In search of a veteran utility infielder
Yesterday, regarding the Yankees and their current bench, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote, “[Ramiro] Pena and [Kevin] Russo are versatile players and good defenders, but neither would provide sufficient offense if either Jeter or, more likely, A-Rod, was out for an extended period of time.” He then added that the “problem for the Yankees is finding a capable utility man who can fill in at short and third.” While we can ignore the fact that it would be difficult to find any shortstop or third baseman in baseball capable of “providing sufficient offense” if Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez are unable to play, I do think that Rosenthal is simply highlighting the fact that the Yankees do not have a particularly strong infield bench.
From a defensive perspective, that is not necessarily the case, though from an offensive viewpoint, it is certainly true. In addition, the Yankees also don’t have a veteran infielder – believe it or not, but they do have value – similar to Jerry Hairston Jr. in 2009. Therefore, as Rosenthal ultimately suggests, perhaps adding another player via trade is a good idea. Rosenthal randomly names Willie Bloomquist, John McDonald, Jayson Nix, and Ryan Theriot as possible targets, although he retreats and states that none are surefire upgrades compared to what the Yankees currently have (I would have to agree). I do think a versatile guy like Jeff Keppinger, who Mike Axisa suggests as a possible trade target, would make sense if he had a better glove (he’s average to below average). However, his bat, while not too strong – career .279/.332/.387 line – is enough to make him somewhat attractive as a bench player.
If the Padres were out of it, I could certainly see Brian Cashman chase J-Hair Jr. again. Other players that might pop up in rumors include Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell and possibly Washington’s Adam Kennedy.
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