Yankees likely to continue looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder


Even though they signed Matt Diaz to a minor league contract yesterday, the Yankees are likely to continue looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder according to Ken Rosenthal and Kevin Kernan. They still have interest in Scott Hairston.

Hairston is the (relatively) big name left on the market, but guys like Jeff Baker and Ben Francisco could probably be had on a minor league contracts. Maybe even former Yankee Juan Rivera as well. Melky Mesa is, by far, the team’s best internal option for the right-handed platoon outfielder role, so bringing in as many candidates as possible to compete in camp is the best thing to do if the Yankees are unwilling to give Hairston the multi-year contract he demands.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Robinson Tilapia says:

    So Matt Dye-az isn’t going to bat cleanup all season? Because, on the other thread, he was going to play all nine positions, Campaneris-style.

    • Matt says:

      You mean play all nine positions like Bugs Bunny against the Gas-House Gorillas right?, based on the other thread comments.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Diaz and an extra-long lacrosee stick in center. Hal pockets rest of OF money, spends it on Johnny Walker Quadruple Blue, then just sits in a bathtub full of booze and cash all year while the Yanks win 40 games, 1899 Cleveland Spiders style.

  2. MatUk says:

    I still think the Padres are a great fit for a trade. Hughes would make a lot of sense for them as home runs become fly balls at Petco.

    • Laz says:

      But how much of a shot does Hughes give them? They were 4th last year, and the Dodgers only got better. Padres won’t want to give up a whole lot for a 1 year contract if they aren’t close.

      • Jersey Joe says:

        Agreed, also Chris Denorfila and Cameron Maybin don’t strike me as exciting candidates.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Not that I mean to infer too much into what Matt is saying, but my assumption is that, when the Padres are brought up, folks have their eyes on Headley, with the price on that guy probably being higher now than it was previously.

          • MatUk says:

            Headley is clearly out of our range. I was thinking more of Cameron Maybin. He’s not really that exciting, but he’s an improvement. Also Padres were in on Edwin Jackson so they could possibly offer Phil an extension. Just throwing it out there.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Not so sure if Maybin is an improvement. He certainly has the talent, but I would need to be really convinced he’d return to 2011 form before giving up rotation depth for an inconsistent 4th OF.

    • ClusterDuck says:

      Don’t trade Hughes.

      Keep him and then sign him.

      Young pitchers (or at least pitchers less than 30 years old), who have had some degree of success should be retained and not traded away.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        All Ps under 30 with any degree of success should all be lumped together?

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Even Scott Kazmir. Yes.

        • ClusterDuck says:

          Instead of nit picking my statement why don’t you just give your opinion of Hughes.

          He’s relatively young and successful. Let’s pay him the market rate and sign him.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            My opinion is that your blanket statement was ridiculous. Rather than say that, I tried to ask you to get clarification.

            Besides not lumping all those Ps together, I would never say definitively that the right thing to do is to not trade any player. Depends on the return. There are a whole lot of things I would trade Hughes for.

            My opinion on Hughes is that he’s been very inconsistent, not very good in years, and isn’t likely to improve much. Unless he was willing to take a very team friendly offer with maybe a $6 mill AAV, I’d see what he does in 2013 and decide what he’s worth afterwards.

            • ClusterDuck says:

              Obviously, I met as a general rule we should not be trading younger successful pitchers. Your nit picking is ridiculous.

              There are a number of people on this board calling to trade him. My first call is to sign him.

              As far as what return we could get for Hughes now, I would want a younger more successful starting pitcher. I would not include him in a trade where the number one return is Headley from SD.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I don’t think questioning your logic there is nitpicking.

                It would depend on the other pieces involved, but all else equal I wouldn’t hesitate to trade a mid-rotation SP for one of the best 3B in baseball.

            • ClusterDuck says:

              I would describe Hughes as being good three out of the last four years. The one bad year he had in the last four was due to injury problems.

              I wouldn’t describe him as being “very inconsistent” and I wouldn’t say that he “isn’t likely to improve much”.

              • dalelama says:

                Anyone who wouldn’t take Headley for Hughes needs to have their head examined. With his crocodile arms style deliver Hughes is doomed to mediocrity.

                • ClusterDuck says:

                  Hughes has had three out of four good years. Yet you ignore that and think Hughes is doomed to mediocrity.

                  Meanwhile Headley who turns 29 in May, finally has ONE good year.

                  Your dumb throw-away “head-examined” line aside, I’m glad you aren’t the Yanks GM.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                He’s been solid, but not someone I care to keep at all costs.

                I always defended the guy while he was injured because it was an injury, but it still happened and not knowing what it even was makes it hard to know if it’s fully healed. Last season didn’t necessarily convince me tht he’s 100%.

                Why do you think he will get much better at this point? Some Ps do blossom late, but he’s 27 next season.

