You know who’s having a great winter? Ken Rosenthal. He and his teammate, Jon Paul Morosi, over at FOX Sports have been on top of everything this offseason. But, assuming you don’t care much about the media scorecard, here’s why it crossed my mind today: It was Rosenthal who reported last night that Scott Hairston was off the market, and it was Rosenthal who reported this morning that the Braves were close to a trade for Justin Upton.
With that, a thin right-handed outfield market is looking even thinner.
Upton and Mike Morse have been traded — not to the Yankees, obviously — and Giancarlo Stanton has always appeared to be more of a pipe dream than a realistic target. Brian Cashman might have a surprise up his sleeve, but right now the trade market doesn’t have any obvious targets left.
A little less than three weeks ago, Hairston headlined a group of 10 free agent outfielders who I singled out as potential right-handed options for the Yankees. Now that Hairston has signed, only three of those original 10 remain:
Coming off a bad year, but he’s hit .296/.344/.498 against lefties in his career. If you can overlook his 2012 struggles, he was still awfully good against lefties in 2011 and 2010. Can play second and third if necessary.
Might be overly generous to say he’s still an outfielder. Slugged just .298 against lefties last year, but as recently as 2011 he hit .348/.413/.615 against lefties.
Power numbers have been slipping in recent years, but Rivera still hit .260/.312/.433 against lefties last season. He’s a career .285/.332/.488 hitter against them. The Dodgers primarily used him at first base last year.
If the Yankees can’t find a more proven solution, it seems that at least one of Matt Diaz (veteran signed to a minor league deal), Russ Canzler (claimed off waivers) or Thomas Neal (young guy on a minor league deal) will have to win a roster spot this spring. In-house minor leaguers Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte and Ronnier Mustelier could also get a long look, despite the fact none of those three has a full year of Triple-A experience (Mustelier came close last year).