Olney: Yankees talking to Ian Stewart about minor league deal

Via Buster Olney: The Yankees are talking to third baseman Ian Stewart about a minor league contract. He was released by the Cubs earlier this week after going on a Twitter rant and tearing into the front office for not calling him up. They suspended him without pay and then released him once the suspension was up.

Stewart, 28, was hitting .168/.286/.372 (68 wRC+) with five homers in 133 Triple-A plate appearances at the time of the suspension. He hit just .183/.272/.289 (44 wRC+) from 2011-2012 while battling numerous wrist and quad problems, and even his good years with the Rockies — .246/.334/.454 (96 wRC+) from 2008-2010 — weren’t all that great considering Coors Field. His left-handed power is nice though, and the Yankees do need help at the hot corner. It doesn’t take much to be better than David Adams. I am surprised they are pursuing him following the Twitter tirade given their emphasis on strong character and all that.

Love Me Non-Tender

(Mitchell Layton/Getty)

The deadline to offer a contract to players with less than six years of service time was midnight last night, so a whole new batch of free agents hit the market as players were non-tendered. Most non-tenders are fringe roster players, but a few of them are actually worthwhile. The full list of non-tendered players is at MLBTR, and here are a few who could help the Yankees.

  • 1B/3B Mark Reynolds: The Yankees have a serious lack of right-handed power right now — it’s Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, that’s it — and Reynolds would definitely fill that void.¬† He could be an oft-used DH and third base backup while also filling in at first. Adding all those strikeouts to the lineup would stink, but I think it would be worth it for a guy on the right side of 30 who draws lots of walks (13.2 BB% last three years) and could hit 30+ dingers.
  • OF Nate Schierholtz: I’ve written about Schierholtz a few times already, so I’ll just refer you back to that. If the Bombers want a young and cheap platoon bat for right field, they’re not going to find a better one on the open market.
  • C Geovany Soto: Soto didn’t hit a lick this year (62 wRC+), but there’s at least some hope it’s BABIP-related (.222) and not irreversible erosion of his skills. He had a 95 wRC+ as recently as last season, though he is pretty poor defensively. With Russell Martin off to Pittsburgh, Soto may have the most upside (relatively speaking, of course) among free agent catchers.
  • 3B Ian Stewart: The 27-year-old Stewart has battled wrist injuries in recent years, but if the medicals check out he could be a serviceable Eric Chavez replacement on the bench. He’s shown nice power when healthy and would benefit quite a bit from Yankee Stadium‘s short right field porch. Risky though. Very risky.

Reynolds and Soto are worth more discussion and I’ll probably take a more in-depth look at them in the coming days. I know a lot of people will ask about Jair Jurrjens and John Lannan, but I wouldn’t touch either. Jurrjens has been trending in the wrong direction for a few years now and has also battled lots of injuries. Lannan is a soft-tossing lefty I wouldn’t trust in the AL East. If they want to take minor league contracts and are willing to sit in Triple-A as depth for a few months, sure. No guaranteed contracts though.