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Yankees hot stove: Are any of the big name free agents available worth pursuing for New York?


The Yankees' pitchers and catchers report to spring training a week from Friday, making it likely that the team has signed nearly all the players they intend to give a look to in camp. Two big names remain on the free agent market in Ubaldo Jimenez and Stephen Drew, but is either one worth a look by the Yankees at this stage? Pitching is one place where it is nearly impossible to have too much depth and the Yankees' infield leaves a lot to be desired on paper. Would either player represent enough of an upgrade to be worth whatever their price tags are at this stage?

The infield picture heading into spring training remains a huge question mark at nearly every position. It's uncertain what kind of production the Yankees can get from Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira after returning from serious surgeries. Can both of them stay on the field after missing nearly all of 2013? The departure of Robinson Cano and the suspension of Alex Rodriguez have left gaping holes at second and third base with exactly zero desirable backup options. With Stephen Drew still on the open market, the Yankees could potentially pick him up as a last minute acquisition before the team gathers in Tampa. Drew is normally a shortstop but has been rumored to be willing to play elsewhere in the infield if necessary. Even his ugly platoon splits and concerning numbers away from Fenway Park might be palatable as another option for an incredibly shaky infield. The difference between Drew and Kelly Johnson or Brian Roberts may very well only end up being their salary, but having another option in place before the likes of Eduardo Nunez or Brendan Ryan need to be everyday players doesn't sound so bad as an insurance policy.

Coming out on top in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes definitely gave the Yankees a bit more excitement in their pitching rotation, but the fifth starter spot is still up for grabs. If the team was hoping to fill it with someone who has a little more upside than David Phelps without Michael Pineda's labrum fears, they could possibly snag Ubaldo Jimenez off the market before pitchers and catchers report next week. Jimenez certainly doesn't come without question marks of his own after failing to be the pitcher he was before the Rockies traded him to the Indians after a dominating season in 2010. He did perform well down the stretch for Cleveland last season on their way to a wild card berth, but the competition wasn't exactly top tier over that final stretch. His price would have to be much lower than it was when free agency began this winter for it to make sense for the Yankees to get involved, but he could be an intriguing option if the price happened to be right. If everything pans out, Jimenez would only have to slot into the back of the rotation, thus minimizing how good he'd have to be to be worth the risk. If pitching is the key to the kingdom of the playoffs, the Yankees are betting a lot on their current cards. It might not be a bad idea to add another option to that mix if they think Jimenez is more the pitcher he was at the end of last season or the pitcher he had been for a while prior to that.

It's possible that Drew and Jimenez just aren't in the Yankees' price range for upgrades this late in the game and that the team is comfortable with the players they have heading to Florida. At this point it seems unlikely that the Yankees plan on making any kind of big move before spring training begins, but is that actually the correct course of action? Do you feel comfortable with the roster as it is currently constructed, or do you think you'd rest a little easier if there was another move or two made before the team begins Grapefruit League play in Tampa?