The Yankees are closing in on a deal with free agent starter Braden Looper, a source tells me. This person is allowed to remain anonymous to protect the fun of this post. Terms of the deal are still taking shape, but it is expected to be a one year deal for between $4M and $5M, with either a team option or a vesting option for 2012 at a higher rate.
Why it makes sense for the Yankees:
Looper had a bad year in Milwaukee last season, after 3 solid seasons in St. Louis where he moved from the pen to the rotation. While Looper has never topped 200IP, the sinkerballer averaged just under 6 innings per start over the last 3 seasons.
If Looper flops, he won't have cost the Yankees any draft picks or prospects, but if he succeeds he'll be under team control for another season.
Why it makes sense for Looper:
While the AL East will be a big challenge for the righty, it will also provide him with an opportunity to play for a winner and enjoy the early advantage of a pitcher facing batters for the first time. That plus a little bounce back (
2010 2009 xFIP 4.87, in line with his numbers), and Looper could be a big piece for the pitching starved Yanks.
Plus, Looper has a chance to be loved by New York fans, for being the anti-(read: willing to sign with New York) while simultaneously being not or Javy Vazquez.