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January 28, 2010
Minor Moves in the AL
Designated RHP Dennis Sarfate for assignment. [1/27]
This was to make room for Miguel Tejada on the 40-man; if the deal to Mark Hendrickson becomes official once he passes a physical, there's going to be another cut to come. The O's aren't yet cutting to the bone as far as being entirely out of guys they can trim without too much fear of a waiver claim; take Matt Albers or Armando Gabino, for example.
Agreed to terms with OF-L Jeremy Hermida on a one-year, $3.345 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/26]
Acquired CF-R Greg Golson from the Rangers for 1B/3B-L Mitch Hilligoss. [1/26]
Signed OF-S Randy Winn to a one-year, $2 million deal. [1/28]
Signing Winn seems as if it fills up the Yankees' outfield to the brim: beyond purportedly burning the bridge to a renewed engagement with Johnny Damon, it should mean that Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner are set to get the majority of the playing time. Winn potentially represents Granderson's platoon partner in left or center. Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffman remains in the mix as well for the fifth outfielder, although he stands to have to fend off the recently added Golson and show some pop at the plate plus playability in center. It's not exactly an epic battle, but the toolsy Golson can run and fly to the gaps, and his upside is fifth outfielder, while Hoffman's may be Triple-A all-star.
In itself, the idea that the Yankees might carry youngsters like Golson or Hoffman, Ramiro Pena, and Francisco Cervelli as three of their four bench players makes for an interesting development, since it would mean the Bombers are (initially) going cheap as far as who's on their bench. That said, I wouldn't necessarily buy that's your Yankees bench in September, because even if they stand pat between now and Opening Day, I'd expect a few in-season add-ons, not unlike last season's decision to bring in Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston Jr. The fact that jobs would go to Hoffman/Golson, Pena, and Cervelli doesn't represent endorsements of them as prospects; the current grouping of 10 veterans ahead of them figure to be locked into near-everyday play with a regularity Ralph Houk would admire, with Granderson/Winn/Gardner representing the moving part. If Pena gets more than 20 starts at any position, something will have gone badly wrong. Similarly, if Hoffman or Golson get many more than 30 total in the outfield, I'd suspect the entire Yankees brass got lost on a three-hour tour out of Tampa, perhaps leaving a groundskeeper temporarily in charge or something.
Is Winn up to the challenge? He's coming off of an awful year, with a .248 EqA that reflects a season where his only real stroke of bad luck was a complete implosion of his HR/FB rate. His stolen-base numbers from the last three years are nice (56 steals against seven times caught), and he's been worth about five runs on the bases in each of the last two seasons. So that's handy, and he's been a defensive asset in both corners, and good work in center doesn't seem too unlikely, despite limited exposure recently.
There seem to be two major complaints. First, he doesn't seem like the ideal platoon partner for Granderson if you only look at his ghastly performance against southpaws last season (.158/.184/.200), but he did hit .322/.372/.504 against lefties in 2007-08. Single-season implosions against lefties for an everyday player happen (many a Strat league was no doubt appalled by Jeff Bagwell's '97 slip, for example), but Winn's implosion last season was especially ugly. Second, there's the question of whether or not Winn's going to adapt all that effectively to being a bench player, having been an everyday guy for the last decade.
Now, maybe both of those things work out, and maybe not. But if they do, Winn might make a decent single-season fourth outfielder, and live up to the late-career value his top PECOTA comp, Stan Javier, delivered. He might also be be a total flop, but if anyone can afford to blow $2 million finding out, it's the Yankees. And given the alternatives on hand, we know this isn't really the bench the Yankees seem all that likely to employ heading into the stretch. If they have to add an outfielder to their shopping list, they can afford it.
Traded CF-R Greg Golson to the Yankees for 1B/3B-L Mitch Hilligoss. [1/26]
The nicest thing you can say is that Hilligoss doesn't have to be on the 40-man, and it might be nicer to have him around than getting nothing whatsoever for discarding Golson.