Jobu previews a couple of more possible free agent targets for the Yankees.
It’s been hard to get myself to sit down and write an article about who I want the Yankees to sign, because they seemingly aren’t making any efforts to sign anyone. Torii Hunter, one of my proposed targets, signed with the Detroit Tigers. I haven’t heard a peep about anyone else I have profiled either. For the sake of you fans, I’ll carry on the charade and profile a couple more guys for you.
The Yankees are looking for Scott Hairston to fill the role that Andruw Jones filled over the last two seasons. They are hoping that Hairston does a much better job, though. Jones basically had two good halves in his Yankees career (the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2012).
I think Hairston provides an upgrade over Jones in almost every aspect of the game. First of all, Hairston is younger than Jones (32 to 36). Like Jones, he has a lot of power (20 HR and 57 RBI in 377 ABs last season with the New York Mets). Like Jones, he also mashes lefties (.286/.317/.550 with 11 HR in 188 ABs last season). Unlike Jones, though, Hairston was pretty servicable against righties too. He only hit .239 against them, but did mash 9 HR in 188 ABs.
As far as defense goes, Jones is far removed from his days as a Gold Glove winning centerfielder. Watching him in the outfield last year was pretty frustrating, as he basically refused to run unless he had to. Once he was around the ball, he was a great defender, but that lack of hustle and speed definitely cost the Yankees a couple of base runners. Hairston is not an ace defender, but he’s got a glove that can play both corner outfield spots and even fill in in center in a pinch too. If Gardner, Granderson or (maybe if they sign him) Ichiro ever lose significant time to injury in 2013, Hairston will be much better equipped to fill in than Jones or Ibañez, whom the Yankees were stuck with in the outfield far too many times in 2012.
The Yankees love themselves a guy who they can put on their bench and play in multiple positions. They had Jayson Nix playing all over the field last season, and tried to turn Eduardo Núñez into that super utility player as well. Jeff Keppinger cannot play the outfield, but he might be the perfect fit for the infield bench spot that will surely be vacated by Eric Chavez.
At 32, Keppinger is relatively young, and he has played at all four infield positions over the last few seasons (mostly third and first since 2011 though). In a pinch, he can fill in for A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira and even Canó when the big four need days off, or DH days. The Yankees have always been interested in Keppinger, and have attempted to trade for him a couple of times in recent years, so it’s no surprise that they’re interested in him.
Last year, “Kepp!!”, as I dubbed him during a drunken game of MLB The Show with my good buddy Dr. Draft, played with the hated Tampa Bay Rays and did fairly well for himself. He ended up getting nearly 400 ABs, which is a pretty solid workload, and he hit .325/.367/.439 with 9 HR and 40 RBI.
While Keppinger isn’t a game changer, I think he’s equal to, if not better than, Eric Chavez. He’s also a lot younger and more physically reliable than Chavez too. If they manage to pick him up, Kepp will be a welcome addition to the Yankees bench.
Featured image courtesy of: The Associated Press
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