December 5, 2013
Last Call for Paul
Re-signed 1B-R Paul Konerko to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. [12/4]
This is a symbolic signing, of course; a reward for 15 years of great service. Konerko is unlikely to play beyond the 2014 season, but coming back for another year gives the league and the fans a chance to send him off in proper fashion. Those who concern themselves more with the tactical than the sentimental might wonder how he'll fit on a roster that already features Adam Dunn, Jose Abreu, and Dayan Viciedo. Presumably, Konerko will act as a bat off the bench most days, with a focus on sparing Dunn the indignity of facing tough same-handed pitching, all the while acting as a mascot slash coach. Given how wonderful Konerko's career has been, you kinda hope the guy goes out with a big season.
Signed UTL-L Kelly Johnson to a one-year deal worth around $3 to $4 million. [12/3]
A good (and predictable) fit. Johnson is a versatile player who saw time across the infield and outfield last season for the Rays. His sound approach and left-handed pop should play up in Yankee Stadium, and his past experience within the division can't hurt. It's worth noting Johnson changed his hand slot, enabling him to get into the hitting position quicker, which is one of Kevin Long's go-to tricks when dealing with veteran hitters. Yet, even with those lowered hands, Johnson struggled in the second half, perhaps due to a minimized role. The good news for the Yankees is Johnson can work on a roster with Robinson Cano just as easily as he can without the star second baseman, so this is not a portent.
Signed LHP Wesley Wright to a one-year deal worth $1.4 million. [12/4]
That didn't take long. Wright was non-tendered by the Rays on Monday and found a new home within 48 hours. The small southpaw mostly relies on a sinker-slider combination to get batters out. He's best used as a left-handed specialist, despite some rough numbers against same-side hitters last season. Provided Rick Renteria is careful about who Wright faces, he should outperform his salary and could be a midseason trade candidate.