The 2013 Baseball Winter Meetings are just about to come to a close, and the New York Yankees are no further along in their goal of replacing the departed Robinson Cano than they were at the beginning of the week. Plenty of names have been thrown around, and over the past couple of days, rumors have circulated as to who is coming to the Bronx, and who is not and why. It’s time to break down some of the options for the Yankees moving forward.
- Free agent Omar Infante: As recently as Thursday morning, the Yankees were actively involved in trying to bring Infante to the Bronx. It has been reported that the Yankees offered 3-years and $24 million to Infante, who rejected the offer and is seeking a fourth year on his contract. The other team involved in pursuing Infante are the Kansas City Royals. If the Royals give Infante a fourth year offer, he is off the board for the Yankees.
- Trade option Brandon Phillips: News began to break late Wednesday night that the Cincinnati Reds offered up the Gold Glove winner Phillips straight up for speedy outfielder Brett Gardner. The Yankees rejected the offer, and now more information is coming to light as to why. First, the Yankees are not thrilled with Phillips’ declining slash lines at the plate, posting .261/.396/.706 and .281/.429/.750 in each of the past two seasons. He is still owed $50 million on his current deal, and the Yankees believe he might ask for more money to waive his no-trade clause to come to New York.
- Free agent Mark Ellis: A much cheaper option than both Infante and Phillips, Ellis’ option was declined by the Los Angeles Dodgers making him a free agent. He would be an attractive option for the Yankees on a short-term deal, as Ellis turns 38 years old in June. He can handle the bat to the clip of a .270 or better batting average in two of his last three seasons, and is a plus defender with the leather. Ellis would slot into the bottom third of the Yankees batting order, and could provide a good platoon situation with free agent signing Kelly Johnson.
- Trade option Dan Uggla: The Atlanta Braves have put Uggla on the market, looking for anyone to take him off their hands, as injuries and a poor batting performance in 2013 has made him expendable. Uggla’s defense gets knocked quite a bit, as he made 14 errors in 595 chances in ’13. What he does provide to the Yankees, is right-handed power, having averaged 30+ home runs in five of his last seven seasons. Uggla might be a nice bounce back, change of scenery candidate for the Yankees. The Braves have always liked infielder Eduardo Nunez, and this deal could benefit both sides. Uggla still has 2-years at $13 million per left on his current contract.
- Free agent Brian Roberts: The 36-year old Roberts has missed over 400 games over the past four seasons, making him expendable by the Baltimore Orioles. Various injuries including hip, groin, and concussion issues have derailed a once-promising career. Questions will always be there about his health, and he may have to accept a 1-year deal for low dollars to prove he can remain healthy. When he’s healthy, he is a doubles and stolen base machine. The Yankees could look to take out a flier and platoon him with Johnson to keep him healthy.
As the winter moves closer to spring, Brian Cashman is the only one who can determine what will work best for the Yankees in their search to replace Cano. They don’t need a superstar, but they need stability and someone who can contribute both at the plate and in the field.