Now that we know Hiroyuki Nakajima will not be playing for the New York Yankees in 2012, it's worth speculating that the Yankees will be in the market for a new utility infielder for the upcoming season.
Eric Chavez filled the hole last season, but his ability to get injured each season in peculiar ways, along with his average play for the Yankees, leads to the questioning of his future with the Yankees.
The Yankees are interested in bringing Chavez back, but the Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, and Washington Nationals are also interested in Chavez.
I say let Chavez walk, (or perhaps send him away in a wheelchair) as with Alex Rodriguez' injuries, the Yankees cannot afford to take a risk at the utility infielder position.
Here are some alternatives:
Willie Harris- I cannot believe I am writing this, but Willie Harris is one of the better options out there. Harris boasts terrific speed, as well as the ability to get on base. While Harris had an off year in 2010, his OBP's in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 were all above .340, in addition to above league averages.
Harris can play every position except for catcher and first base, so the Yankees would not necessarily need to carry Chris Dickerson or Justin Maxwell on the roster.
There is one glaring issue with Harris, however, one that may even eliminate him. Harris is not a very good fielder.
Follow me after the jump for the rest of the options.Miguel Tejada- Miguel Tejada was basically awful at the plate last year. Tejada hit .239/.270/.326, while only belting four home runs. Tejada is an injury risk, as he only played in 91 games last season.
The Yankees may consider Tejada because he has "looked great" in his Winter League, and he is known for terrific defense.
Random Free Agent- Pick a random free agent from the 2012 class and the Yankees could be interested. Obviously we do not scout the players as much as the Yankees do, so the Yankees could see someone in the class that they scouted heavily and jumps out at them, and could pick up that player. Maybe Wil Rhymes is the next Alex Rodriguez according to Yankees scouts!
Brandon Laird (or other in house players)- The Yankees could look within their own system and have a bunch of players battle it out for the job. Whoever plays best in Spring Training gets a roster spot, with Eduardo Nunez playing majority of utility infield.