New York Yankees Not Looking For Outside Help In Outfield; Zolio Almonte A Front-Runner?
After Curtis Granderson suffered a fractured wrist in a spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays that will cost him the next ten weeks, most of the reactive speculations turned to whether or not the New York Yankees would call the Chicago Cubs for Alfonso Soriano, or a much less likely scenario of them contacting the Los Angeles Angels for Vernon Wells, also known as the most expensive bench player in baseball.
The team will apparently go with plan C – neither. Or, as GM Brian Cashman says, “we will focus on what we have at this time.”
So come on down, Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz, the Yankees could use either of you as a corner outfielder.
That’s the bad news, if you happen to be a Yankees fan these days.
The good news? Granderson will only be out a little over a month of the regular season, assuming all goes well. So, while the injury definitely hurts the team, it won’t be a season-sinking torpedo – that is, if Grandy can come back without any loss of his 40-homer power, anyway.
Still, the simple fact is that the Yankees are going to quickly find out the results of their plan, which is that there are no internal candidate that will adequately replace Grandy – not even for a few weeks, and not even in a platoon.
Both Diaz and Rivera were below-replacement value players in 2012, and if the team can even get them to field the occasional fly ball out there, that would be better than expected.
Given those circumstances, the team is probably best off prospecting, and the best fit might be Zolio Almonte, who has shown both power and speed in the minors, putting up a 21-15 season in AA in 2012.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was said to be “excited” about the 23-year old after Almonte homered in his first spring game, and that he has more experience than fellow prospect Adonis Garcia could give him a heads-up in the competition to be the team’s left fielder.
Either way, it’s going to be relatively uncharted territory for the Yankees, who will be forced to go with a potentially sub-replacement level outfielder for the first month-plus of the season.
The team had already determined that they would have win despite scoring fewer runs prior to the injury; if they can’t find someone from within the organization who can stay above water at the plate over those key first weeks, that plan to find an alternative to scoring really going to be put to the test right away.