Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Centerfield On the Cheap

So right now, with the signing of Mark Teixeira the only real need the Yankees seem to have is that of a centerfielder. Its not a real concern since they have Melky and Gardner who can fill the role for the time being, but if the Yankees want to improve that position there are a few options out there. Lets review:

Wily Taveras - The former Rockies centerfielder was let go this off season thus making him a free agent. He likely wouldn't cost much, and he steals bases like his life depends on it, which it does. He swiped 68 bases last season in what was an off year for him. He batted .251 down from the .320 he hit the year before. For $10 million, you could sign the man for 3 years, or just take a 1 year flyer on the man for about $3 million. Maybe even less. Whether his legs are in your field or on your bench, they're going to help. He has zero power, but can lay down a bunt on command. Something our bench can use.

UPDATE: I just found out from Antone, one of our readers and author of the allhiphop sports blog, that Taveras was signed by the Reds. So insignificant was the contract, they refused the mention the amount in the article. Its for 2 years. So the Yankees probably could have signed Taveras for about $1 million per year, and would have a great defensive outfielder, and fast bench player to show for it. Perhaps Gardner fills this need already.

Mike Cameron - This trade fell apart, but I suppose if the Yankees were willing to take up Cameron's $10 million contract, the Brewers would still be interested in making it happen. The benefit is that we might could get rid of Igawa in the trade, the drawback is that we'd be paying Cameron and Igawa's full contracts. Cameron can still steal some bases (17 bases last season) and has some pop (25 homeruns), but he strikes out like a mad man (142 strikeouts last season), and bats for a low average (.250 career average). Still, he would be a good defensive player with some pop. I suspect the Yankees have no interest in this anymore.

Juan Pierre - The Dodgers are looking to get rid of either Juan Pierre or Andruw Jones. Pierre has three years and $28.5 million left under contract, but the good thing is, he would be mainly a salary dump and won't cost the Yankees a super prospect. He, like Taveras, is fast and can hit for a decent average (.300 career average), and doesn't strikeout much. He was used as a part time player last season, but still stole 40 bases. He would be expensive, and has more years on his contract than you would really want, but if he serves any purpose, its to show that some team somewhere should really sign Wily Taveras.

Andruw Jones - If Pierre isn't traded, then Andruw Jones certainly will. His value is extremely low since he was injured all last season, and is due $15 million next season. In 2007 he hit .222, and although he's never been a guy who hits for average, it is concerning that in his walk year he had one of his worst seasons. Last season he had 209 at bats and hit .158 with 3 homeruns. So why in the world would we want him? We wouldn't. We should sign Wily Taveras.

Fernando Alejandro - This is probably the most intriguing option given the talent involved and the contract he would command. Although a free agent, Fernando has said that he would play for less money if signed by the Yankees. The statement angered his agent, Scott Boras, but he has remained vocal about his interest in playing in New York. Although he has no real discernible baseball talent, the Yankees could sign him for cheap, and if anything, he becomes a bench guy who can't hit for power, can't bunt, can't run, and can't play any position at a competent level.

Lastly, the Yankees could always just have no one play in center, put Gardner in right and Damon in left, and between the two of them, cover centerfield. As a concession, the Yankees should be allowed an extra infielder, say Cody Ransom, to play between second and first.


Antone said...

Tavares already signed with the Reds last week.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Darn it. That's what I get for not paying attention to baseball outside of the Yankees.

Anonymous said...

If im cash. I sign Alejandro to a 1 year contract incentive based. With a vesting option for the second year.

Anonymous said...

"Lastly, the Yankees could always just have no one play in center, put Gardner in right and Damon in left, and between the two of them, cover centerfield. As a concession, the Yankees should be allowed an extra infielder, say Cody Ransom, to play between second and first."

Good analysis, except for the unavailable guys and such.
Actualy, I think that as long as yo have 9 players on the field, it doesn't matter where they play. (Except the pitcher, of course.) I've seen managers o with an extra infielder before, and of course, a shift has pretty much the same effect. If Gardner can't cover 3/4 of the outfield, then we really have no use for him.
The big problem, as I see it, is that with Cano playing on the 3rd base side of the bag, we'll have to replace our beloved "Past a diving Jeter" with "Off Cano's face, as he's mesmerized by shiny stuff in the stands." (And into shallow left for a triple.)
I mean, I know it's a new stadium, but do ALL traditions have to die?


Anonymous said...

i still say, no matter what, brett gardner is the next generation... (note to yankees: you dont always have to dip into the bank account to set your line up)....if they do make a play for a CF this offseason, i hope its not for a ridiculous amount of years..austin, brett... just give some TLC.. not ATM

Raven King said...

Can't we just kidnap Grady Sizemore?

Fernando Alejandro said...

The Yankees could stand to be a little more patient with their prospects, but Gardner would have to improve greatly with his hitting before he could be an everyday player. Right now he projects as a 4th outfielder bench player.

Anonymous said...

Other than Cameron, I'd rather go with Damon in CF than any of those other options.