Yankees 2013 Free Agency: Rummaging through the veterans

Big Bart - Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have a penchant for trying to wring value out of aged veterans on the free agent market. Let's look at some candidates that fit that description.

Oh the Yankees and their veterans. Every year the team brings in a handful of older folks to fill in the roster cracks, or on occasion, backup some even older folks already on the roster. It's actually a pretty sound strategy: the Yankees can pay more than most, and age decreases the likelihood of having to go beyond single-year deals. Sometimes it works (Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera) and sometimes it doesn't (Ichiro Suzuki, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner). Here are some elder statesmen that will be free agents that could potentially help the 2014 squad.

A.J. Pierzynski C (2014 age: 37)

2013 stats: .272/.297/.425, 17 HR, 90 wRC+, 1.6 fWAR

Let's get it out of the way: A.J. Pierzynski is a bit of a pill and his career 4.0 BB% burns my eyes. However, he still has a good amount of pop left in his bat. I like Austin Romine and J.R. Murphy fine, but having zero catchers on the roster who have shown they can be decent MLB hitters for a considerable stretch would be a scary proposition.

Juan Uribe 3B (35)

2013 stats: .278/.331/.438, 12 HR, 116 wRC+, 5.1 fWAR

The rare career year as a 34-year-old. Uribe was absolutely awful for the first two years of his Dodgers contract, but has had a wonderful 2013. His hitting rebounded nicely and he's become one of the very best defensive third baseman in the league. Buying high on a soon-to-be 35 year-old player is not terribly prudent, but considering Mark Reynolds' third base butchery, Alex Rodriguez's unknown status and the dearth of quality third baseman on the market, Uribe is a solid option.

Carlos Beltran OF/DH (37)

2013 stats: .296/.339/.492, 24 HR, 132 wRC+, 2.0 fWAR

I will admit my bias: I've always loved Beltran as a player and would be giddy if the Yankees acquired him. His days as an elite (or even decent) defender have passed, but he still brings a plus-bat and solid baserunning. Also notable is that he is a superior slugger from the left side and could stand to take advantage of the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium much in the way Curtis Granderson has.

Bartolo Colon SP (41)

2013 stats: 2.65 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 15.2 K%, 3.8 BB%, 0.66 HR/9, 3.9 fWAR

Why not try to strike gold twice? Colon was very good during his lone season stint in New York and was a Cy Young candidate this year out in Oakland. Obviously, the Athletics would like to retain him and there are the PED concerns, but should Hiroki Kuroda decide to depart or retire, giving Colon a big one-year offer would be a good plan B.

Scott Downs RP (38)

2013 stats: 2.49 ERA, 3.09 FIP, 19.6 K%, 10.1%, 0.21 HR/9, 0.6 fWAR

The LOOGY (0 HR allowed in '13 versus lefties). With Boone Logan's future in question and Cesar Cabral a mere pup, Downs would be a logical choice for a lefty out of the pen. As per the usual with free agent lefty relievers, the market is likely to be very competitive for Downs.

As noted before, the Yankees could opt to retain their own older players like Hiroki Kuroda. But this is the quick and easy way to immediately improve a veteran roster: get older, talented guys in free agency and hope they still have something left in the tank. Because the young, talented ones just don't seem to come around as often as they used to.

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