According to Pete Caldera of the Bergin Record, the Yankees search for another outfielder has brought them to Rocco Baldelli and apparently the interest is mutual. So far nothing has made it past that stage, but this is a start.
Caldera said everything that needed to be said so well I’m just going to reprint it here:
We first brought up the idea of Baldelli in a Jan. 6 story, when Brian Cashman said he was concentrating on filling the bench. Baldelli would certainly be the most attractive hitter among that pool of relatively inexpensive outfielders. It’s just a matter of keeping him on the field.
Last year with the Red Sox, Baldelli – still only 28 – dealt with a hamstring, left knee contusion, bruised foot and a hip flexor (an injury that kept him off the ALDS roster). More seriously, Baldelli is dealing with channelopathy, a muscle-fatiguing disease that is more treatable than the mitochondrial disorder originally diagnosed during his late days as a Ray.
Baldelli made $500,000 as a base salary, not including incentives, last year. And he could more than fill the bill as a right-handed hitting/part-timer who could play all three outfield positions.
In 62 games last year, Baldelli batted .253, with 7 HR and 23 RBI.
His .311 on-base percentage (and .324 career OBP) might not be thrilling stats to the Yanks, but consider this: He has an .831 career OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) vs. lefties, and batted. .290 last year against southpaws, with a .343 OBP and a .784 OPS.
What Caldera left out, actually he alluded to this earlier in the article, is that while Baldelli is an attractive piece there are other options out there for the Yankees. With both Reed Johnson and Xavier Nady still out on the market they are much surer bets to stay on the field than Baldelli and will come at nearly the same price. I’ve always liked Baldelli, but it makes little sense for the Yankees to pass up better options at the risk of just needing to find another outfielder this July when he is on the DL.
With Eric Hinske in Atlanta and Johnny Damon in limbo, the Yankees do need to make sure to replenish their roster former Red Sox. What do you guys think?