Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Examining Possible Late Offseason Additions

It's a matter of weeks, not months before Spring Training begins. To this point, the Yankees are the only team that has not signed a free agent to a major league deal. The Yankees have upgraded through trades, but it is still a fun trivia fact. The days when the Yankees staked a claim on the top tier free agents are gone. The Yankees roster is almost set, but there are still some free agents that could end up with the Yankees as Spring Training Approaches Let's take a look at some players who could make sense for the Yankees.

Third Baseman - Brian Cashman has stated that the current plan is to use Starlin Castro as the backup third baseman allowing them to use the 25th roster spot as a rotating spot as needed. Despite that if Castro doesn't seem to be up to snuff defensively the Yankees could take a look at the market.

Pedro Alvarez - Pedro started as a third baseman, but he ended up moving across the diamond. He probably could still play third a few times a week and would also be a real backup first baseman. Alvarez is a power hitter but doesn't hit for average and isn't solid defensively but he's worth looking into.

Juan Uribe - After a few solid years as a starter Uribe has turned into an above average backup middle infielder. Uribe is still likely looking at a guaranteed deal, but a one-year deal at around $2 million for a true back-up at 2B, 3B and emergency at SS is something Hal would approve of.

Starting Pitcher - The Yankees gave up some depth when they traded Adam Warren. The pitching depth chart is currently seven deep by my count, but more depth is never a bad thing.

Cliff Lee - Lee has stated that he will only continue playing in the perfect opportunity. With not too many teams knocking on his door the perfect opportunity may be the one that wants him. Lee turned down the Yankees once before; his wife didn't like the way Yankees fans treated her in the 2009 World Series but perhaps time heals those wounds. Lee would likely only cost a minor league deal.

Tim Lincecum - The 2x Cy Young winner is likely moving on from the San Francisco Giants this year and is scheduled to throw for interested teams this month. He wants to remain a starter, but I think his velocity is more likely to rebound in the bullpen. It will be interesting to see how he pitches in the showcase and that could determine whether or not he gets a minor league or major league deal.

Mat Latos - Latos is 28 and had good years in 2013 and 2014. Last year he was terrible for three different teams and has perceived attitude issues. He cost himself a lot of money and years with his play in 2015, but some team will still likely take a shot on him as a one-year deal. He is going to be looking for a guaranteed rotation spot which is something the Yankees cannot provide unless a starter goes down with an injury. Latos may be unsigned into Spring Training to wait for an opportunity.

Chad Billingsley - It seems like the past few years the Yankees have been connected to Billingsley regardless of actual interest. Billingsley spent most of the year in Triple-A and hasn't pitched more than 37 innings since 2012. There is no harm in poking around on him, though.

Relief Pitcher

Tyler Clippard - The Yankees do a good job of churning out serviceable middle relievers. Last year the Yankees had eight homegrown relievers pitch out of the bullpen. They aren't necessarily looking for an upgrade but if the Yankees have any concerns about stability they could be addressed by reuniting with Clippard on a one-year deal with an option.

Greg Holland - Holland would be an interesting candidate to sign to a Major League deal as he would not help the Yankees this year. That would be a fun piece of trivia. Holland is currently recovering from Tommy John Surgery and will miss the entire 2016 season. Like Jon Lieber and David Aardsma he is a candidate for a two-year deal in the hopes he contributes in 2017.

Of the players on this list the only player, I'd like for the Yankees to sign is Holland only because he was still his dominant self until Tommy John surgery. If the Yankees sign anyone else this season, it probably means the injury bug struck again.

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