                • ClusterDuck says:

                  No guarantees that Hughes will get better. But very generally speaking a good mid rotation 26 year-old pitcher tends to improve. I think they are valuable commodities.

                  Hopefully Hughes isn’t injury prone, and I wouldn’t call him that just yet.

      • Mike HC says:

        Agreed. After Cano, keeping Hughes should be a priority number 2 next off season. Assuming he pitches at least close to what he did last year.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Padres would have been a great fit for Hughes 3 years ago when he had some team control yet. They want nothing to do with Phil Hughes the rental. Cleveland is a better fit from a “win now” perspective, but they have nothing to give…

      EXCEPT for RH Platoon bat… wait for it….


      Boom, that just happened

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Shelley absolutely refused to acknowledge us all in Section 203 when he chanted his name when the Indians were in town until about the 5th inning and the boos started.

        You have bitten the hand that fed you, Shelley Duncan.

  3. Jersey Joe says:

    I say try to sign Rivera to a similar deal to Diaz’s, have Melky in ST competition, then find a few alternate OF.

    See if Jerry Sands or Jose Tabata can be had from the Pirates; if Tabata then Pirates pay for 1/2 his salary. Jerry Sands, now that he’s not in AL East anymore, seems like a great pickup with team control and great AAA stats. He just needs a hitters ballpark IMO. I hope the Pirates are willing to trade him with OF crowded, even though they just did trade for him.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Maybe you could get Rivera on an MiLB. You never know. Going into camp with Diaz, Rivera, and Melky for RHB WARZ wouldn’t be the worst landing spot. Not something to jump for joy over either.

    • Milt Toast says:

      “He just needs a hitters ballpark IMO.”

      I hope you realize he’s right-handed.

  4. TomH says:

    Meanwhile, as Cash continues looking for help in old-timers’ homes, hostels, etc., the wolves begin to circle, still-respectful, still cautious, but unable to resist the occasional howl of delight at the moon:

    Toronto Wolves Begin to Circle

    • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)) says:

      I will bet you any amount of money that not only do the Blue Jays not win the division but that they struggle to win 90 games. Bautista will get hurt, so will Reyes, Encarnacion(sp?) will take a step back from his career year, the rest of the line up will continue to be below average, Johnson will get hurt, Dickey will be effective but not great, and the rest of the rotation will be average at best.

      • TomH says:

        Does this mean the Yanks win 91?

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

        I’d take that bet but I couldn’t ever root against the Yankees. Last zips projection I saw has the Jays at 93 wins and the Yankees at 87 so stats don’t back up your prediction at least as of today.

        I wouldn’t be planning any parades for Toronto in December but to predict everything is gonna go wrong for them isn’t really reasonable.

        • jjyank says:

          All of that may happen, or it may not. But history supports that a lot of it has a good chance. Johnson and Reyes are hardly pictures of durability. 2012 Encarnacion was waaaaay outside his career numbers. I assume that Zips projection involves all of those guys being healthy. If that is the case, the amount of stock I put into that is exactly zero.

        • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)) says:

          I have 1 number and three words for your zips projections: 2011 Boston Red Sox. Literally everybody in the baseball world, from projection agencies, to SABR guys, to the Howard Renyolds of the world were calling them the greatest team ever assembled. Hell, there was that dribble written by Eric Ortiz (who I still don’t understand how he calls himself a journalist anymore after rosterbating for an entire article) saying by the end of the season the 2011 Red Sox were going to topple the ’27 Yankees as the best team ever. They didn’t make the playoffs.

          My point is simple: Just because you won The Off Season World Series, at the end of the day there is still the entire season to be played.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Roster is still not complete. Also, projections were meant to be surpassed, baby.

    • Russ says:

      Re : Toronto Wolves Begin to Circle, thanks for the link. It’s amazing how the evil Yankees were always criticized for spending so much and now other teams are being praised for… spending so much.

      • TomH says:

        I wonder if the Jays ever benefited from the largesse of the Yankees’ luxury taxes. Since their decline began in the mid-90s, they had taken to calling themselves a “small market team,” always a laughable claim, but never more so than after they got bought up by that cable giant that now owns them.

        • Milt Toast says:

          One of the results of the new CBA was the reduced revenue sharing going to “mid-market” teams like Toronto. Ironically, the 4th largest media market in North America, owned by the largest media entity in Canada, was receiving tens of millions of dollars in financial aid for more than a dozen years, every year. The spending spree the Blue Jays went on this off-season had more to do with having to generate more gate receipts to compensate for the lost revenue than “winning now.”

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Lind, Rasmus, Davis, Bonifacio, Izturis, and Arencibia are circling!

    • MannyGeee says:

      These are not the Yankees of George Steinbrenner, who, as one New York writer observed, would have snapped his fingers and signed both Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton this winter. George’s son, Hal, is in charge now, and has decreed that over the next year or two, the club will drop its payroll below US$189-million, the current threshold for baseball’s luxury tax.

