Man, its been two whole days with no real new news with the Yankees. I think I am going through withdrawl. Maybe its a good thing we haven’t heard anything yet, I really don’t want to see us trading Melky, Proctor or somebody who has proven themselves before we get our full first. Though, you have to admit, Cashman has held the reigns rock tight this year and I am eager for the 2007 season.
With that, lets look at 10 best free agents who could still help the Yankees assuming we find some space for them on a very crowded team. The other option is minor league contracts to give some opportunity for those mid-season call-ups that can either make or break your season.
10. Victor Zambrano SP 31 years old. I know, I know, injuries, failure to utilize his talent. But, remember its only been a few years since Zambrano was the highlight of a bad Tampa Bay team. He is coming off surgery and is reported to be working harder than ever to get back. Why not sign him to a minor league contract and see how things play out, given the talent is there.
9. Shannon Stewart OF – 32 years old. Stewart was hurt last year and played in only 44 games. Despite the bad news, Stewart is a gifted athlete who has a career batting average of .299 and has good speed and is still relatively young at 32 and can still play.
8. Eduardo Perez 1B – 37 years old. Perez is the son of HOF great Tony Perez. Sure, Perez isn’t the first name you think of to fill out a spot. However, assuming the 1B platoon dosen’t work, here you get a decent backup who has a little power and can still add some benefits to a club in a classic PH, Bench Player role.
7. Aaron Guiel RF 34 years old. So Guiel isn’t a name you think of when looking at quality bench players. Though, you may be right, let us remember he did perform quite well for the Yankees last year and reguardless of what people might think, he is a far better option than Miguel Cairo. Guiel can not only play the OF, but 1B as well giving the Yankees good depth in those areas.
6. Bruce Chen SP 29 years old. Chen was a failure at Baltimore. Then again, haven’t most pitchers coming from Baltimore in the past few years struggled? Chen has the talent, is still young and I believe capable of becoming a good #4 or #5 starter. Why not take Chen on a minor league contract, work with his control and see how things work. Worst case is you have another ML ready backup if the starting rotation blows up with injuries or something.
5. Dan Kolb RP 31 years old. Talk about a career that rides like a wave in Hawaii. Sometimes great and sometimes not so great. However, Kolb is a decent reliever who can get the job done and has some closing experience should God forbid Rivera goes on the DL. We know how Torre likes to work his bullpen and Kolb would be a nice edition.
4. Tomo Ohka SP 30 years old. Tomo is a solid Japanese pitcher who has done a fairly decent job in the majors, despite being on some poor teams. He is very capable and a lot of teams are looking into his playing on their team. With Igewa, Mastui and Ohka, why not add another in Ichiro for 2008 when he becomes an FA after this season. Ohka is definately worth a shot, even if the Yankees have plenty of arms to fall back on.
3. Darin Erstad OF/1B 32 years old. Okay, forget about taking Guiel when Erstad would be a tremendous addition to the Yankee line-up. Forget the CF position, he has been playing 1B lately and doing it fairly well. Erstad isn’t flashy, and isn’t going to put up mind numbing numbers, but he is a good, solid veteran who can more than fill in at 1B or even the OF if needed.
2. Bernie Williams OF/DH 38 years old. Um, its Bernie. Why is he not signed yet? Okay, so he can’t really play the OF anymore, but he can still hit and yes he can fill in once in awhile in the OF. More importantly, Bernie is a true Yankee who is heading towards the highlight of his career. He is a great role model for youngins like Cano and Cabrera and I think even if Williams rides the bench most of the season, he presence in the clubhouse is the added benefit. This is a guy who I can see becoming a great coach for the Yankees in the future and I want to see him one more year.
1. Roger Clemens SP 44 years old. Did you have to ask who #1 would be. Were only talking about one of the greatest pitchers of all time and who owes us Yankees something for retiring only to come back as a ‘Stro to pitch three more phenominal years. Imagine if we had Clemens pitchings a 2.30 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP for us last year. Clemens is the best pitcher in the game right now and even if for a half of a season, drop $20 mil into his account and bring the future HOF to the team.
Other intriguing free agent options – Steve Trachel SP, Aaron Sele SP, Ron Villone RP, Miguel Perez C, Tony Armas SP, Ronnie Belliard 2B, Mike DeJean RP, Alex Gomez OF, Rick Helling SP, Fernando Tatis 3B, and Jamey Wright SP.