Just taking a look at MLBTradeRumors selections for the ten best free agents still on the market. You’ll notice the list is dominated by starting pitchers, which seems to be a good thing for the Yankees. How many could the Yankees legitimately find a place for on the roster?
1. Prince Fielder – Obviously you could find a spot for him in any lineup, and I’m sure the Yankees would love to have him at DH, but he’s clearly going to price himself out of the running for pinstripes. The Yankees made their big first base investment three years ago.
2. Edwin Jackson – Obviously he’s the rumor of the moment, and he does fit the Yankees desire for a starting pitcher. Question is, how much are they willing to pay, and how many years is Jackson willing to accept?
3. Hiroki Kuroda – The Yankees have been connected to this starter as well. He’s older and certainly not a sure thing, but some of the intrigue of Kuroda comes from the assumption that he’d be willing to pitch on a one-year contract, keeping the Yankees from a potentially troublesome long-term deal.
4. Carlos Pena – In this market, he’s the poor man’s Fielder. Just like Fielder, it’s hard to imagine a spot for him on the Yankees roster.
5. Roy Oswalt – Is his back healthy? Has age caught up to him? What kind of commitment would it take? We’ve been asking the same Oswalt questions all winter, and the fact he hasn’t signed suggests the rest of the baseball world is asking those same questions still.
6. Javier Vazquez – Even if he weren’t likely to retire, is there any way the Yankees would go back to this well?
7. Bartolo Colon – Hard not to love what he did for the Yankees last year, but it’s also hard to trust that Colon could do it again this year. Certainly worth a low-risk contract, but is that enough to get him signed?
8. Jeff Francis – The lefty had a 4.82 ERA with the Royals last year. Once upon a time he was an interesting young starter. Now he’s a back-of-the-rotation veteran who’s probably not any better than any of the current Yankees starters.
9. Casey Kotchman – Pena is the poor man’s Fielder, and Kotchman is the poor man’s Pena. Some teams need a first baseman. The Yankees are not one of those teams.
10. Johnny Damon – Not much room for a left-handed hitting designated hitter who can vaguely play the outfield when necessary. Damon didn’t have a horrible year with the Rays, but his numbers are clearly trending the wrong direction.