Some of these guys might not be any better than the four young infielders already on the Yankees 40-man, but they’re all free agents and some would sign for less money than Jerry Hairston Jr. Do any of these five stand out as good options for the Yankees?
Yes: Started 74 games at shortstop for the Red Sox last season and got off to a strong start. He’s versatile and has some experience playing in New York after 75 at-bats with the Yankees in 2006. Probably available on a minor league deal.
No: Cooled considerably as last season progressed, finishing with a .236 average and .303 on-base percentage. Struggled with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2008. Has outfield experience, but he’s not especially good out there.
Yes: Generally considered a plus defensive player, has shown good power in the past and hit enough to be a solid everyday player in San Diego for five seasons. Got some time at third last year. He just turned 30 in October.
No: Past two years have been brutal, and last year he went on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder while playing in St. Louis. Moving to Yankee Stadium probably would not improve that situation.
Yes: Coming off a strong year with Oakland, where he hit .289 with 11 home runs while playing second and third. For his career he’s a .277 hitter. Stole 20 bags last year. Like Greene, he’s had considerable experience as an everyday player.
No: Hardly any experience at shortstop. Most of his big league time has come at second base, where the Yankees already have a pretty good left-handed hitter. You know, that Cano guy.
Yes: Hit .310/.383/.427 last season. Also has solid speed, though his stolen base total has significantly declined since his 44-steal season in 2006. Good mix of power and speed, very versatile.
No: His year-to-year stats have been fairly unpredictable. Most problematic, though, is the fact he signed for $3.5 million last year and hit more than enough to expect at least a similar contract this year.
Yes: Career .295 hitter four years removed from making the all-star team. Hit at least .280 for 12 straight seasons heading into last year. Considerable experience at every infield position.
No: Last season was by far the worst of his career: .232/.309/.276. He hit no home runs in 2009 for the first time in his career. He turns 39 in August.
There are others who might be available on a minor league deal — Ramon Martinez, Chris Burke, Miguel Cairo, etc. – but it might also be tough to sign one of those deals because of all the Yankees infielders already on the 40-man. If a veteran were to sign a minor league deal and not make the big league team in camp, his chances of a call-up out of Triple-A might not be good. Even his chances of playing time in Triple-A might not be good.