Yesterday at the MLB winter meetings, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman reminded reporters that Hal Steinbrenner‘s goal to get the payroll under $189 million in 2014 is just that, a goal. It is not a mandate. Even though it is widely assumed that Alex Rodriguez will serve a suspension for some if not all of the 2014 season, there is a possibility that his suspension could be overturned. In that case, the Yankees would need to pay him almost $30 million, and the $189 million goal will absolutely not be achieved. However, in the event that the Yankees do not have to pay Rodriguez in 2014, they would be be wise to exercise some financial restraint in filling out the rest of their lineup holes.
Following the departure of Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners last week, the Yankees are focused on finding a second baseman to replace him in addition to an option at third base. The best option for the Yankees at third is a familiar face. Mark Reynolds joined the team last year in August after being released by the Cleveland Indians. His numbers were, admittedly, not great. In 36 games and 120 plate appearances, Reynolds posted a .236/.300/.455 line and struck out 31 times. Yikes. He’s not great as a defensive third baseman either.
So why re-sign him? Michael Young is a much better hitter, and the Yankees apparently want him bad. He’s a career .300 hitter and posted a respectable .279 last year with the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. Young is also 37 years old and would be much more expensive than Reynolds having made $16 million last year.
Reynolds made $6 million last year, and the Yankees could most likely get him for $5 million, especially since he has voiced a desire to remain in pinstripes. He can also play first base, providing an option to fill in for Mark Teixeira if his injury issues flare up. It’s also completely within the realm of possibility that Reynolds could be good for 30 home runs despite his strikeout woes. The best part – he’s only 30 years old! Even if Reynolds isn’t going to be the Yankee third baseman of the future, some youth at the hot corner would help the Yankees avoid the injury barrage of 2013 all over again.
It’s time to sign someone who isn’t on their last tank of gas. It’s also time to display some frugality. But as we all know, the Yankees are still the Yankees. Young is their guy if they can get him.