We knew the Yankees were going to be looking for an outfielder and possibly a catcher at this year’s Winter Meetings, but we didn’t expect the festivities to begin with the announcement that they’d be needing a third baseman as well. That’s exactly what happened when the team confirmed that Alex Rodriguez will miss 4-6 months following hip surgery in January, and the bulk of Yankee related rumors since then have focused on third base. We’ve been covering all of those rumors in real time, and we spent some time talking about a number of them on IIATMS Radio last night, but for your convenience, here’s a quick look at the potential acquisitions the Yankees are being linked to the most.
Eric Chavez: Obviously a guy Yankee fans are familiar with, the Yankees did meet with Chavez’s agent yesterday, and a reunion would seem to make perfect sense for both sides at this point. The infamously fragile Chavez was something of a godsend for the Yankees last season, hitting righties to the tune of .299/.366/.545 while getting extra playing time due to injuries to A-Rod and Brett Gardner. What’s more, he managed to go the entire season without spending a single day on the DL himself, which is something of a legitimate miracle. The Yankees obviously couldn’t count on a second straight year of that sort of health and production, but given that Chavez still won’t require anything more than a cheap one year contract and that the organization clearly likes having him, I don’t see any reason to expect any real objections to another season with Chavez in pinstrhttp://itsabout.server304.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpipes.
Jeff Keppinger: Of everyone else on the market, the Yankees have probably been most aggressively linked to Keppinger, with the most recent word being that the Yankees interest is very strong. Keppinger is a lefty masher who can be used as a body all around the infield if need be, so he makes a ton of sense for most teams looking for infielders, even if he has to be signed to a (cheapish) multi-year contract. In addition to being able to fill in at third base on an interim basis, Keppinger would be ideal in the super-sub role the Yankees were looking to fill before the A-Rod news came out, so it’s no surprise they’re making an aggressive push for his services.
Stephen Drew: Another player the Yankees were said to be interested in some time ago, Drew also seems like one of the poorer fits for their needs. The problem? He’s a shortstop, which should provide him with plenty of opportunities around the league if he’s willing to wait for them.Maybe it’s possible that the Yankees can convince him to sign on for a reduced role with them, but it’s more likely than not that he’ll have the chance to be a starting shortstop somewhere else if that’s what he wants.
Mark Reynolds: I have no idea how this became a thing, but sometime between Monday and now people seriously started talking about Reynolds being the answer for the Yankkes at third. There’s just one minor problem: he can’t play third base. Like, at all. And while he’s a good offensive player with prodigious power and a good eye (and a pile of strikeouts that would impress Curtis Granderson on first worst day, of course), it’s not nearly enough to make up for how badly he’s played at the hot corner since coming to Baltimore, at least. Reynolds might actually be an option for the Yankees if they want him to be their primary DH, but he should be a non-starter at third.
Kevin Youkilis: And then there’s Youk. Everyone’s least favorite former Bostonite is a free agent this winter, and yesterday Brian Cashman confirmed that he had checked in on Youkilis. What’s more, Youk is apparently willing to accept a one year deal, though only if it comes with a premium salary, so he could be squeezed into the team’s budget plans fairly easily. The question, though, is whether or not Youkilis is really worth that. He’s had a lot of trouble staying healthy of late, not playing in 140 games since the 2008 season, and his performance has slipped as well. That, by the way, includes a laughably bad .177/.266/.291 slash line on the road last year, as well as a modest .220/.316/.377 line against right-handed pitchers, and I feel like his reputation is far outpacing his talent at this point.
There are other possibilities for the Yankees as well, obviously, but these are the ones that are generating the noise right now. Personally I think my preference would be a platoon of Chavez and Keppinger, with the latter doubling as a utility infielder when he’s not playing third, but there’s positive aspects to all of these guys. Well, except for Reynolds anyway.