Wednesday, December 19, 2012
When the free-agent market opened following the World Series, Brian Cashman prioritized pitching over any other position.
Eventually, the Yankees general manager signed Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda to one-year deals. In part, Cashman’s focus on arms played a role in catcher Russell Martin leaving for the Pirates and a two-year, $17 million deal after not receiving an offer from the Yankees.
Now, after signing Kevin Youkilis to play third in Alex Rodriguez’s absence and close to announcing Ichiro Suzuki’s two-year contract, Cashman is looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder and a DH.
“I’m open to whatever, whether talking to [free agents] or other clubs,’’ Cashman said when asked if one position took priority over the other. “Whether it’s now or June, at some point we’ll have it.’’
Cashman also said, “We are talking to Raul Ibanez and his agent.’’
Ibanez, who hit 19 homers in the regular season and three more in October, is drawing interest from the Rangers, Mariners and Phillies. The 40-year-old left-handed hitter would strictly be a DH if he returned to the Yankees, whose projected starting outfield will be all left-handed hitters in Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro.
Asked if he were willing to talk about discussions with Scott Hairston, who would fill the right-handed hitting outfielder search, Cashman didn’t want to go there.
I’m not sure that a return engagement of the Shockmaster™ is much of an upgrade at this point. He’s probably useful as a platoon DH, but it seems to me that some of those DH plate appearances against RHP might be better used to see if Corban Joseph or Ronnier Mustelier can hit enough to be part of the 2014+ Yankees. I’m not going to get upset if they re-sign Ibanez, but it’s not going to make me think the team is any better than they’d be without him.
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