The New York Yankees are rumored to be close to acquiring Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs but that doesn’t mean the Yankees are going to stop there. The Yankees would still have several needs and Soriano would only address one of those needs, a need for power.
Yes, the Yankees are expecting Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Francisco Cervelli and possibly Alex Rodriguez back soon. However, if anything has been learned this season it is that you can’t count on injured players to come back and contribute at pre-injury levels, if they can at all. The Yankees, are still within striking distance of the playoffs and still feature a strong rotation despite C.C. Sabathia’s struggles and still have one of the best bullpens in the game. The only thing missing is the offense.
The offense is so bad at the moment that Soriano has actually out-homered the entire Yankees team in the month of July eight home runs to seven. While Soriano would address a major need for pop in the lineup he is, at most, a slightly below average fielder who figures to get a lot of at-bats at DH. Ideally, the Yankees will still need a right-handed platoon bat to pair with Lyle Overbay at first base and a catcher who is actually an upgrade over Chris Stewart and Austin Romine. You can even argue that a third base bat should be added to the list.
That is a ton of holes and not every one of them will get filled or filled properly. The Yankees have checked in on Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. Morneau is a left-handed bat and doesn’t fit the platoon profile but would be an upgrade over Overbay in general. However, nothing is even close to happening on that front and Brian Cashman’s check-in might be more due diligence than anything else.
Right now, the market is still developing and there aren’t many bats out there up for trade. Most of what is available doesn’t suit the Yankees’ needs. Ideally, Kendrys Morales of the Seattle Mariners would be the target for the Yankees. He is a switch-hitter who can play first base or the outfield and, of course, DH. Morales is an impending free agent, is only 30-years-old and has hit 15 home runs while hitting .280/.340/.462. However, the Mariners don’t seem anxious to part with Morales and might actually see Morales as part of the future in Seattle which would explain their reluctance to deal him.
The catching position is not Cashman’s top priority despite the complete lack of production at the position since Cervelli got hurt. Both Cashman and Joe Girardi seem content with what they have in defense-first types Stewart and Romine.
Expect the Yankees to try to fill the right-handed hitting first baseman hole but if nothing comes of it don’t be surprised. The Yankees might end up calling Randy Ruiz up from Triple-A to fill that need simply because there is no other option at this point. Either way, it won’t be for lack of trying as Cashman has been calling teams looking to fill the holes on his team created by age and injury just don’t be surprised if Soriano is the only bat the Yankees can acquire.