Do Drew and Morales make sense if Beltran needs surgery?

Manny Banuelos and the second half of 2014
Update: Yankees place Carlos Beltran on 15-day DL
Kendrys Morales
(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

I have this buddy — most of you probably know him — who IMs me at least once a week clamoring for the Yankees to sign Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales.


Drew we know makes some level of sense. The Yankees still need some infield help. Despite his relative health so far, and his improving performance, they can’t ignore the injury risk of Brian Roberts. Fun as he’s been to watch, Yangervis Solarte could go away at any time. The Yankees can’t really afford that kind of drop-off at this point.

Once they signed Carlos Beltran, Morales didn’t make sense for the Yanks. They had Mark Teixeira installed at first base, and with four outfielders they had their DH needs covered. There just weren’t enough at-bats for a guy who certainly deserves them. There was always the “if Mark Teixeira misses significant time” caveat, but other than that there wasn’t much connection between Morales and the Yankees.

Beltran’s injury changes the scene a bit. If he does require immediate surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, the Yankees have room to add a bat. With two MLB players waiting for a team to sign them, the Yankees have a perfect opportunity to improve.

Morales: DH and spelling Teixeira

The Yankees need a healthy Teixeira if they’re going to make a run at the postseason. They’ve already missed him for two weeks. To lose him again, especially with Beltran out, would further cripple the offense. We got a little scare earlier this week, when Teixeira sat out a game and complaining of tired legs. He ran poorly, even for himself, during the weekend series in Milwaukee.

Adding Morales gives Girardi a viable backup for Teixeira. Playing Morales at first allows Teixeira to take a full day off, or to rest up a bit at DH. Kelly Johnson could do that, sure, but what happens if Roberts gets hurt? Johnson can’t play the entire right side of the infield.

Morales’s primary role would be at DH, with Alfonso Soriano taking over in right field. His arm might not be fit for the job, but he’s shown considerably more range than Beltran this season. It’s a trade-off that the Yankees will have to take. They can still get Soriano days at DH and on the bench, as he’s been doing all year. That will free up some at-bats for Ichiro as well.

Drew: Mitigating Jeter

The rise of Solarte has made the Yankees infield a bit better than we anticipated going into the season. Unfortunately, Jeter’s defense has been even worse than imagined. The pitching staff has had its troubles, and it’s tough to blame the entire problem on shaky infield defense, but it sure hasn’t helped them. Drew is no defensive wizard, but he represents an upgrade over the current corps.

Signing Drew only works if Girardi makes Jeter the primary DH in Beltran’s absence. Perhaps Jeter can stay fresher if he’s off the field, providing a bit more offense than he is now. Drew plays his natural position, at which his bat provides the most value.

Given the state of the Yankees infield, there doesn’t need to be a very strong case made for Drew. He’d help.

What about pitching?

With three-fifths of the Opening Day rotation on the DL, the Yankees might need some pitching help. We know Ivan Nova is lost for the season. Who knows if CC Sabathia, with a degenerative knee condition, or Michael Pineda, with an injury so close to his surgically repaired right shoulder will come back — let alone come back and pitch effectively. If the Yankees are going to open their wallets, shouldn’t it aid the pitching staff?

In an ideal world, sure. But in the real world, there aren’t any major league caliber pitchers on the free agent market. A few might become available in July, but the Yankees can’t count on that. They have to take measures to improve the team where they can when the opportunities arise. Right now, the opportunities lie in Drew and Morales.

There is little to no chance the Yankees sign both, giving up their second- and third-round draft picks in the process. (Unless Boras comes up with one of his creative package deals, a la Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez.) Either could help the Yankees if Beltran misses significant time. Strangely enough, it might even make them a more balanced team in the process.

Manny Banuelos and the second half of 2014
Update: Yankees place Carlos Beltran on 15-day DL
  • RetroRob

    All they have to do is wait a few more weeks until early June and then they don’t lose any draft pick, and the players they sign can’t be offered a QO.

    This is Boras’ strategy.

  • Yangeddard Solarte

    I think Zolio deserves a shot to show what he can do. Soriano, Ellsbury and Gardner will play most days. I like Gardner leadoff and Ellsbury 3rd. Solarte should be htiting 2nd, Teixera 4th. Roberts and Solarte are 2 of the Yankees 3 best hitter right now. No reason to get rid of them for Drew. Besides, ownership said they are tapped out and will not seek Drew.

    • ALZ

      If Zoilo is playing regularly they are screwed.

      • Poconos Adam

        Why? The guy stood up and played for 100 ABs last year without looking helpless.

        …and if he looks like crap, then you move on. At least you learn about a player. This is how baseball about 26 baseball franchises find out who the players are.

  • Algernon Blackwood

    Sure, sign them both. It’s just (someone elses) money anyway.

  • tom

    Signing either or both of them in June for this year’s service only.

