Could any of the recent DFA’s help the Yankees?


At some point over the next month or so, the Yankees are going to make a move or two (or more) to shore up some weak spots on their roster, though I don’t think we’ll be seeing any huge names come in or big trades go down. Instead it’ll be just a few tweaks like the Jerry Hairston and Eric Hinske pick ups last year. A trio of players were designated by assignment by their various teams yesterday, and on the surface they appear to be halfway decent fits for the Yanks, even if they’re just fliers.

Remember, when a player is DFA’d, his team has ten days to trade or release him, or seven days to place them on waivers. If he’s claimed off waivers, the new team takes on the entire contract, so that doesn’t happen very often. Obviously, a player has to be pretty unproductive to get cut by his team, so finding scrap heap pickups is never easy. Especially for a team like the Yanks, who are expected to contend each year.

Let’s run down each of these three recently DFA’d players to see if they fit into the Yanks’ plans at all…

Greg Dobbs, Phillies

Photo Credit: Steve Nesius, AP

As much as we want him to, Hinske is not going to magically walk through the door sometime in the next month. The Braves are too good and he’s too productive (.397 wOBA) for them to even consider moving the human World Series ticket. Instead, the Yankees are going to have to search for an approximation of Hinske’s abilities: a lefthanded hitter with pop and some defensive versatility. Juan Miranda can meet the offensive needs, but he’s relegated to first base and designated hitter. Colin Curtis has basically no power (.109 ISO in the minors), last night’s booming double notwithstanding.

The Phillies DFA’d Dobbs yesterday, a move that was a long time coming. As R.J. Anderson explained, he simply hasn’t produced since his breakout 2008 campaign. If the Yankees were to bring him in, it would be nothing more than throwing a bunch of garbage at the wall and seeing what sticks. Maybe he goes on a three month mini-tear and proves to be a valuable lefty bat off the bench. He’s experienced in that role, which does have value because pinch hitting isn’t as easy as it looks.

Essentially, Dobbs is a really poor man’s Hinske. Left swinger, can fake the four corner spots, all that jazz. He’s still owed roughly $767,000 the rest of the way, which is money the Yankees saved by cutting Chad Gaudin* in Spring Training. If you’re an optimist, you could say he’s worth a shot. If you’re a realist, then just forget it.

* It’s funny how that whole Gaudin thing worked out. The Yanks cut him and still had to pay him approximately $740,000 of his $2.95M contract, then ended up bringing him back for the pro-rated minimum once Oakland cut him. So in essence, the Yanks went from having Gaudin all year for $2.95M to having Gaudin for five-sixths of the season at roughly $1.08M. Gotta say that worked out well financially, no?

Photo Credit: Steven Senne, AP

Cla Meredith, Orioles

If you’re a reliever and the Orioles cut you, that’s a pretty good sign that you stink. Affectionately nicknamed The Claw, the side-arming Meredith developed a niche as a ROOGY with the Padres during his years in San Diego, but moving to the AL East hasn’t been too kind to him. Even focusing on just performance against righthanded batters this season, Meredith hasn’t missed any bats (4.22 K/9) and allowed a whole lot of fly balls (40.5%), which lead to lots of extra base hits (.320 ISO).

What Meredith does have going for him are minor league options and a dirt cheap salary (owed about $483,000 the rest of the season). I never have a problem with bringing in cheap relievers to stash in Triple-A and serve as depth, though I have to acknowledge that ROOGY’s aren’t exactly an important part of any bullpen. At the big league level, the Yanks already have a more useful version of Meredith in Gaudin, who can at least offer multiple innings.

Eric Patterson, Athletics

Photo Credit: Gail Burton, AP

Corey’s brother, the A’s cut ties with Patterson after getting 325 plate appearances of basically nothing (.299 wOBA) since acquiring him as part of the Rich Harden trade. For all intents and purposes, he brings two things to the table: defensive versatility (he can handle all three outfield spots and second base, and probably third if given the chance) and a little speed. Patterson was a hot shot prospect a few years ago, and those guys always seems to get a few more chances than everyone else.

For all intents and purposes, Patterson is a slightly better version of Ramiro Pena minus the ability play short. There’s nothing wrong with that, except that the Yankees already have four utility infielders on their 40-man roster likely to provide the same amount of nothing as Patterson. He’s probably the least interesting player in this post, from the Yanks’ perspective.

Again, waiver pickups are never great, but they don’t have to all be long-term pieces. If a player like Meredith provides 20 decent innings during the summer, then that’s an asset in a super tight division. The Yankees aren’t ones to shop in the clearance aisle, but it never hurts to look.

Categories : Players


  1. Rose says:

    Tom Tucker: And coming up next: Can bees think? A new study indicates that no, they cannot.

    • Rose says:

      Could any of the recent DFA’s help the Yankees?

      A new study indicates that no, they cannot.

      • Tom Tucker: Because of an accident today at the Quahog cable company, all television transmission will be out for an undetermined amount of time. Of course, no one can see this news program, so it doesn’t really matter what we say. I’m the lord Jesus Christ. I think I’ll go get drunk and beat up some midgets, how about you, Diane?
        Diane Simmons: Well, Tom, I just plain don’t like black people.

  2. Steve H says:

    As much as we want him to, Hinske is not going to magically walk through the door

    /Rick Pitino’d

  3. Steve H says:

    Whole bunch of “meh” on this list.

