Kuri stated earlier today that the Yankees do not need a DH. In theory, he's right. Signing one dimensional players is a bit of a waste and the Yankees need the DH to be somewhat of a revolving door. Alex Rodriguez will need DH days, as will Derek Jeter. But we know this.
However, A-Rod has discussed playing a lot of third base this season and is looking forward to a great year on the field. Meanwhile, how many times are we expecting Jeter to be used as a DH? Occasionally, sure, but despite his age and diminishing range, the Yankees need Jeter at shortstop. Last season, Jeter and A-Rod were used as the DH a combined 20 times. That's only around 80-85 at bats, leaving a few hundred at bats for an unknown player as of right now.
Additionally, in his article, Kuri made an entirely valid point:
Signing a one-dimensional player like Hideki Matsui, or a fielder-in-name-only like Johnny Damon might fill the remaining DH at-bats, but these types of players do you little good throughout the injuries, day-night double headers, and extra-innings games that inevitably dot the regular season.
This is true. However, I think he has ignored one essential aspect in his analysis. The main problem here is that current in-house options do not fare well against right handed pitchers. The remaining free agent options might not do a good job of playing the field, but they'll do a good job of keeping inferior hitters against right handed pitching on the bench. The Yankees have one half of their platoon DH filled in the form of Andruw Jones, but the majority of DH at bats will come against right handed pitchers.
Follow the jump for the statistical breakdown of current in-house candidates against right handed pitching and who I would sign to platoon with Andruw Jones.
Andruw Jones: Jones mashed lefties to the tune of a .400 wOBA and a 151 wRC+ against them in 2011, but his numbers against right handed pitching lag far behind. Jones had just a .172/.303/.406 line against righties last season, good for a .316 wOBA and a 94 wRC+. Jones will DH against lefties and play left field when either Curtis Granderson or Brett Gardner needs a rest.
Eduardo Nunez: Currently listed as the starting DH on the Yankees.com website, Nunez hit just .259/.313/.360 against right handers last season, good for a .297 wOBA and an 81 wRC+. Nunez will get at bats on the days Jeter and A-Rod need to DH, and that is plenty.
Jorge Vazquez: El Chato has had his name tossed around, but he has some major flaws, including a strikeout rate over 33% at Triple-A last season. Despite his power production (.255 ISO last season), Vazquez hardly walks and has some serious questions about his contact ability. Here's a link to his fangraphs page.
To fill the role, a guy like Casey Kotchman would be my choice. Against righties last season, he had a 136 wRC+ and a .367 wOBA. Additionally, at this point in the offseason, his contract demands are probably not too steep. He seems like a good candidate to be signed as Spring Training looms closer.
A guy like Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon may not give the Yankees much, and I am not advocating for either of them to be signed. But to say the Yankees do not need a DH this season is, in my opinion, incorrect. The current options for DH are all below average against right handed pitching, and that is something that probably needs to be addressed in free agency or through a trade.