Minor Key

The Red Sox signed Brad Wilkerson to a minor league deal yesterday.  Wilkerson is a very poor man’s version of Adam Dunn.  Let me qualify that a bit more.  He walks a fair amount and hits for a low average.  He has shown power but since 2007, that power has all but disappeared.  He has really struggled the past two seasons and I see this signing strictly as a depth deal.

Wilkerson can play all 3 outfield spots and first base.

Ideally, he goes to Pawtucket and finds some at bats there and tries to regain his old form.  His old form wasn’t anything to get too excited about, but he could get on base and slug a bit.  Wilkerson is a call-up option if Mark Kotsay gets hurt and if the Red Sox feel they need a veteran in place of a Jeff Bailey or Chris Carter.

In other news, old friend/fiend Manny Ramirez turned down a 1-year, $25mm offer from the Dodgers yesterday.  I don’t know about you, but given the state of the economy and the state of Manny’s reputation, I’d have accepted that deal.  It would have allowed him to play for a new long-term deal next year and would’ve allowed him to show the baseball world he isn’t as big a distraction as people think.

I just cannot see him landing a multi-year deal given the glut of free agents on the market.  So sad for Manny.

Book Club

According to the nice people at Amazon.com, I should have a copy of "The Yankee Years" in my hands sometime tomorrow.  I plan to start posting on it shortly after that.  I will probably break it up into multiple posts over the balance of this week. If any of you are reading it, feel free to share your thoughts as well here or shoot me an email (peter@yankeesredsox.com)

Bargain Shopping

Well we are now less than two weeks to pitchers and catchers and there are almost 100 guys who are still free agents.  At what point do the Yankees get back into the free agent market, if only to improve the bench?  I am not recommending they sign Manny Ramirez, but at this point I think there are some names out there they could sign for very low money and possibly for non-guaranteed money.   

I know Pudge was a disaster with the bat during his two months in Yankees’ uniform last season, but the Yankees still don’t know if Posada will be able to catch all season.  Rodriguez didn’t show it while he was here, but he still has more offensive upside than Molina, while providing similar defense.  If Posada can’t catch, the Yankees need all the options they can get.  How about signing Pudge to an incentive-based deal and seeing what happens in camp?

The other main area I have of concern is with the majority of the infield.  What happens if A-Rod, Cano or Jeter gets hurt and has to miss time?  I don’t like the choice of Berroa or Ransom to fill in, so how about some different names?  Start with Ray Durham who rebounded from a terrible 2007 and hit pretty well in 2008.  Therer are two obvious downsides with Durham, his age and the fact that he has only really played second in his career.  But, he can still play second well and that might translate to other positions on the infield.  He is a switch-hitter and had a .380 OBP last season (.352 for his career).  

A different idea would be to sign Nomar.  (On a side note, Imagine going in a time machine back to 1999 and telling people that of the three great shortstops at that time (A-Rod, Jeter and Nomar) only one would still be with his original team and still a shortstop.  You would be laughed out of the room.)  Nomar gets hurt way too much, but when he is healthy he can still hit (.264/.326/.466).  More importantly, he played short again in 2008 and also third and first.  Nomar is still searching for a job and searching for a World Series ring, would he come to New York to try and get both on a minor league deal? 

There are so many good outfielders out there, but the Yankees don’t have room for any right now.  With Nady and Swisher still on the roster and Melky out of options, there is no point in discussing them.  If they manage to trade someone in the next few weeks, they could look to this market too.