Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal recently suggested the Yankees might be interested in a super utility player. As many fans know, the Yankees have been toying with the idea of a six-man rotation. With Ivan Nova on the mend and Adam Warren making a name for himself, having six guys in the pitching staff might be a good idea. But that would also cost the Yankees a roster spot. If the Yankees had someone like Martin Prado who could play virtually any position, it would make Joe Girardi's life a lot easier if he decides to go with the six-man rotation. Here are some players they could target:
Ben Zobrist, Oakland A's
Starting with the obvious choice, the game's quintessential utility player. He's even a switch hitter, which means pitching and catching might literally be the only things he can't do. A free agent after this season at age 34, he won't require a massive prospect haul. But with other teams sure to be in the mix for his services, it might get tough. Knowing Billy Beane, it will probably come down to whichever team has a prospect he sets his mind on. As Ricardo Rincon showed us in Moneyball, Beane usually gets his guy.
Mike Aviles, Cleveland Indians
After Zobrist the market gets significantly less exciting, and for good reason. Most utility players aren't established at one position because they lacked the ability to lock one position down. Aviles, like Zobrist, has experience everywhere except catcher and pitcher. He offers some pop in his bat, with a career ISO of .124. Unfortunately, a low walk rate and below average plate discipline have plagued him throughout his career, although his O-Swing% is down this year. With Cleveland's SS prospect Francisco Lindor banging on the door, the righty Aviles may be on the trading block very soon.
Jordy Mercer, Pittsburgh Pirates
In his first season outside of South Korea, Jung Ho Kang has shown that in addition to liking the United States of America, he can contend with its pitching as well. Naming Kang the starting shortstop essentially makes Mercer the odd man out, as the Pirates have a full infield. While he has only played two innings in the outfield, he has played at every infield position. In addition, his extremely pronounced lefty/righty splits fit in well with the lefty-dominated Yankees. While Mercer might be a very good fit for the Yankees, he will be tough to land, as the Pirates will be contenders come September. The Yankees would certainly have to get creative to execute a trade for Jordy Mercer.
Some honorable mentions include Gordon Beckham of the White Sox and Andrew Romine of the Tigers. Based on the current Yankees roster, a right-handed hitter would certainly be preferable. If the Yankees can land someone with experience at shortstop, they could afford to send Stephen Drew packing, which would certainly make the fanbase very happy. Of course, the Yankees will have to ask themselves how much better their target player is than current players like Drew or Jose Pirela.
At the end of the day, the Yankees will only really need a super-utility player if they decide to go to a six-man rotation. If Ivan Nova pulls rank on Adam Warren and the Yankees send Warren to the bullpen, the Yankees would kill two birds with one stone. After the David Carpenter debacle, the Yankees are also known to be looking for right-handed relievers. Regardless of how the rotation issue goes, it should be an interesting summer in the Yankees' front office.