According to Ken Davidoff and Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have signed former Tigers and Athletics infielder Scott Sizemore to a minor league deal. The 29-year-old had his best season in 2011, when he hit.245/.342/.399 with 22 doubles, 11 homers, a 109 wRC+, and 1.6 fWAR. Unfortunately, Sizemore caught Grady Sizemore Syndrome (no relation) and has missed almost all of the last two seasons with a torn ACL in his left knee (which he re-tore last April), hence his availability. The bright side is that when healthy, he can play both second and third base, two obvious holes in the Yankees' infield. Joel Sherman reported that Sizemore has opt-out clauses Basically, Sizemore joins with Brian Roberts in the Yankees' goal to sign ALL the questionable infielders!
Perhaps more relevant than the Sizemore signing is the news from Rosenthal that the Yankees do not plan on adding any infielders on major league contracts, ruling out signing more legitimate options like Stephen Drew, Michael Young, and Mark Reynolds:
Per source, #Yankees most likely will NOT add another infielder on major-league deal. That would eliminate Michael Young, Stephen Drew, etc.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 12, 2014
This new jibes with Mark Feinsand's report that the Yankees have only offered Reynolds a minor league deal, which he is unlikely to accept. Instead, it looks like the Yankees will head into Spring Training with any more minor league signings they might make in addition to Sizemore, Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Dean Anna, Corban Joseph, and Eduardo Nunez. Rosenthal also noted that they signed 26-year-old switch-hitting infielder Yangervis Solarte to a minor league deal to compete with the aforementioned players.
Like Anna, Solarte has never played in the major leagues and was playing in the Pacific Coast League last year, where he hit .276/.323/.403 with an 89 wRC+ for the Texas Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock. It's not exactly inspiring that his offense wasn't impressive even in the hitter-friendly PCL, but it's whatever; most likely, Solarte will serve as organizational depth and Anna figures to get more of a look than him. Lone Star Ball's Adam Morris did have this to say about Solarte:
So... there's that, I guess.
It's kind of disheartening to learn that the Yankees won't pursue any more major infielders, even though the biggest names have serious flaws. (Young is over the hill, Reynolds and Young are butchers at third, and Drew has unnerving home/road splits away from the Green Monster and Fenway Park.) Instead, the Yankees will probably gamble that one of Roberts or Sizemore stays healthy and productive, and that Johnson's lefty swing suits Yankee Stadium well enough to boost his OPS+ over 100 for the first time since 2010 (he's mostly hovered around league average). Joseph's lefty bat also showed some promise in Triple-A from 2012-13 prior to his season-ending shoulder surgery in June last year, so perhaps he can make an impact at the major league level. Maybe Anna's impressive PCL numbers can translate somewhat to the majors more than suspected. Maybe Nunez won't be godawful again.
Regrettably, there are just a ton of question marks around the infield, and that's not even getting into Derek Jeter's ankle and defense, Brendan Ryan's bat, and Mark Teixeira's wrist. It is what it is. I'm not going to write the entire offseason off as a failure because of these holes since they did make serious improvements to the lineup with Brian McCann over Stewvelli and Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran over Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells. Signing Masahiro Tanaka would give a big boost to the starting rotation though, so they better get on that. The pitching staff will just have to make do with mystery men at third and second.
Scott Sizemore's minor lge deal with #Yankees has May 1 and Aug 1 outs if he is not in majors.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 12, 2014
- Yankees Rumors: New York close to signing Scott Sizemore
- Yankees Top Moments Tournament Winner: Lou Gehrig's "Luckiest Man" speech
- Yankees sign reliever Robert Coello to minor league deal
- Preparing the Yankees for a hypothetical expansion draft
- Alex Rodriguez suspension: Is Plan 189 back on or still possible?