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Yankees Free Agent Target: Michael Morse

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At the age of 31, Michael Morse had the worst year of his career, but that could only mean that he can be had for cheaper and might be in line for a comeback in 2014. Morse could actually end up filling multiple roles for the Yankees next year, if he's signed on a one-year deal.

If the Yankees are looking for someone who can hit lefties off the bench, Morse could be that guy. The right-hander has a 121 wRC+ against southpaws in his career. Over nine seasons he has hit .281/.334/.473 (119 wRC+), though he strikes out a lot (22.4%) and walks too seldom (6%). He's shown 30+ home run potential in 2011, but is more likely to hit around 15 a season.

Morse could also serve as a power-hitting designated hitter against left-handed pitching, while Derek Jeter takes the field. The Yankees could use the DH spot as a revolving door against right-handed pitchers, but keep Morse in permanently against lefties.

Besides DH, he has the ability to fill in at a few positions. He carries the reputation as a bad corner outfielder, but his career -23 runs pales in comparison to the horrendous -64 runs that Raul Ibanez is responsible for. But aside from an atrocious 2013 in the outfield (-16 DRS), he's mostly hovered around replacement-level. Comparing someone's defensive abilities with Raul Ibanez doesn't say much for their skills, but if the Yankees made it through 651 innings of Ibanez, they can survive having Morse in there.

He can also play some first base, though he's not that great there. In 2011, the one season where he was a full-time first baseman, Morse had a -7 DRS. Before then and since then he's really only been a backup. With Mark Teixeira coming back from wrist surgery, the Yankees need someone who can play when Tex needs time off. Morse would provide power and flexibility as an adequate replacement.

If you're not sure he'd be a great fit, you'll be happy to know that Morse is actually better at going the opposite way (186 wRC+) than pulling the ball (139 wRC+), so despite his right-handed swing, he could still work out great in Yankee Stadium.

The only thing the Yankees have to be wary of is the fact that he has also had trouble with his wrist. He dealt with left wrist soreness and inflammation, culminating in offseason surgery to remove a bone spur. That's obviously not as serious as a torn tendon sheath, but it's something to look out for. He also suffered from injuries to his legs that potentially sapped him of his hitting ability.

If the Yankees sign him to a $4 million salary with incentives based on plate appearances, it could be very enticing to a player who is trying to show that he's healthy and not on the decline. A strong year could make him a lot and lead him into a better position come next offseason. With all the players that will need rest, Morse will likely get plenty of playing time.

He's not going to get a starting job from anyone, so this could be one of the best offers he gets. As long as he passes all his physicals, the Yankees should take the chance that he's healthy and ready to produce when they need him.

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