  • CMed21

    As much as I would like Drew on the Yankees, how much will he cost, he still most likely won’t be cheap. Also Jeter prob wouldn’t let the Yankees make him a full time DH since he’s stubborn and proud. I think only Jeter and the Yankees believe he is still an above average SS which is a huge problem since Jeter’s defense is beyond bad. As for Morales the Orioles will most likely offer him way more than the Yankees so I don’t think he’s an option.

  • JoeyA

    Do they IM or do they GChat?

  • Dave G

    Morales is a disaster defensively, he would be the full-time DH. Getting Drew means that the DH spot would be filled by, presumably Jeter. You can’t have 2 everyday DH’s.

    That said it is a long season. May go for either or both, for 1 year only and have Girardi work out the playing time.

    Hate to say it but Jeter is killing the Yanks this year.

  • Dave G

    Morales is a disaster defensively, he would be the full-time DH. Getting Drew means that the DH spot would be filled by, presumably Jeter. You can’t have 2 everyday DH’s.

    That said it is a long season. May go for either or both, for 1 year only and have Girardi work out the playing time.

    Hate to say it but Jeter is killing the Yanks this year.

  • Tom

    Outfield wise they don’t do anything. You let Ichiro play RF and bring up one of the kids as the 4th OF (Almonte) Soriano DH

    Pitching god help us, or hope we keep our heads above water until June

  • willie w

    I would sign either or both at HALF their asking price for ONE year

  • Farewell Mo

    If they sign both after the draft and don’t cost the Yankees picks, why the hell not provided its on a one year deal that is for the rest of this season.

  • The Great Gonzo

    I mean, at this point in the season, who gives a shit about the 3rd round pick. Its not like its next years 1st rounder. We (well, some of we) over rate the value of the draft pick, especially when you are starting to fall off offensively.

    Seattle can have that bullshit pick for Morales, they’ll just get a power hitting infielder and ruin him anyway. Give me Morales instead.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Even if the odds of grabbing someone who turns into an MLB mainstay are always low, I do believe there’s value to consistently replenishing the farm system that doesn’t show up in a simple look through a team’s draft history and checking off who made it or not. There are times that you say “fuck it” and give up the one or more picks but, when we’re talking a matter of a few weeks here, I don’t see why waiting a bit is a huge deal. These guys may provide some extra firepower, maybe, but it’s still Vidal Nuno’s ass we’re running out there every five days.

      • Farewell Mo

        They waited this long to sign these guys so they can wait another month until after the draft so that they keep their picks IMO.

      • Poconos Adam

        Yan Gomes.

        What do I mean?

        I mean the Blue Jays never saw what they had because they always sought the answer elsewhere.

        Play Almonte. If he flames out, try Adonis Garcia. If he flames out, try someone else.

        You only find the Solarte’s and oh by the way, Robinson Cano’s of the world (career .278 minors hitter with 41 HR in about 2000 ABs) if you actually let them play.

        Two years from now Mike will be complaining that the Yanks have Beltran and Morales and Drew on the roster and bemoaning the lack of farm talent.

        Maybe the farm needs OPPORTUNITY. Talent without opportunity means jack squat.

        Sorry we don’t have Mike Trout in the system. Robbie Cano looked like a bust in the minors…..shit happens.

        • Eric Young

          Thank you for your sanity.

  • mitch

    I don’t think Morales makes sense unless Tex gets injured and has to miss significant time. They already have enough guys whose most appropriate position is DH.

  • pinedamaybegreata (formerly Monterowasdinero)

    Morales has power and can get around on a fb and is a switch hitter. Jeter is no HR threat anymore unless he gets a hanging slow curve from a lefty. Short right field would help Morales more than it helps Jeter.

    What are Drew and Morales doing now? No game action for over 6 weeks?

    • Eric Young

      So you’re saying…bench Jeter and put Morales in at SS?

  • Dick M

    Not in love with either player but the fact is Drew would be an upgrade at SS and Morales is better then Soriano.

    • I’m One

      Soriano has more defensive value than Morales. With all of his time off, we can’t be sure what Morales will bring offensively.

      • Kosmo

        I´m sure it can´t be any worse than what Soriano is providing.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Early June and sign whoever the hell you want.

  • Looser trader droids FotD™

    Barf. But, both so long as it’s for this year only.

  • Marko

    Instead of Morales, why not the obvious in-house option of Kyle Roller? He was hitting .400 with close to double digit HRs over the first month and a half in double A. Even if not a long-term solution it’s worth trying to catch lightning in a bottle over the summer if he continues to hit in AAA.

  • Kosmo

    Still have to wait on Beltran to determine how NY will proceed. Almonte/Ichiro platoon in RF is better than Soriano in RF.

    I like Morales as a full-time DH part-time 1B but signing him after June 1st. Yanks will have to if they´re interested in Drew/Morales compete with other teams for their services. Both will probably jump at the BRO.
    Jeter is not moving off SS for Drew. Not going to happen.

    • I’m One

      Jeter is not moving off SS for Drew.

