A Nick Swisher reunion seems unlikely, it’s looking more and more like Torii Hunter is going to sign elsewhere, and the other top free agent outfielders are risky long-term commitments, which seem to be exactly the sort of deals the Yankees are trying to avoid. So is there a way to piece together an outfield with a bunch of spare parts?
Barring an unexpected trade, Curtis Granderson is locked into one spot for the Yankees. Brett Gardner is at least a regular – if not an everyday guy – in another spot. Today, Dan Martin reported that the Yankees have had some early conversations about bringing Raul Ibanez back in a platoon role. He’s not a particularly good outfielder, but he can get by, and he can still hit right-handed pitching.
Who could complete the picture?
Shane Victorino and Ryan Ludwick could be regular right fielders who occasionally sit against right-handers, but it might be tough to get either one on a one-year deal. Cody Ross could bring some right-handed balance, but he seems to be a pretty popular name in this market. Scott Hairston and Reed Johnson have been semi-regulars with pretty good numbers, but it’s hard to label either one as an everyday guy. Matt Diaz and Jonny Gomes are strictly platoon options.
Of course, Melky Cabrera is out there as a complete wild card in this market.
There are always plenty of corner outfielders on the free agent market. That’s the good news for the Yankees. There are also huge offensive expectations from those positions. That’s the hard part.
Outfield corners should be relatively easy to fill, so it makes sense for the Yankees to view those spots as opportunities to save money and cut into that payroll. Question is, in this free agent market, is it possible to piece together an outfield that would make the Yankees comfortable heading into 2013?
Associated Press photo