Mark Teixeira has missed all but four games so far this season, Brian Roberts is day-to-day with a sore back, Francisco Cervelli is on the 60-day disabled list, Brendan Ryan hasn’t played at all since early in Spring Training, and even Derek Jeter has missed three of the last four games.
None of that is expected to force the Yankees to upgrade their infield.
With infielder Stephen Drew and first baseman Kendrys Morales still free agents, the Yankees could easily upgrade too, but a source told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com that there is “no way” that the Yankees will sign either player.
“Nobody’s signing Drew or Morales, not at the money they’re asking,” the source told Matthews.
The Yankees spent nearly $500 million to improve the team over the offseason and failed to reach their goal of getting payroll below $189 million as a result. Despite that, they still went cheap when it came to putting together the infield, an infield that had giant red flags that have already come back to bite them in the ass.
Morales has hit .275/.329/.457 over the last two seasons and could help keep Teixeira healthy. Teixeira is expected back as soon as Sunday, but has already been in steep decline and admitted that his seriously injured wrist will never be the same.
Drew would perhaps be a bigger help as he could fill in for Jeter, Roberts (who nobody expects to play even 100 games this year) and Kelly Johnson at third occasionally. Drew hit .256/.332/.422 since 2010 and plays solid defense.
Part of the issue is that the Yankees would need to give up a draft pick for signing either player. Unlike other teams, it wouldn’t cost the Yankees a first round pick though because they have already given up picks for Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Which means that the Yankees would only have to give up a fourth or fifth round pick for either or both players. At this point it is a small cost especially considering they are rumored to be set to break the bank to sign international free agents.
Then there is also the fact that the Yankees, despite going over $189 million in payroll, have still been extremely cheap. They spent a lot of money during the offseason, but they had a lot of money coming off the books. This year’s opening day payroll of $197 million is the lowest since 2007. They made a minimal effort to keep Robinson Cano and never made a significant attempt to sign real infielders and instead decided to go after journeymen like Dean Anna and the oft-injured Roberts instead.