      So the question then becomes, does Drew’s offense outweigh Ryan’s defense? And if so, at what cost? Not sure he’s worth much at all to the Yankees if Jeter is going to get most of the playing time anyway. Derw certainly isn’t moving Solarte off 3B, so unless/until Roberts gets hurt, there really isn’t much room for Drew.

      • Kosmo

        IMO no there isn´t much room for Drew barring injury of course.

  • Brian

    Why on earth would Drew want to come to the Yankees for one year during “Jeter’s farewell tour”… the only way to get him would be to wildly overpay him for multiple years and promise him the SS job in 2015 when Jeter is gone,, Yankees ain’t doing that nor shoud they

    Hadn’t thought about Morales… if I remember correct he’s a lefty power bat, so that might make sense

    • Kosmo

      Morales is a switchhitter.

  • mustang

    Its rises from the dead once more!!!!!!

    • mustang

      Actually Morales makes a lot of sense if Beltran is hurt.
      Drew only makes sense in RAB land.

      • mustang

        Morales might make sense regardless because this team could use a power bat.

        Tex at 1st

        Morales at DH

        Beltran in the outfield

        with Solar gives them 4 switch-hitters 3 with HR pop.

  • JGYank

    Morales makes sense only if Beltran is out for a while or the rest of the year. He’s a switch hitter that can hit but is primarily a DH. He can play 1st to rest Tex but shouldn’t be out there at all otherwise. Jeter isn’t a great hitter so Morales would DH with Sori in RF if Beltran is out. Hard to see how there’s going to be room for Drew unless we’re comfortable starting him at 2nd or 3rd with Solarte playing the other position and putting Roberts on the bench along with Johnson. He’s an upgrade, but Jeter isn’t going anywhere and will play SS at least a good portion of the rest of our games so he’d be replacing Roberts and giving Jeter a rest at short if signed. Who would we cut if we signed them? Ryan? Roberts? Almonte? Johnson and Ichiro seem to have job security.

    Also, might as well wait until after the draft if we can sign them. We can wait another few weeks to get them, but signing them now wouldn’t bother me either. If we wait, there’s going to be competition to get them. Hopefully they can be had for a just a one year deal. Actually, I wouldn’t mind having Drew for next year with Jeter gone, but I don’t see why he has much incentive to sign with NY for this year.

  • bobmac

    I don’t think either of these guys would be the answer. Absolutely not until after the compensation deadline.

  • dalelama

    Considering how soft Tex is Morales makes sense. No way Tex lasts the year.

  • yankeepankee

    again, scott baker was put on waivers by Rangers last week. Looking to dump him. They had no room. He passed through.
    Cashman did not claim him. He’d be Yanks no. 2 starter now..
    go back and research it..
    Cashman did a bad job.

  • Eric Young

    Reality is that, even if we do back into a WC spot, we came out of spring training and will end the regular season without the personnel to be serious contenders in the playoffs.

    Signing Drew or Morales doesn’t change that. If anything, those two guys will hinder improvement next year.

    Give the farm hands their chance in the bigs…maybe there’s another Solarte down there who just needs a shot. Spend very big this winter.

  • Chris Duke

    C’mon guys……OF is great w Ichiro in R. Almonte the 4th outfielder. We need a starter. Needed one before the season
    started. Spend your money there. But thinking back on Drew w
    the Sux, seems like he drove in alot of runs and got clutch
    hits against us. He was a solid SS too. Not sure how to fit
    all this in.

    Oh, Phelps is a punching bag after 3 innings. Very average.
    Nuno is a great AA pitcher. I would rather have Swisher than
    him on the mound. Ha! Ha!

  • Poconos Adam

    …and if he signed Baker and he got lit up you’d say he did a bad job.

    So which should he do? Sign the great players and avoid the busts, right?

    Thanks for the meaningful input.

  • Captain Turbohiro Tanaka

    The Yankees should make it a policy to only sign players who won’t get injured.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    Drew we know makes some level of sense.

    On what level does signing a SS, who has never played another position in MLB, who is average offensively and below average defensively, to an 8-figure contract make sense?

    • Eric Young

      It never has and it never will make sense to pursue Drew.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        You and I are part of a very small minority here on RAB.

  • Dan in Athens

    No more Drew. He is an average player who is not worth the cost for what may actually be a downgrade. Just stop these threads, which are so fucking stupid. There is a reason the Yankees haven’t done it yet, which also provides evidence that they aren’t going to do so in the future.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Spelling Teixiera

    I often struggle with spelling Texiera. That’s a major reason I like referring to him as ‘Tex’…

  • Jordan Mildenberger

    yeah the Yankees need to sign Stephen Drew. we need to have a shortstop that can hit home runs. he’s 31 and he can hit home runs he is left handed and Yankee stadium works well for left handers. he can provide insurance for Derek Jeter and be a platoon at 3rd for Kelly Johnson. he can catapult the Yankees into October and make them enter September with a solid chance of making the postseason.