After two different posts about why certain players don’t make sense for and don’t fit on the 2010 Yankees, I thought I’d tackle the people I do think make sense for the Yankees moving forward.
First, is Mike Cameron. I’ve already touched on this scenario so I’ll just do some quick hits as to why Cameron is a good fit for the Yankees:
–His bat is a major upgrade over current centerfielders Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner
–His defense is still very strong; Cammy was in the positive double digits in CF in ‘08 and ‘09
–He would be a short term commitment for relatively little money
Basically, Cameron is a perfect fit in CF for the Yankees. He could be had on the cheap for a short deal, which would give prospect Austin Jackson more time to develop.
Aside from the DH options I discussed, there aren’t many free agent position players who would fit with the Yankees (aside from Johnny Damon, of course), so I’ll focus on the pitching mound.
First up is right hander Justin Duchscherer. After a very strong 2008, J-Dukes missed all of 2009, save for three games in the minors (one game each at R, A+, and AAA). He went 11 scoreless innings, allowed six hits, struck out eight, and walked just one. In my opinion, the Yankees are fine when it comes to starters, but Duchscherer is a good guy to aim for. He was a starter in the minors before relieving for Oakland, then he was converted back to starting in the aforementioned 2008. With the 2010 Yankees, I think Justin could fill a role similar to that of Alfredo Aceves in 2009. Duchscherer could be a good multiple inning swingman out of the Yankee bullpen and make spot starts when necessary. Like most players coming off of an injury, J-Dukes could come on a non-guaranteed, low money, incentive laden contract. He could be a good investment for the team moving forward.
Next is another injury case who has a bit more of a track record as a starter, but also has a very established injury record. That pitcher is Kelvim Escobar. Escobar pitched in just one major league game (three MiL games, two at A+, one at AAA) in 2009. On June 6th, at Detroit, Escobar got a loss in a game during which he went five innings, allowed two earned runs, gave up four hits and four walks, while striking out 5. This came after missing all of 2008. Like Duchscherer, Escobar would be strictly a depth signing. In no way should the Yankees sign either one of these guys with expectations that they will pitch all season. Escobar could also relieve, as he’s done so in the past, to stretch his arm out back to full strength before possibly making starts.
Both Duchscherer and Escobar could come on short, incentive laden, team friendly deals to provide meaningful depth to the 2010 Yankee pitching staff. Just to repeat this: neither one of these guys should be signed with the promise, or expectation, of a rotation-spot. If (most likely when) Andy Pettitte returns, the Yankees’ rotation would be full. J-Dukes and Escobar, though, would be very good options in case of injury or the need for a spot start.