I’m sure Brian Cashman was hoping that his team would be in better shape through mid-August, but the Yankees have seen their fair share of struggles and successes, remaining just 5.5 games behind in the Wild Card race. With signs of offensive life starting to spring up, the Yankees might actually have a good run in them as they face off against a ton of AL East teams over the next month and a half.
Cashman did promise us that he’d keep his eyes open in August for upgrades, and I’d say there are quite a few intriguing names already available.
Paul Konerko- Placed on revocable waivers as of yesterday. The right-handed first baseman would be a good platoon compliment to Lyle Overbay, as Konerko has continued to hit left-handed pitching for a .990 OPS in 2013, but has been embarrassed by righies. At 37 years old, the struggling veteran remains just one year removed from a 132 wRC+ season. Konerko has a little more than $3 million remaining on his 2013 contract, and will be a free agent in the upcoming offseason.
Justin Morneau- Also currently on revocable waivers. Since the new ballpark in Minnesota and a number of injuries, Morneau has seen a massive power reduction, but would moving the one time MVP winner to one of the most hitter friendly parks help him? How about playing him against strictly right-handed pitchers? As another left-handed first baseman, the Yankees would likely look at Morneau as a left-handed DH with Travis Hafner on the DL for the foreseeable future. Morneau also has more than $3 million remaining on his 2013 contract, and will be a free agent in November.
Mark Reynolds- On release waivers as of Monday. Reynolds has been bad this season, sporting just a .680 OPS through 384 plate appearances with the Indians. The right-handed hitter does sport some interesting splits though, as he’s posted a 111 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers, and offers versatility at both first base and third base. Reynolds could platoon first base along with Lyle Overbay, as well as give Alex Rodriguez days off at third base. Considering that he’ll likely be released soon, the cost won’t be too high. Considering his impending release, It looks like the Yankees already had the chance to acquire him and passed on it.
Manny Ramirez- Released by the Rangers yesterday. To be honest, if Ramirez didn’t have the star status he probably wouldn’t get a second look, but the right-handed hitter is only a handful of years removed from being one of the best hitters in baseball. After producing just a .698 OPS in the PCL, the Yankees could take a flier on the 41 year old, hoping that the New York spotlight might reignite the veteran outfielder.
Adam Dunn- Cleared waivers. If the White Sox want to trade Dunn, they’ll have to eat some money. Unlike the other players listed, Dunn is under contract until the end of the 2014 season, and his $15 million salary next season isn’t cheap for a 34 year old who’s batted just .198 over the last three seasons. With that said, Dunn put up a 115 wRC+ in 2012 and a 116 wRC+ in 2013. Dunn also has some versatility as a first baseman, outfielder, and designated hitter. If the White Sox were to eat enough money, he would be viewed as a highly effective left-handed platoon player, something the Yankees love. He owns a career 132 wRC+ against right-handers, which looks very enticing for Yankee Stadium.
Michael Young- Cleared waivers. The Yankees tried to acquire Young at the trade deadline, but failed. He fits the positions of need, but his bat isn’t all that impressive. Sure, he’s an upgrade over Jayson Nix offensively, but a step down defensively. Young would be an interesting fit as a utility player, but I don’t see him making enough of an offensive impact for the Yankees to go out of their way to acquire him.