 and 2014. He is a .260 career hitter with a .795 OPS.
Vernon Wells could play the role Andruw Jones filled the last two years, but the Angels would have to swallow most of the astonishing $42 million across two years remaining on his contract.
Hairston and Willingham are the only two names above that interest me, but since Hairston wants a second year and since Willingham is signed for 2014 and would cost talent to acquire they probably are not feasible options. I’m coming around to the idea that they can try Ronnier Mustelier and/or Melky Mesa in the role and hope one of them clicks. They are going to need to fill holes in 2014 and getting some playing time in the majors for guys they have on hand that won’t cost them precious 2014 dollars is the sensible approach. It’s so sensible I’d be surprised if they did it, actually.