The New York Yankees are currently missing a whole lot of power and a regular left fielder, and guess what? Power-hitting Brennan Boesch has just been given his unconditional release by the Detroit Tigers.
Time to get those phones working, Brian Cashman:
#yankees have some interest in brennan boesch and will consider him
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 13, 2013
Oh, I think they could probably do a little bit better than just consider the guy.
Boesch had been the odd man out for the Tigers after the team acquired Torii Hunter this past off-season, and the team elected to simply let him to go save $1.9 million remaining of his $2.3 million contract. The 27-year old posted a disappointing .240/.286/.372 triple slash in 2012, and that he’s a sub-par defender didn’t help his case any either.
That said, he’s just about a perfect fit as a patchwork replacement for Curtis Granderson.
No, the .240 average isn’t exactly a strong vote of confidence, but that didn’t exactly stop Granderson (.232 BA in 2012) from being a player of value in New York. What Boesch has is lefty pull power, and 10 of his 12 homers last year landed on the right side of the field.
Obviously, hitting in the famed short porch of Yankee Stadium would probably help him out in that area (unsurprisingly, he owns a .908 OPS in New York over eight games), and immediately give the team a better option than say, Matt Diaz or Juan Rivera both on the field and in the lineup.
While Boesch isn’t exactly a good defender (-10.7 UZR/150), he is slightly better in left than he is in right field, having saved 12 defensive runs there over 98 starts in his career. He won’t have Grandy’s speed on there, but has a bit of a better arm; besides, wasn’t Granderson moving to the corner a direct result of his sub-par defense at center to begin with?
It’s easy to have a short memory in baseball, but it was only around this time last season that the Tigers had very high hopes for Boesch as a No. 2 hitter in front of Miguel Cabrera, and Boesch was a buzzy name as a potential sleeper among fantasy baseball circles after a 1.7 fWAR campaign that saw him in 16 homers over 472 PA with a .799 OPS.
He is just 27-years old and in his prime, even if inconsistency has hurt his chances with the Tigers. Sure, a down year took Boesch out of a situation to succeed in Detroit, but a change to scenery to a fitting park could help him get back there — just look at what happened to Ichiro Suzuki last season.
As a free agent available on a small contract, it’s essentially a no-brainer for the outfield-needy Yankees.