The quick reference non-tender guide

Mailbag: Webb, Rhodes, DH
RAB Live Chat

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.

Chris Carter: After ruining his career, the least the Yankees could do for Chris Carter is sign him to a contract.

(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.


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.

Mailbag: Webb, Rhodes, DH
RAB Live Chat
  • vin

    Definitely some useful parts there. Especially Martin, Hairston, Jenks and Diaz. At least half of those guys (maybe 2/3) will get major league deals for next year. There will be a lot of competition for them… I’d be shocked if any of them ends up with the Yanks next year.

  • goterpsgo

    Yeah I’m kinda sentimental… I’d bring back CMW to see how much he’s got in the tank.

    • pete

      Same. I would sign him, but it really would be for sentimental reasons only.

    • Mark

      Would love to see CMW back for spring training jst to see if there was anything left. Could be one hell of a reclamation project for next year.

  • Clay Bellinger

    Why would adding Martin “change a lot of things this winter”? Wouldn’t he just replace Cervelli and serve as the back-up/part-time catcher? I suppose it was just off-set the catching ratio a little because he’s better back there than Cervi, but would it change anything else?

    • bonestock94

      It would alleviate much of the dread in the coming season should Montero not break out of ST, spend significant time in AAA,or be terrible behind the plate.

      • Clay Bellinger

        Yes, I agree it would add some security, but I was just wondering if Joe was refering to addtional changes to the off-season plans or lineup that would come of it.

        • bonestock94

          Well, Martin’s agent says the Dodgers would look into him playing 2nd, 3rd, and a little outfield in addition to catching. If the agent isn’t blowing smoke maybe Martin could be a bit of a utility too.

          • Clay Bellinger

            Yeah, I saw that too. Seems interesting, but it sounds like the Dodgers are the team that wants to explore that idea. If he can do it, it would make him a little more intriguing.

          • Jimmy McNulty

            There’s serious reports about the Yankees and Martin, the Dodgers are getting Rod Barajas. If they considered trading him for Cervelli I doubt they’ll bring him back as a super utility guy Martin’s main problem was being overworked, I doubt having him catch after he played second the day before is a good idea. In emergency situations, sure he’s great to have but I don’t like the idea on a regular basis.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    In terms of which players we’d actually offer major league contracts to (and that’s the must, as otherwise, they’re probably all signing elsewhere for better opportunities), I’d love to nab Russell Martin, Fred Lewis, and Jack Cust. I think they’d all fit our team perfectly and all could probably be had for 2M a piece or so (maybe more for Martin).

    Assuming the front 9 is Montero-Tex-Cano-Jeter-ARod-Gardner-Granderson-Swisher-Posada, the 4 man bench could then be:
    C – Martin (R)
    2B/SS/3B – Nuñez (R)
    LF/CF/RF – Lewis (L)
    1B/PH/DH – Cust (L)

    That’s a mighty fine bench, IMO.

    • Clay Bellinger

      I don’t understand…why do you have Nunez on the bench? My boy said they’re better off with him as the starting SS.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        This will end badly.

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          this is why we can’t have nice things.

          so, cause i don’t own a binder, why don’t we have a five man bench?

      • bonestock94

        Your boy is clueless.

        • Clay Bellinger

          ha, I’m kidding man.

          • bonestock94

            ah, lol.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Sorry, Cust should read “OF/PH/DH”. He hasn’t played first in the bigs.

    • pete


      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Lewis is who I want the most. I’ve liked him for a long while. Quality player, especially if he’s only the 4th OF. He’d be a coup if we could get him.

        • vin

          FWIW, I said the same thing about Randy Winn.

        • pete

          Agreed. It’d be awesome if we could pull in Martin, though. I don’t expect him to have any interest in signing here, though. He’ll probably wind up in boston.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      I don’t like it…I don’t think they need a back up 1B as much as they need a 4th OF that can hit LHP well. Swisher can play a fine first base, Montero probably can too so the need isn’t as big as an OF who can mash lefties. I love me some Jack Cust, but he’s a poor man’s Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn himself wasn’t a fit for the team, so I definitely don’t want the K-Mart brand Adam Dunn either. If Transformers don’t do it for you, why would you want to give Go-Bots a try? I’d rather sign like a Diaz, Hairston, or get someone of that mold on the bench than Jack Cust. I don’t know why they go with a seven man bullpen, though with a rotation that could potential feature Burnett and Old Man Pettitte, having lots of relievers could be a good thing I guess. I’d rather go with the typical six man bullpen, and have like a Martin/Hairston Brothers/Nunez/Lewis bench but that’s probably not going to happen.

      • Clay Bellinger

        When is a 6 man bullpen typical in the regular season for AL teams? The bottom bench players don’t play enough to warrant carrying 5 of them on the roster.

  • vin

    Just noticed the name of Andrew Miller’s High School…


    First Clay, then Taylor. Now Miller’s High School. What’s with the Sox and that name (or its slight variations)?

    • Jorge

      I heard that school had trouble keeping laptpos.

      • Jorge

        “laptops,” although I doubt no one is scratching their head wondering what a “laptpos” is. I heard laptpos goes great with pita.

  • JGS

    Why did Boston sign Miller and Taylor Buchholz only to non-tender them?

    • bexarama

      They’re geniuses, Jordan, don’t question it

  • pete

    I would love to get Martin

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder


      • bonestock94

        Should have saved it for wang

        • vin

          Always save it for wang.

  • Hughesus Christo

    Maybe we can sign Aybar and then trade him to the White Sox for Gordon Beckham.

  • YankeesJunkie

    Russell Martin seems like the candidate that fits the Yankees the best because as a backup he will easily get 300-400 ABs if he stays healthy. He has shown above average defense, he walks, and if he gets his SLG up to .350 if can double as a solid pinch hitter. Fred Lewis is an interesting option, but he is no better than average according to UZR and why would he want to play for the Yanks when their set of OFs will go at least 140 games and he can find a starting job somewhere else.

  • Am I the only Kevin?

    Martin would be great, but is highly unlikely. He’ll be given greater opportunities to play elsewhere and he isn’t the type of FA that we would overpay to get. I see him going to BOS.

    I am surprised nobody else is interested in Howell. I’d definitely think about signing him to a reasonable deal, and Cash has been keen on a second lefty in the pen.

    A right-handed hitting speedy OFer who can man center in a pinch (i.e., Golston with something resembling a bat) would also be nice. I don’t see us going after any lefty fourth-OF bats, so that rules out Lewis. Cust just doesn’t fit despite his potential. He’ll want a bigger role (ala Martin), and we really don’t need another DH candidate or a lefty OFer (unless we unload one of Gardner or Grandy in a deal for a SP). We need someone to hide one of Grandy and Gardner against lefties.

    Andrew Miller is Cisco v2.0. Don’t see him being signed, or wanting to sign here given the number of fliers we’ve taken on AAAA loogies.

  • J

    Lewis struggles against lefties. Which takes him out of our bench picture, IMO.

    • Am I the only Kevin?

      Exactly. We need to upgrade Winn/Golston, not replicate Gardner.

      • Jeremy

        Winn isn’t a Yankee

        • Am I the only Kevin?

          Sheesh. I am not talking about the exact player, I am talking about the role on the 2010 team, hence the slash. The right-handed hitting fourth-OF caddy for Gardner and Grandy. Winn started the season in that role, and Golston finished it. Along the way, we tried out Russo (no bat), Thames (no glove), and perhaps a few other even less memorable guys.

    • steve (different one)

      Manny! J/k. Kindof.