Saturday, December 1, 2012

Possible Non-Tender Targets

(I could dig this guy.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Friday night's non-tender deadline has come and past, with not a whole lot of surprises or drama.  The Yankees, as expected, tendered contracts to all 5 of their Major League regulars who were arbitration eligible and also offered a deal to Jayson Nix, who was then designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Mariano Rivera after agreeing to a Triple-A assignment and invite to camp if he cleared waivers.

But that still leaves the open spots in right field and now catcher for 2013, as well as a pretty empty bench right now, and there were some players who were non-tendered by their clubs who could be viable fill-in options as part of the "1-year only" plan to build next season's roster.  After the jump, the 5 players who the Yankees could take a look at.

Ben Francisco- OF

Francisco is 31 and has bounced around a lot in the last few years.  He also experienced a serious down season with 3 team in 2012 (.291 wOBA, 82 wRC+ in 207 PA).  But there was a time when Francisco was a useful offensive player, and he still sports a career .329 wOBA and .167 ISO.  He would bring a right-handed bat to the lineup, but he's not much defensively so a platoon would be needed.  He's a "break in case of emergency" option only.

Geovany Soto- C

He was horrible last season (.271 wOBA, 62 wRC+), and is known to be a bit of a butcher behind the dish, but with the Yankees' current internal crop of catchers what's the harm in having more stuff to throw at the wall?  Soto, like Francisco, has some solid past production to draw from.  And like a recent former Yankee catcher he brings right-handed power, the ability to take a walk, and got absolutely murdered on BABIP this season (.222).

Ian Stewart- 3B

After a positive start to his career with the Rockies, Stewart has battled injuries and declining performance the last 2 years.  When he is on, he can draw walks at a very good rate (10.3% career), hit for power, and play a serviceable third base.  He's risky given the wrist problems, but Stewart is still just 27.  With the Yankees needing IF help and Jayson Nix no guarantee to clear waivers, Stewart could be worth a try on a MiL deal.

Nate Schierholtz- OF

If the Yanks decide to go the platoon route in right field, Schierholtz would be an ideal lefty candidate.  The 28-year-old makes a fair amount of contact, has just enough pop in his bat to be dangerous, and rates as a plus defensive player.  As a lefty swinger, the opportunity to improve his power numbers with the short porch in right is always there, and Schierholtz already has tons of experience as a part-time player.

Mark Reynolds- IF/DH

This might be the most interesting case of all.  Reynolds strikes out WAAAAAAAAAYYYYY too much (32.6% career) and isn't a great defensive player by any stretch of the imagination.  But he's also a premiere power hitter (181 career HR in 6 seasons, .240 career ISO), draws a ton of walks (11.9%), and is under 30.  Reynolds would bring a much-needed righty power bat into the lineup, and could get plenty of ABs as a righty platoon DH and as a backup at the corner infield spots.  If the O's didn't want him, then the market for him probably won't be too pricey.  He's killed the Yanks before, and he could do a lot of damage with them as well.

There are some pitchers that were non-tendered, guys like Jair Jurrjens, John Lannan, and former Yankee Jeff Karstens, but none of them really fit in with what the Yankees want or need, from a starter or reliever spot.  If the Yankees are going to fish in the non-tender pond, the guys above will be the most likely targets.

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