Filling The Void
With the news of A-Rods latest injury that will keep him on the shelf until midseason at the least, the Yankees find themselves looking to fill yet another void on the field and in the lineup. Without a clear major league ready farmhand ready to step in the team will have to make a choice; roll the dice with a rookie or shop the FA market. Some may point to former pinstriper Brandon Laird, who was let go earlier this year, but with over 100 plate appearances that amounted to an OPS just north of .700 and a glove that was nothing to fawn over I can’t say I’d be kicking myself for letting him walk. The minors aren’t completely barren, and the FA market may provide a player or two that fit the bill so let’s take a look at who could land in the Bronx come next spring.
Of all the players you’ll read about here, Joseph is the least likely to make a stand, but he is the closest minor league player we have in the system. Corban made his way to Scranton in 2012 after playing the first month in Trenton. His average fell off a bit, but his power saw a sizeable increase; his HR total more than doubled his previous season total in only 327 AB’s in AAA while his doubles total stayed on pace. To be fair, Trenton has one of the biggest parks in the league, but with the porch on his side in the Bronx he could continue to flash a bit of pop. He did however, show quite the platoon split for Scranton; his OPS against lefties was a dismal .493 while he absolutely mashed right handers to the tune of a .961 OPS. Of the 40 XBH’s he had in AAA, only five of them came against southpaws, so he’d have to have a platoon partner if he couldn’t get that straightened out. Even so, a left handed bat like that could certainly play in YS3. The big drawback for Joseph, and quite possibly the deal breaker is that it’s been a while since he’s seen time at the hot corner. 2011 was the last time he took the field there, and it was only for a handful of games. The rest of his career has seen him at second or the DH spot, so he’d be an option to fill in for Robbie if the injury bug bites or he needs a day, but the opportunities look to be few and far. I’d put him in the trade bait category, but with Cano’s impending free agency the FO might just want to hold on to him in case the Boras client prices himself right out of the BX.
Once upon a time Adams was on the prospect radar, until he nearly ruined his ankle and spent the better part of two seasons recovering and then getting his game back. Some will recall Adams as the guy that was initially in on the Montero for Lee trade until Seattle pulled the rug out on the deal and ended up taking a package revolved around Justin Smoak of the Rangers system. Adams made his way back to Trenton in 2012 and hit for a .306/.385/.450/.834 slash line while spending the first part of the season manning second and then getting moved to third later in the year. This, coincidentally or not, was right around the time that Alex ended up on the DL again. Adams was then sent to Arizona as part of the Yankee squad to participate in the fall leagues to get some more work in, where he continued to hit and ended his stint in the desert with a .912 OPS. With limited experience at the upper levels, they may not want to put all their money on Adams to run the hot corner in Alex’s place, but he isn’t far away. He hasn’t shown a ton of power in Trenton but he does take his fair share of walks and won’t strike out a ton. He’s also got a decent glove and was said to be making the transition to third well.
As I type this, it’s been reported that Keppinger has inked a three year deal with the White Sox. From what I had read the Yanks were willing to go two years, so the third year put them out. Bollocks.
It’s difficult not to have an initial emotional reaction when this guys name and the Yankees are mentioned in the same sentence. His incessant whining to the umpires is bad enough, and add in his stupid bat waggle and the fact that I’d be a afraid to see what’s under that goatee and it’s enough to send me running, tearing my hair out at the roots. With that stuff aside and the numbers in front of me, I can’t say that Youk on a one year deal would be a bad thing. He takes his walks, won’t strike out all day and hits for a bit of pop. On the other hand, he fell off quite a bit last year and has been prone to time on the DL, so getting his time at the DH spot and days off might be necessary. He can also man first base, which gives us the backup that we lost in Swisher. If he could get back to an OPS+ in the realm of 120 while fielding a decent glove I’d be in. It might take a daily cocktail of Dramamine, Valium and Makers Mark to get through it, but then again, I’ve done worse.
Chavez has seen limited playing time in pinstripes the last two years, filling the hot corner and standing in as a left handed bat with some pop. We all know Chavez won’t be able to man the position ever day, but he could serve as a solid platoon player that can also play both corners. 2012 was a solid campaign for Chavez that saw him put up a 126 OPS+, hitting 16 HR’s; his hot streak kept the team running down the stretch, and while he did cool off he was a big part of us keeping pace with the pesky Showalters. His playing time increased quite a bit going from 2011-12, and if he could give us 250-300 AB’s I’d sign up for that in a minute. His defense is still very solid and given regular rest he could provide enough of a boost with his bat to run him out there and not sacrifice overall production in a major way.