Now that Jerry Hairston Jr. has officially signed with the Padres, the free agent utility market looks pretty thin for the Yankees. It was never especially deep to begin with, but without Hairston — who was, in my opinion, the most logical fit — there’s no longer a standout candidate.
Hairston can play the outfield, but it doesn’t seem the Yankees ever saw him as the sort of right-handed outfielder they’re looking for. “I see him as a utility player who can play the outfield,” Brian Cashman said this weekend.
Now that Hairston has signed with San Diego and Khalil Green has signed with Texas, the other utility types still on the market either don’t have much experience at shortstop (Adam Kennedy), have the potential to be fairly expensive (Felipe Lopez) or have begun showing signs of aging (Mark Loretta). Any of those three might be able to help the Yankees, or it might be time to fully concede the utility job to one of the younger players already on the roster.
Among Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo, Eduardo Nunez and Reegie Corona, the Yankees should be able to find someone to fill that role. There could eventually be a non-roster invitation for a veteran infielder to also compete for the job.