  4. steve s says:

    What about Edwin Encarnacion (also DFA’d a day or 2 ago) as Arod insurance? Head’s above Dobbs plus don’t see any need for Yanks to move on the guys that were listed; certainly there will be better (and relatively as cheap) options available by the trading deadline.

  5. Yankeefan91 Arod fan says:

    i Would love to have Cla Meredith if he doesn’t work out u send him back to the minors.

  6. Are there any members of the Algerian soccer team who can play baseball? We could look into them… THEY ALL JUST GOT DFA’D.

  7. In 2007-2008, Greg Dobbs showed great production as a pinch hitter, which is an underappreciated but real skill set. Not everyone can come off the bench cold and produce.

    Of course, that production totally disappeared in 2009, so… whatevs. His BABIP was superlow, but it was high in ’07/’08. Probably dumb luck. Take this as you will, or throw it away.

    Dobbs as PH:
    2007 – 57 PA, .292/.386/.521 (.907) .316 BABIP
    2008 – 67 PA, .355/.388/.532 (.920) .417 BABIP
    2009 – 60 PA, .167/.250/.241 (.491) .190 BABIP
    2010 – 29 PA, .040/.172/.080 (.252) .059 BABIP

    • yoo-boo says:

      if 2009 BABIP is at least 280 then I dont mind giving him a shot this year. He is no upgrade to Curtis.

    • Pete says:

      I agree that pinch hitting is a particular skill that is not entirely based on your overall ability to hit (and not for mental readiness/clutchiness reasons, but because you don’t get to see as many pitches as regular hitters, making them harder to hit). It is, however, a skill that can only be seen in enormously tiny samples, which do not lend themselves well towards statistical analysis or projection. In fact, as the numbers you showed indicate, a player with an unchanging skill level can have a ridiculous amount of variance based on nothing more than pure luck.

      So while it’s possible that Dobbs is a quality pinch hitter, there really isn’t any way for us to know that for sure, and even if we did, there could be no guarantee that he would actually produce in such a role, especially for an AL team that would not afford him nearly as many opportunities. The likelihood of a likely event occurring diminishes exponentially with the sample size. You could flip a coin ten times and get heads every time. To be able to realistically expect a 50-50 outcome, you’d probably need to flip it closer to 100 times, or more.

      Of course, you know all of this, I just wanted to make sure that hapless and unwary readers were not sucked into your SSS lair of Tommie’s Large Sample Size doom.

    • Rose says:

      Greg Dobbs showed great production as a pinch hitter, which is an underappreciated but real skill set.

      Where’s Matt Stairs these days?

  8. Mike says:

    No, No and uhh….No.

  9. Frank says:

    The Yanks should give Curtis a long look. This kid has a nice swing and despite the fact his numbers in the minors suggest he doesn’t hit for power, last night’s 400 ft. blast shows he does have power. Perhaps all he needs is some tweeking from Kevin Long.

    • I Voted for Kodos says:

      Last night was a sample of one at bat. It does nothing to indicate that he has untapped power potential. His minor league career, a sample of 1612 at bats, and his college career, a sample of 689 at bats, show that he does not have great power.

      I wouldn’t mind giving him some ABs, but one hit is in no way an indication of his power.

      • yoo-boo says:

        yeah… the dome is closed last night. 400 feet indoor means nothing.

        juan Miranda killed the ball at Tampa last year but he has struggled to stay with big club since then.

    • Could any of the recent DFA’s help the Yankees?
      By Mike Axisa

    • vin says:

      Perhaps… but in my mind, the more reasonable hope is that he can have Melky-type power. 10-15 HRs, 30 2Bs, a few triples. He did show significant slugging progress in the AFL last year, but in twice as many ABs in AAA this year he’s reverted back to his old form.

      I’m not sure what the Yanks have in this kid, but it’s probably worth a look since he’s already on the 40 man.

    • Pete says:

      Willy Mo Pena had a ton of power. He also had very little power.

  10. dygg says:

    What about Brian Bruney? Wait. What are we talking about?

  11. vin says:

    Eric Patterson was traded from the Cubs to the A’s for… Chad Gaudin. Spooky. Chad Gaudin is the Kevin Bacon of MLB.

  12. matt damon wayans says:

    I think AJ Burnett’s recent struggle justify designating him for assignment and signing Odalis Perez.

  13. So in essence, the Yanks went from having Gaudin all year for $2.95M to having Gaudin for five-sixths of the season at roughly $1.08M. Gotta say that worked out well financially, no?

    You assume Gaudin sticks around long enough to make it to a full 5/6ths of the season?

    I think 3/6ths or 4/6ths is more likely.

  14. Alex says:

    What about bringing back Brian Bruney? The Brewers just released him.


  15. yoo-boo says:

    Curtis lacks power? Interesting. His swing is good for 15-25 HR per season if healthy.

  16. Bill says:

    Nah, none of these guys are any good. Cashman will do better on the trade market. Maybe someone like Russell Branyan as a Hinske substitute. But the DFA guys are no good.

    • Pete says:

      I would say that all of them are at least a little good, since they managed to make it onto major league rosters, but yeah, I get your point. Nothing exactly jumps out at you

  17. yanksown2 says:

    Why not Renyel Pinto? He was just released by the Marlins is a actually a good pitcher.

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