January 3, 2013
Thursday, January 3
It’s official: Edwin Jackson finally has a multi-year contract with his signature on it. But apart from the Cubs introducing their new starter and the Rays coming to terms with their ace, Wednesday brought little action. Today’s Roundup begins with notes on two American League East teams that have been relatively quiet this winter, compared to their wheeling-and-dealing rivals.
Diaz is, as the headline noted, a right-handed hitter, and the Yankees needed at least one to complement their all-lefty outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Ichiro Suzuki. But, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, general manager Brian Cashman is unsatisfied with the Diaz pickup, implying that at least one more platoon addition is in the offing.
Sherman did not speculate on Cashman’s shortlist, but he explicitly eliminated Delmon Young, who is having a difficult time generating interest despite spending the 2012 season as the number-five hitter for the American League pennant winners. The 27-year-old served mostly as the Tigers’ designated hitter, making only 31 regular-season appearances in left field—and anyone wondering why got a taste of his ineptitude in Game One of the World Series. In addition to poor fielding skills, Sherman also mentioned Young’s drunken, anti-Semitic rant near the team’s Manhattan hotel as a reason for his exclusion from Cashman’s search. Young’s .281 career TAv against left-handed pitching simply isn’t enough to surmount that baggage.
MLB.com’s Bernie Pleskoff speculated that the Indians could be a fit for Young, and a handful of teams should come calling in the coming weeks. The Yankees, too, have several options remaining to fill or compete for the fifth-outfielder gig. Scott Hairston is the biggest name of the bunch, and Sherman’s colleague, Kevin Kernan, noted that Cashman is still courting the ex-Met in the wake of the Diaz signing. The 32-year-old Hairston, who logged a .315 TAv versus lefties in 2012, might be the only relevant free agent that would require a guaranteed major-league job, but a two-year offer from a competitor might also price him out of New York’s budget.
Assuming that the Yankees stick to one-year or minor-league pacts, and that this rigidity leads Hairston to sign elsewhere, Cashman’s backup plans could include the likes of Jeff Baker and Austin Kearns. They would be logical targets if Cashman is looking for quantity over quality, but either would likely be the underdog in a spring training battle if Diaz is healthy. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman mentioned Baker as an option for the Yankees a couple of weeks ago, and Kearns played in 36 games for New York in 2010.