Pure Speculation: Jermaine Dye Might Interest Yanks if Johnson is Hurt

Nick Johnson returned to the Yankees lineup today as the DH and went 0-for-2 with a walk and told reporters after the game that “Things feel fine. No grabbing. No nothing. I loosened up before. Felt nothing.”

That’s good news for the Yankees who no doubt cringed when they heard that he tweaked his back last week. It might not have been a big deal, but it was a painful reminder that Johnson has a brutal injury history. People, myself included, even said that Yankees general manager probably questioned himself about passing on Johnny Damon so cavalierly, even if it was just for a second.

It seemed like a minor injury at the time and there should be little doubt that he is misleading the team about the extent of the injury, but it does raise the question – what do the Yankees do if Johnson is hurt and can’t play?

Could the answer be to sign Jermaine Dye? Maybe.

Dye is still a free agent despite having a 103 OPS+ last season and a 112 OPS+ over the past three because of his insistence to play in the outfield and a demand for too much money. There were brief rumors that the Yankees were intersted in him this offseason, but those were ditched when they realized that Dye had clearly overvalued himself (after all, the Yankees were already dealing with Johnny Damon who had a perverted idea of his own self-worth).

Now that the preseason has started and he’s Dye is still without a job it could be a different story. If he’s not leaning toward retirement already he’s probably willing to accept just about any serious offer made to him and he’s in no position to demand playing time in the outfield.

Obviously Dye is not as good as Johnson, which would be the reason why the Yankees signed one over the other, but if he remains unsigned and Johnson does suffer another injury he might be a better choice than the status quo. Which would be using Randy Winn or Marcus Thames as the DH or rushing Jesus Montero to the big leagues.

My guess is that right now the Yankees interest in Dye is non-existent, but if Johnson lands himself on the DL their interest could rise and fast. It’s at least something to keep an eye on.

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3 Responses to Pure Speculation: Jermaine Dye Might Interest Yanks if Johnson is Hurt

  1. JMK says:

    Meh, I suppose it's possible the Yanks would take a hard look at Dye. There are a few factors here, though. Firstly, the money. If you believe there's a hard budget (and I do), it's simply not in the cards. Even signing Chan Ho Park required approval for ownership; that deal was for change on the dollar. Doesn't seem to fit on that end, unless of course Dye were willing to play for an absolute pittance. I don't believe he is. Secondly, it would seem Miranda would have the clear go-ahead as the next-in-line for the DH spot should Johnson go down. Montero is more likely to spend the year at SWB refining his defensive skills. I doubt the Yankees would be so quick to rush him. I think a September call-up is more likely, but hey, it's definitely possible. Finally, signing Dye would hurt roster flexibility, unless of course NJ is out for the season or at the very least, on the 60-day DL. Someone's getting chopped.

    Still, interesting food for thought.

  2. My speculation was on the fact that Dye might take a bare minimum contract. But you're right, if he doesn't then the Yankees would probably go with Miranda.

  3. Jeffrey says:

    In spring training no, but if they get off to a slow start and fall behind the Red Sox early then Dye could be an attractive low-cost option.