Yankees chatting with Padres in search of infield depth
General managers Brian Cashman and Josh Byrnes have already combined for one trade this offseason: a November swap that sent minor-league reliever Ben Paullus to San Diego for minor-league infielder Dean Anna, who was deemed expendable when the Padres faced a 40-man roster crunch.
Now, Cashman has bigger things on his mind. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reported on Monday night that the Yankees would like to obtain a major-league infielder from the Padres, and they might have their sights set on Logan Forsythe.
Morosi pointed out in a subsequent tweet that the Yankees lack the prospect firepower to pry Chase Headley away, but Byrnes has other chips that he might be more willing to deal. Forsythe is blocked by Jedd Gyorko at the keystone and by Headley at the hot corner, the two positions he played most often in the minors. If the Padres were to deal the 27-year-old, they could make do with Alexi Amarista as their primary middle-infield reserve. Former 10th-overall pick Cory Spangenberg, a Factor on the Farm in Jason Parks’ list of the team’s top prospects, is another candidate to see backup duty at some point this season.
Forsythe, a right-handed hitter, would offer the Yankees a complement to Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts, who both bat from the left side. He has done well in 249 big-league plate appearances against southpaws—compiling a .292 True Average—but has been overmatched by fellow righties, who have held him to a .227 TAv in 513 trips to the box.
With two years and 113 days of big-league service time, Forsythe fell nine days short of the 2.122 cutoff for Super Two arbitration eligibility. He earned $499,000 last year and will get only a modest raise in 2014.
At least five teams have shown interest in Mark Reynolds
Power hitters, regardless of their warts, are usually in demand. It should come as no surprise, then, that Mark Reynolds is among the most popular position players left on the market.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Reynolds’ agent, Jeff Borris, is fielding calls from a handful of clubs after his client slugged 21 homers in 504 plate appearances split between the Indians and Yankees last season. The Bombers are battling the Nationals, Orioles, Rangers, and Twins in their effort to bring Reynolds back.
Reynolds bookended a red-hot April and a solid finish with one of the worst slumps endured by any major-league hitter last year. From June 3 through August 23, he went 27-for-166—good for a .163/.272/.223 triple-slash line padded by four extra-base hits and depressed by 70 strikeouts. During that stretch, Reynolds made 191 trips to the plate, drove in only 11 runs, and scored only 12.
But clubs can live with ruts like that if they come packaged with torrid stretches like the .299/.371/.664 performance Reynolds delivered between April 3 and May 9. The 30-year-old can play first and third base, the former much better than the latter. On the other hand, Reynolds is not as well suited for platoon work as fellow free agent Jeff Baker, because he has shown no discernible split over the course of his career, assembling identical .265 TAvs against both lefties and righties.
If he were to return to New York, Reynolds could share hot-corner duties with the left-handed-hitting Kelly Johnson and spell Mark Teixeira at first base if the injury bug strikes again. The Rangers could offer a timeshare with Mitch Moreland at first base or designated hitter, assuming they let Baker sign elsewhere, while the Orioles might view Reynolds as insurance for Manny Machado, who is rehabbing a knee injury. With no DH in their lineup, the Nationals would likely have Reynolds compete with Tyler Moore for backup duties at first base.
Among the five teams Heyman mentioned, Reynolds’ best shot to emerge with significant playing time is with the Twins. Manager Ron Gardenhire currently has Chris Herrmann penciled in as his DH, though Josh Willingham could also see time in that slot if his left knee—which cost him a month and a half in 2013—continues to bark.
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