A few dozen new players hit free agency yesterday, which has led many of our imaginations to run wild. Already we’ve received a number of emails about these names, some more common than others. To help answer all of these questions at once, I’ll run down some of the more prominent new free agents. If one of them is particularly interesting we might do a more elaborate write-up. But for now, here are the capsules.
Jeremy Accardo: A year after the Blue Jays acquired Accardo for Shea Hillenbrand, it appeared as though he might amount to something. Even though his 2.14 ERA looked like a fluke, a 3.48 FIP and 3.88 FIP represented encouragement. But he hasn’t been able to stay healthy since, and has pitched just 43.2 innings total in the last three seasons. On a minor league deal he’d be fine, but there are 29 other teams competing for that type of contract.
Willy Aybar: Before last season Aybar had been a decent hitting utility guy. This year he dropped off a bit. He can still take a walk, and I imagine that he didn’t completely lose his power at age 27. But he’s quite limited in what positions he can man, and so won’t do the Yankees any good as a utility guy. Those four bench spots are valuable, so I don’t think Aybar will get much of a look. (Add by Mike: I wrote about Aybar not too long ago).
Travis Buck: He had a quality rookie season in 2007, but since then he’s had trouble staying healthy and performing well. Again, on a minor league deal he’d be fine, but there’s plenty of competition for those.
(I’m making an inappropriate gesture right now.)
Ryan Church: He just hasn’t been the same since Jerry Manuel played him just two days after he suffered a concussion. That’s a shame, too, because he was a useful player before that.
Lance Cormier: You might recognize him from the 18 yearly games the Yankees play against the Rays. He spent a year with the Orioles, too. He walked more than he struck out this year, and he’s come close in many years past. He’s not that big an upgrade, if he’s an upgrade at all, over Sergio Mitre.
Jack Cust: If the Yankees want to get a lefty version of Marcus Thames, they could do worse than Cust. He’s an OBP machine, consistently walking in 15 percent or more of his plate appearances. The only problem is that he has lost considerable power during the past two seasons. He made up for it, in part, with a .272 batting average this year, by far the highest of his career. Unfortunately, that came on the power of a .387 BABIP, which he simply cannot maintain. I can see possibly adding him later in the winter as a bench bat, but I think the Yanks want a bit more versatile a player.
Manny Delcarmen: From potential closer on an NL team to a bust, Delcarmen doesn’t have much going for him right now. His strikeout rate has plummeted in the past two seasons, and there’s no telling if it will ever come back. I’m sure he can latch onto a second division team on a major league deal, so we can pretty much forget about him.
Matt Diaz: He’s a certified lefty masher, sure. But he’s coming off a poor season. Plus, fans of 29 other teams think he’d be a good fit as a platoon righty off the bench. The Yankees don’t need a fourth OF who can play CF, which makes life easier. That does open a spot for Diaz. He’s a possibility, unless he thinks he can play more elsewhere (which, of course, he probably can).
Josh Fields: The Yanks wouldn’t be interested I don’t think, but it’s interesting because of his former top prospect status.
Scott Hairston: Mike already wrote a comprehensive article on Scott Hairston.
J.P. Howell: He’s interesting because he’s a lefty reliever, but indications are that he’ll return to the Rays in 2011.
Joe Inglett: He’s a utility guy who can get on base at a decent clip, but he’s not enough of a bat for the Yanks to consider. Basically, utility guys who can’t play shortstop just don’t fit. He’ll probably be of more interest to a National League team anyway.
Bobby Jenks: There are a few teams that still need closers, and 29 other teams who don’t have Mariano Rivera closing games for them. Hence, Jenks will sign elsewhere. Another team might get a treat, as Jenks can still strike the crap out of opposing hitters.
Fred Lewis: If the Yanks want a defensive-minded outfielder for the bench, Lewis could be the man. He’s definitely better than Greg Golson.
Russell Martin: The Yankees nearly traded for him yesterday, so he’s a definite possibility. Adding him would change a lot of things this winter.
Andrew Miller: I suspect he’ll re-sign with Boston, but it would be nice to swipe him out from under the Sox after they traded for him just a month ago.
Hideki Okajima: Again, Mike covered Okajima yesterday.
Jose Veras: HAHAHAHAHAHA ::breath:: HAHAHAHAHA
Chien-Ming Wang: A minor league deal for old time’s sake? Doubtful, since the Yanks weren’t all that aggressive on him last winter and he didn’t throw a single pitch in 2010. I don’t think anyone would complain if the Yanks brought him back, though.