Less than a week from pitchers and catchers to report to Spring Training. Yankees are still full of questions? Then again so are approximately 85% of the other teams in baseball.
The Yankees are in need of pitching help. More so in the bullpen. The starting rotation has one wondering who will return to previous status or live up to the hype. The pen is full of potential but not much proven talent.
Infield could be a total disaster. Third base screams for an upgrade. Shortstop and first base are on the wait and see list. Second base has a gluten of wannabes. But with that many options, at second, surely one will emerge.
The outfield appears to be in the best shape. But with aging stars, it requires a constant monitoring and a steady diet of DH to insure a healthy group.
Not much left on the Free Agent Market: Only five on that list that might help.
1. Kendrys Morales, like the offensive but dam is he a poor defensive option. Yes he would be a fall back option at first and play some outfield in a pinch. But his best spot would be at DH. With so many aging players on the roster would be hard to sign him as a full time DH.
2. Placido Polanco is available but his age makes it hard to give him an every day start at third. He does have passable defensive skills and offensive production. Just no power and a declining defensive metrics.
3. Ubaldo Jimenez is out there but what are you paying for? He can be an ace or a fifth starter. He is an innings eater, that keeps the ball inside the stadium. He maybe the one the Yankees wished they had signed. Hard to commit to a long term deal with the talent that is in the 2015 Free Agent pitching group. I for one have always wanted James Shields in pinstripes.
4. Chris Capuano is a guy who could help out as a spot starter and long relief guy. Being left handed and still breathing makes him a candidate for the pen. He has never panned out as a rotation guy. His problem has always been going threw a line-up for the second or third time. Coming out of the pen should increase his velocity. He could be a good left-handed option coming out of the pen. No way would he ever make this team as a starter.
5. Stephen Drew makes a lot of sense. Above average defense at short, if he could only hit left handed pitching. (Maybe Kevin Long can help? Left-handed hitters seems to be his specialty.) Drew most likely will need a right handed hitting platoon partner. All in all Stephen Drew is the best choice if the Yankees open up that checkbook again. I for one believe they will. But, I hope they keep their options open for the a 2015 Free Agent shortstop and or a third basemen. The potential for a trade now and at the trade deadline is still a possibility but may never happen. For it takes two, as the saying goes.
Now is the time for the Bronx Bombers to look at the dumpster. Looking at what is left, I see nothing that helps out in the field. No position players are on this list that could be an upgrade over anything the Bronx Bomber have not already signed. Nada is the word for position help here at the scrap heap. Pitching is another story. A few former cannot miss and a former ace starting pitchers are out there recovering from injuries. Relief pitching has some candidates that would be well worth taking a flier on. Any of these guys might be worth signing to a Minor League contract, loaded with incentives.
Relief Options have the most potential:
1. Andrew Bailey maybe ready by late May. He once was consider a top late inning reliever. At 30 he is now on the mend. This guy needs a change of scenery that is for sure. Potentially, if he return to anything close to what he was in Bean-town, he would be a great addition. At his age would be someone to take a chance on. He has a chance to return to being a top late inning guy.
2. Joel Hanrahan was a top closer from 2010-2012. His injury, now has his future in doubt. He is 32 an looking better and better as he progresses thru his rehabilitation. Best guess is he could be ready to return to the big leagues by June. Several teams are now showing interest in signing him. He may not make it back in 2014. He could be one hell of an option in 2015. His closing experience could be a season savior for the Yankees.
3. Ryan Madson has had a rough couple years. Was a great closer in 2011. The wheels quickly feel off the cart. Now at 33 is recovery from his second round of going under the knife. He has already starting showcasing his status to big league teams. From all indication he maybe nearing a return to the big league in April or May.
1. Tommy Hanson was a very promising pitcher once upon a time. At 27 he has lost all confidence in what brought him to the big leagues. Being so young is reason enough to try to rescue his career. This kid had it all going his way not too long ago. Yet an injury derailed his promising future. Can he return to his former self? Maybe not but with that potential he once displayed, surely he could at least help out in the pen in the future
2. Jair Jurrjens was an ongoing rumor for the Yankees in 2013. He never fully recovered from an knee injury in 2013. He should be fully recovered in 2014. At 28 and possessing a boat load of talent, how can one go wrong by giving him a chance. He has nasty stuff when right. He like his former teamate if nothing else could be an outstanding reliever.
3. Johan Santana is recovery from another shoulder surgery at 34. He returned in 2012 to throw a no hitter. Looked like he was well on his way to reclaiming his ace status. The injury bug bite him in the ass again. This guy has done it all as a starter. Has been the standout on some very poor teams. That to me was the problem. Hard to fault a guy for over trying. He had to dominate the opposition or go home a loser. He is nearing the time he takes the mound to show if he is a potential option for a major league team. Being a lefty who now must become a pitcher, instead of a strike-out artist. No one knows to what level he will return too. His proven track record is reason enough to take a chance on him returning as a viable left-handed starter.