In Brian Cashman's quest to find affordable options for the 2014 Yankees roster, he said that "Non-Roster Invitees might be key." The Yankees general manager has made dumpster diving an annual tradition over the last few years, and I'll be extremely disappointed if we don't get one laughably bad option thrown into the pile. Remember last spring when the Yankees invited guys like Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera to camp in order to give them a shot at cracking the Opening Day roster? That was pretty funny, it is now at least.
With less than a month to go before spring training it's just about time for the Yankees to announce their latest group of Non-Roster Invitees of Awesome for the coming 2014 season. This year they need to focus on the infield because right now they have a tumbleweed at third base and a cardboard cutout at second. There are some players out there who might get an invitation, but that doesn't mean they'll actually make the team. In fact, they probably shouldn't. No, they better not. Someone has to bring these players in to camp, so why not the Yankees, huh?
I have listed out five such baseball cretins that nobody really wants. They are ordered by oldness, because of course they are. Please, refrain from barfing directly onto your keyboard.
Placido Polanco is 38 and alive, so he might be just what the Yankees are looking for. He hasn't been a league-average hitter since 2009, but despite his age, he's actually been a good defender at third base over the last three seasons (14 DRS). He put up a 2.4 WAR season as recently as 2011, but has since only managed 0.2 WAR over the last two seasons. As a right-handed hitter he could, theoretically, offer an option off the bench against lefties after he put up a 103 wRC+ against them in 2013. That doesn't sound so bad, does it?
Brandon Inge offers very little with the bat, and his 20-tool head, after putting up three straight sub-.300 OBP seasons in a row. He has, however, offered some solid glovework over the last two years (8 DRS) at third base. As a right-handed hitter, he once offered above-average value against lefties, but since 2012 he's been anemic at the plate against everyone. If the Yankees want to add a 36-year-old veteran to the battle royale of career minor leaguers they have collected, Inge could make sense. If none of those options can beat his projected -0.7 WAR, though, then we're in real trouble and we're better of with the tumbleweed.
Paul Janish is actually only 31 and can play shortstop, second base, and third base at the major league level, though he's been a much better shortstop (23 DRS) over his career than anything else (0 DRS). Unfortunately, he can't really hit at the major league level. He has a career 54 wRC+ and just came off the worst season of his unimpressive career. He offers another right-handed bat, but he's not going to offer any kind of value with it, unless he can get Ichiro to sign it. If Paul Janish ends up on the Yankees, it means that Brian Roberts has died.
Elliot Johnson is another infielder who can play anywhere between second, short, and third, providing solid defense, but no offense. Last season he posted a 10 DRS at second base, which was far and away the best mark he has posted anywhere else in his short career. The 29-year-old is a switch-hitter, but he's pretty bad on both sides of the plate. Johnson is simply a glove with the added bonus of having experience at all three outfield positions. That would be fun. We already have a Johnson, though. We don't need two Johnsons, or do we?
These lucky few could end up as the next Matt Diaz. All of them. Like a terrifying meat-Voltron. They'll be here one minute, but then gone and then we can laugh about them after the season. Oh, the chuckles we will have. And then they will turn into tears because I just wrote this post and oh god.