At What Price an Outfielder?
Bubba Crosby's return is today, which means he may unfortunately become the regular right fielder. It doesn't appear Joe Torre is ever going to give Kevin Thompson a chance to play despite the fact that he's the best defensive option and has performed well at the plate when inserted into the lineup (play TWO rookies in the outfield?! Never!!!). While Torre had previously said that Thompson was likely to head to Columbus once Bubba was ready to return, the Bombers demoted infielder Nick Green today instead. Still, this doesn't offer much hope for Thompson beyond a pinch runner or maybe a defensive replacement for Bernie Williams (though Torre has seemed reluctant to pull Williams). Bernie can still hit from the right side but is a corpse from the left and plays defense like an extra from a George Romero flick.
The market for outfielders isn't exactly bustling right now, but there are some options.
Taking a glance at possibilities:
Ken Griffey, Jr. - an oft injured, aging player who is not having a particularly good offensive season and is owed one kajillion dollars per year through 2009. While this would help fulfill Steinbrenner's dream of having every member of the Springfield Nuclear Powerplant Softball team (Mattingly, check. Sax, check. Boggs, check. Canseco, check. Strawberry, check. Clemens, check. Smith, retired, Scioscia.. manager in waiting? Griffey....?) Pass. Reggie Sanders - Serviceable major league outfielder who seems to be way too expensive. According to the Star-Ledger, the Yankees turned down the Royals offer of Sanders for top prospect Phillip Hughes. I guess Dayton Moore wants to make a big splash as the new GM, but he's pricing himself out of the Sanders market.Pat Burrell - Nice option, most likely would cost too much in terms of talent. The Phillies are contenders. Craig Wilson - Excellent flexibility, can play corner OF and 1B. A great choice and the Pirates don't seem to utilize him. Probably would not be too expensive in terms of talent.David Dellucci - A return to the Bronx for Dellucci? Can play all three OF positions and doesn't seem to be a gameday choice for Charlie Manuel. Could be had, probably cheaply. Ryan Church - What happened to the stock of Church? Last year he was a Rookie of the Year candidate; this year, buried in the minors. Would probably not cost too much and has huge upside and youth. Xavier Nady - Would be a good choice, but is there a fit between the Mets and Yankees? Doubtful. Jeff DaVanon - Started off the year red-hot, has cooled down greatly. Would be a fill in only, is more of a bench/role player. Shawn Green - If it's a salary dump, Green could be cheap in terms of trade bait. Not the same player he once was, but still amoungst the cream of this crop. Bobby Abreu - Fantastic player, but I can't see the Phillies making him available cheaply enough to warrant a deal. If he is, grab him and grab him quick.
Alfonso Soriano - Will be a free agent at the end of the year, and seems unlikely to re-sign in Washington. Expect a bidding war for his services (could he play second for the Mets? Would the Red Sox get involved?) Would probably cost too much in terms of talent for a player that will be a FA after the season. Dave Roberts - The Padres will have an extra outfielder once Ryan Klesko returns, as there is little evidence he'll replace Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Should the Padres fall out of contention, it's possible Roberts could become available. Jose Guillen - Probably brings as many problems as he does answers, but wouldn't cost as much as Soriano. Aubrey Huff - If he's cheap, could be a decent fill-in. Adam Dunn - His name comes up every year. If he's available and the cost isn't Phil Hughes, he's the one to go for.
Out of those listed above, based on cost and production (I am not willing to sacrifice Hughes unless there's a Miguel Cabrera in return) the players I would like to see pursued are, in order:
Other than Dunn and Abreu, they seem to be the least expensive options. A superstar isn't needed - there are two on the DL already. However the Bernie/Bubba tandem just isn't going to work for the long term.
Neither Sheffield nor Matsui are returning any time soon, if at all. If the Yankees do acquire an outfielder, and they both return at some point, it will be a nice problem to have as the DH spot could be filled by Sheffield, Matsui, or the replacement with a combination of Cabrera, Damon and one of the three in the outfield. It's also not outside the realm of possibility that Matsui or (more likely) Sheffield pick up some first base time. I thought Bernie would be getting some playing time there this year, but there's no doubt in my mind that Sheffield could handle it as a former infielder (well, physically, as long as his ego allows it).
The only possible downside would be that Cabrera could be pushed to the bench, but while that would be a short term issue, he's poised to take over in right or left field in 2007.
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 9:33 AM