Fielder is all but certain to hit the free agent market, Pujols might be there with him, and those are exactly the kind of impact free agent the Yankees notoriously target. They’re two of the very best hitters in the game, still in their prime, and one of them could be had for the right price.
But the Yankees don’t seem to have room for them. Not this time.
Given Alex Rodriguez’s injury concerns, Jesus Montero’s emergence, and Mark Teixeira’s long-term deal at first base, the Yankees roster doesn’t have space for another first baseman/designated hitter. Even someone in the Fielder/Pujols category doesn’t necessarily fit.
It’s a timing issue. Back in 2008, the timing was perfect for the Yankees make a huge splash with Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. This winter, the timing isn’t quite right. Two big bats could hit the market, and neither fits the Yankees needs.
As Joel Sherman pointed out this weekend, this winter the Yankees seem likely to stay — for the most part — within the organization. If they go on a spending spree, pitching will be the target, not hitting.
There will be fans calling for a Fielder-sized signing, but the timing and the roster make that sort of addition unlikely.
All the more reason that the Yankees need a healthy year from Rodriguez, a bounce-back from Teixeira and an as-expected impact from Montero.
Assocaited Press photo