Aurilia for the bench?

The Yankees need a backup-infielder as Cody Ransom and Angel Berroa are essentially anomalies. RAB has thrown out two very solid ideas for utility players, noting the presence of Mark Grudzielanek, who is an undervalued commodity, as well as Ray Durham, who was one of the better offensive 2B just a few years ago. Now, while I like these options, I’m also a fan of another near-40 guy—Rich Aurilia.

Aurilia is a righty and had a solid 2008 campaign, plus he hit lefties exceptionally well (.321/.377/.526). Therefore, his bat could still be very helpful. Furthermore, he’s versatile defensively, a plus for a team that is in need of defensive help at SS, 2B and 3B. Aurilia can actually play 1B, SS, 2B and 3B, although he didn’t see time at SS last year. While he was slightly below average at each position in ’08, he’d probably offer a defensive upgrade at SS and 3B, depending on how A-Rod and Jeter play. Or, of course, the defense would be a wash, as I doubt he’d be worse than either player, especially if he’s only playing part-time. If Cano steps up and delivers defensively in 2009, that’s fine, Aurilia can play there too and offer an occasional day off (against a lefty, maybe).

I think he’d be a solid addition. The Giants offered him a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training, so maybe if the Yankees offered him a role on the bench, guaranteed, he’d be open to an east coast trip (he’s a Brooklyn native, actually). The team has the pieces to win, but a guy like Aurilia could prove to be a key cog in ’09.

6 thoughts on “Aurilia for the bench?

  1. Moshe Mandel

    I would be happy with any of the three, although I would probably prefer Grudz for his consistency and lack of real injury concerns.

  2. Tripp

    Yeah, I agree with Moshe, any of those three would be a good fit; however, offer a major league K would mean we’d have to DFA someone on the 40….not sure that would be worth it.

  3. Miles Roche

    Chris, A-Rod is considered a mediocre defender at 3d? I was under the impression that he’s one of the supreme defenders at 3d base.
    How’s his UZR compared to his fellow 3d baseman? Cuz we all know he’s got a heckuvan arm, probably the best in baseball at his position. . .

    • Chris H.

      Yea, his arm is strong but his range has been a tick below average according to the stuff I looked at on FanGraphs.

  4. EJ Fagan

    Arod’s defensive statistics have mostly stabilized at +/- 5 runs (depending upon the system that you use) at 3rd base. He’s basically average according to the numbers.

    Good call Chris. Aurilia would be a better version of Ransom.

    • Chris H.

      Thanks, EJ. He’d be useful.

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