      1970s-2000s- “George Steinbrenner is the worst human in the world for spending money and ruining the game like he has… DOOOM’D”

      2012- “Hal Steinbrenner is the worst human in the world for ruining his fathers franchise by not spending all the money like his father would have… DOOOOOM’D”

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Even saying George would have ignored the new tax incentives is speculation. Saying he would have made huge investments in two character risks of sorts in Greinke and Hamilton (plus injury risk there) is even more so.

        I am always amazed that these guys are actually journalists. More so that people actually eat up this sort of nonesense.

        • MannyGeee says:

          Its a Canadian writer pandering to his Canadian readers about their Canadian team.

          That said, Eric Ortiz still looms:

        • Milt Toast says:

          Howard Cosell once said that sports was the toy department of the news media. Despite their own self-aggrandizing propaganda, sports “journalists” are a sorry group of glorified ambulance chasers. They routinely mistake their personal biases for actual rational thought.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            The internet and 24/7 media sure hasn’t helped either. I wonder if Cosell ever even forsaw that.

          • johnnybk says:

            Some suck, others are Norman mailer, bart giamatti, gay talese and the like. As mentioned above writers write for their audience, so if you want good sports writing seek out good writers.

  5. Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)) says:

    I’m still curious as to what kind of prospects would get us Soriano, or Morse. I mean, I’ve never had a problem with dealing prospects, especially fringey guys like Almonte and CoJo for proven major leaguers. Especially Soriano, w/ the Cubs willing to eat all but 10mil of his contract over two years and Ichiro signed for two years, next year we have a passable offensive platoon (figuring both are still decent) for 12.5mil.

  6. TCMiller30 says:

    I say just give Melky a shot. RH platoon and speed/defense on the bench. I’ll take that over a re-tread this time around.

    • TCMiller30 says:

      As long as he remembers to touch the bases when he’s running them.

    • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)) says:

      I have no problem giving young guys a shot, but we (or at least I and hopefully the team) learned in 2008 that guaranteeing young guys/rookies a spot w/o making them earn it is not a recipe for winning. So if Mesa wants a shot bring as much competition to spring training and make him earn it. If he out performs Diaz, Baker, Rivera, who ever else we bring in during SP I will be the first on the boards to congratulate him and say he deserves a spot on the team/in the line up, but until he earns it I don’t feel comfortable just giving him the RHH OF platoon job.

      • TCMiller30 says:

        I have no problem with that. I was gearing my comments more towards acquiring Soriano/Hairston (I don’t seem to have the man-crush that a lot of people do for Hairston). If we brought either of them in as competition, we’d be paying their contracts regardless of whether or not they earn it. I’m never opposed to a minor league deal. They can put Melky against 50 guys if that’s the case.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:


          The difference between what the two forementioned guys could offer and what Mesa could over could still be pretty big. Without getting into price, etc., it may still be worth going with the more expensive option.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      The Yankees can have both rather than one or the other.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      All for giving Mesa a chance, but not for pre-ordaining him.

  7. ClusterDuck says:

    I’m all for filling needs from within the organization, but Melky Mesa is a terrible prospect. Sign Hairston.

  8. Harris says:

    Sox going after LaRoche, meaning they could just decide not to do the Napoli deal? Napoli as a RH DH, part time catcher would seem to be a perfect fit on this team, especially if this injury concern forces him to take a 1 year, prove it deal.

    • MannyGeee says:

      If the Sox are going to walk away from Napoli due to health issues, you really think he’s in a position to do any work behind the plate? And if he has no defensive value, I would not imagine the Yankees would be willing to spend that kind of cash on just a RH DH/backup 1B.

      • Harris says:

        I feel like it might be a situation where the Red Sox regretted giving him that contract right away so they are being extra picky with the physical. They seem sleezy enough to do something like that. And I don’t mind a catcher without any defensive value starting 50 or so games behind the plate considering the added offensive value having him catch would produce since you would be able to DH Nunez/Jeter. And the only way I’d want the Yanks to touch him is on a 1 year deal.

      • Milt Toast says:

        Enough sloppy seconds from the Red Sox already!

  9. phil says:

    The yankees are currently at around $200M for payroll right now. Their goal is to be under $189M in 2014. They will probably lose Kuroda, Petitie, Mo and Youkilis after this year that is a reduction of around $37M in payroll add Granderson’s $15M and the payroll for 2014 will be down to around $148M giving them under $41M to spend for 2014.

    Signing Cano (add $8M to his current salary of $15) and Jeter (player option $8M will probably want more to play in 2014) and you still have plenty of Money to get Harrison at 2 years and $5M per year and sign Hughes to an extension at $12M per year (name one good free agent pitcher next offseason that is better and will accept around $12M?)

