Today was Day 2 of the Winter Meetings and lots of rumors are flying around. I collected reports from Ken Davidoff, Jack Curry, Jeff Passan, Ken Rosenthal, Jerry Crasnick, Nick Cafardo, Buster Olney, Joel Sherman, Jayson Stark, and Jon Heyman this afternoon to get a good idea of what the Yankees are spending their time doing.
They’re looking for somebody to play third base.
So far they have been very strict about only making one year offers. They’ve had success with Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and Hiroki Kuroda, but it has meant they’ve missed out on players like Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, and their own Russell Martin. That was the line with all the players they spoke with today as well, they aren’t going to make multi-year offers.
There is a saying, ‘All it takes is one’ which usually applies to Scott Boras fleecing some owner out of a huge contract, but in this case Yankees GM Brian Cashman is looking for that one. That one player that is willing to sign a one-year deal for a chance to play with the Yankees. Right now it seems that five players are on the table. Let’s take a look at them.
- Eric Chavez, 2012 BA/OBP/SLUG: .281/.348/.496 - Chavez likes playing for the Yankees. Last offseason it was the Yankees or retirement. This offseason it’s been a different tune and he’s been talking with other teams. That could just be a way to get more money out of the Yankees though. The one catch with Chavez is that he can’t play more than four days in a row and he can’t hit lefties. So the Yankees would still need somebody to platoon with him.
- Jeff Keppinger, 2012 BA/OBP/SLUG: .325/.367/.439 - The Yankees love Keppinger. At least as far back as 2010 they have tried to acquire him, but just always missed out. He actually broke his foot, but they’re still interested. Kepp would also be a very good platoon player with Chavez since he crushes lefties. However, he seems to be holding out for at least two-years and $8 million. Not sure if the Yankees will agree to that.
- Kevin Youkilis, 2012 BA/OBP/SLUG: .235/.335/.409 - The Yankees don’t think his body can hold up to playing everyday in the field, but we don’t know if they think he can hold up for half a year. I’d be willing to bet that they would be willing to try if he agreed to a modest one-year contract. He’s said to be willing to signing a one-year deal, but the perception was that he would want something close to the $12 million he earned last season.
- Yunel Escobar, 2012 BA/OBP/SLUG: .253/.299/.344 – The Marlins are desperate to trade Escobar and his $5 million contract (with a club option in 2014 and 2015 worth $5 million each) so it should’t take too much to get him in a trade. He seems more of a Plan D for the Yankees right now. If they miss out on some of their top options expect them to revisit this though.
- Marco Scutaro, 2012 BA/OBP/SLUG: .305/.348/.405 - The Yankees are out on Scutaro since the bidding has gotten to three-years and $24 million.
MY TAKE: An Eric Chavez and Jeff Keppinger pairing seem like the best bet because both could still be very useful after A-Rod returns. It just doesn’t seem like Youkilis is going to be doing the Yankees any favors by taking a one year deal. I just don’t see the Yankees offering him $10-$12 million. Escobar has been better throughout his career than he was last season. He also had some, ahem, distractions last season that could have hurt him. I think those distractions might scare off the Yankees who usually look for good clubhouse types.