  10. Mike HC says:

    Someone posted in an open thread a couple weeks ago the fangraphs volatility index, measuring how consistent hitters were on a game to game basis. Lots of interesting stuff. Hairston was the second least consistent player last year. Former Yankee Justin Maxwell was the least. I guess if we sign Hairston, we should expect many 0-4 nights alternating with dominance.

  11. Grover says:

    Who is the lefty dh? I’m partial to Berkman but Abreu is still a tough out even though his power has fallen off and he is playing Winter ball. Damon? Matsui? Thome? Hafner? Maybe Nunez gets the nod from the right side until ARod returns? For all the talk about right handed bats, there is a huge hole in the lineup waiting to be filled for those 300 or more at bats where Jeter, Texeira, etc. aren’t playing the field.

    • Jersey Joe says:

      I would be fine with having Abreu on board for first half lefty DH. Always liked him in pinstripes; if so it would have to be MiLB

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Probably A-Rod. He’s only out 1-3 months. 300 PAs is not a given for a LH DH only guy. That said, a lot of those guys are options since they’re probably looking at small or MiLB deals. Still plenty of time left in the offseason, those things usually shake out late.

  12. CashmanNinja says:

    I think the Scott Hairston ship has sailed. He seems pretty adamant about getting a 2nd year. He just isn’t worth that kind of commitment (or money). He had a decent year, but it wasn’t really even a “good” year. Sure he hit 20 HR, but he also had a SUB .300 OBP. It was actually in line with his career splits. The only real difference was an uptick in some home runs, besting his career best by 3 (which he hadn’t come near in several seasons). He’d be a decent RH bat with some pop, and his defense would be better than some of the other guys available, but I just don’t think he’d really be worth the money. His numbers are fairly easy to replace since he doesn’t do anything all that good. We found Ibanez on the scrap heap and 1 less HR and .009 more OBP and for minimal dollars. It shouldn’t be that hard to find equal value with what’s left.

    I still say Melky Mesa is the best option available when you look at the bigger picture. His defense is better than you could hope to find on the open market right now, he’s a righty, he displayed 20+ HR potential (albeit it against weaker pitching) — but at the very least he can hit a mistake pitch if one comes in his wheel house — and the biggest thing of all is that he’s cost controlled. Add in the price he costs, the fact that he can play about any OF position, adds speed on the base paths, and has power … he’s the guy. I’m not saying he SHOULD get the job right away because he needs to earn it. He is, however, a smarter use of money and a roster spot than a guy like Hairston would be. Why spend money on Hairston when you could most likely get the same exact production of Hairston’s career averages from Mesa at a fraction of the price, as well as getting a better glove and more speed.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      “Why spend money on Hairston when you could most likely get the same exact production of Hairston’s career averages from Mesa at a fraction of the price, as well as getting a better glove and more speed.”

      That could easily not happen, though.

      I get the sentiment, though, and Scotty Hairston is not the second coming, but it is far from a given that Mesa could produce what he could.

      • CashmanNinja says:

        I’m not saying it’s a guarantee that Mesa would be a success, but I feel that it’s about the same gamble as signing Hairston, but with less risk since he’d be cheaper and wouldn’t require a multi-year deal. I don’t expect Hairston to have another 20 HR contest. Hell, I think he’ll be lucky to hit 10 HR all of next year. Mesa wouldn’t get as much playing time and you always have to worry about a cold bat coming off the bench, but if it comes down to giving up multiple years for Hairston or allowing Mesa a chance in spring training (while fighting Diaz and others for the spot), then I’m all for seeing what he could do. I’m not expecting Mesa to hit .280/20/80 or anything like that. But if he could provide us a little power off the bench and not suck too bad…while not costing anything at all…then I think it’s a worthy gamble. I think it’s a cheaper gamble than banking on Hairston to prove that last year wasn’t a career year.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      What Hairston asks for isn’t as important as what another team will pay. I have no idea what that will be, but maybe less than he wants.

      Mesa may be the best option, or he may be totally unusable against MLB P. They can probably make room for him as a 5th OF/DH option should he earn it.

  13. Andrew Brotherton says:

    If we were going to do a Hughes to the Padres I would probably go after Jedd Gyorko, great bat but terrible defensive liability. Did I mention great bat?

  14. Andrew J. says:

    Sign kyle lohse

  15. Martin Ranger says:

    There’s a part of me that would love to have Soriano and Rivera on the roster again.

    I admit that part of me is not entirely rational.

    But I would take Sori’s upside over Hairston for the same price and a CoJo/Warren type or two. Realistically Theo’s not going to do much better.

  16. Bill Abelson says:

    Speaking of internal options — for God’s sake, what about C-Dick? He’s always seemed like pure quality to me.

  17. mick taylor says:

    sign manny ramirez or bring back posada

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