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New York Yankees: With Ramon Hernandez DFA by Rockies, Bombers Should Pursue

I’ve never been comfortable with the Yankees’ current catching situation.

Especially because the Yankees lost their previous one, who was looking for more money, to free agency.

And then, I got an idea for a potential starter.

On Tuesday, I had first mentioned the idea of Ramon Hernandez for the Yankees.

That was after it was announced that Yorvit Torrealba would make the Colorado Rockies and Hernandez was likely either to be traded or cut.

On Friday, the Colorado Rockies designated Hernandez for assignment, and they will have 10 days to either trade or release the catcher.

Hernandez is due $3.2 million in 2013, but if the Rockies end up having to release him, Colorado has to pay him the whole amount, and whomever Hernandez signs with next would only have to pay him the minor league minimum.

Whether it be a trade or signing him as a free agent, I still think the Yankees need to pursue the veteran catcher for the 2013 season.

Back on March 17, Jon Heyman from CBS Sports had said the Rays, Phillies, Angels and Pirates all could have interest in Hernandez, but the Yankees hadn’t inquired yet.

That was March 17. We’re nearing the end of March now, almost two full weeks later, and there are multiple injuries to the Yankees offense to take into consideration.

The Yankees currently have Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart as their two main catchers on the roster, but neither one is really suited to be a starter and should be a backup used for defensive purposes.

With Hernandez, it would give the Yankees a little extra pop in their lineup that they wouldn’t get from either Cervelli or Stewart.

Joe Pawlikowski from River Ave. Blues also talked about the idea of the Yankees looking into Hernandez once he was designated for assignment or released.

In 2012, Hernandez only played in 52 games for the Rockies due to a hand injury.

If Hernandez is healthy, he’s capable of hitting .270-.290 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI while playing 100-120 games.

He also has a career .990 fielding percentage behind the plate and has handled many pitching staffs, as he has played for the A’s, Padres, Orioles, Reds and Rockies in the past.

Some other teams could use Hernandez as a potential backup, but Hernandez makes perfect sense for them the Yankees, because both Stewart and Cervelli are not very strong suitors to be everyday catchers.

Plus, it would only be for one season and wouldn’t block either Austin Romine’s or Gary Sanchez’s progress toward the majors if they got the call.

The most ideal situation would be the Yankees waiting the 10-day period for Colorado to release Hernandez and the Yankees could then sign him for a veteran’s minimum of $400,000.

Or, the Yankees and Brian Cashman could work out a deal with Dan O’Dowd to take Hernandez and work out how much of the $3.2 million the Rockies would be on the hook for.

I know the Yankees have a lot of age and experience already on the roster, but the catching situation has been neglected since Russell Martin left as a free agent.

Acquiring Hernandez would be a short-term solution for 2013, but a good one to make.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.


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Report: New York Yankees Interested in Veteran 1B Lyle Overbay

The Yankees search for veteran help continues.

After trading for Vernon Wells, who will be the team’s starting left fielder at the start of 2013, they are now looking at a potential first basemen.

According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN, the Yankees are looking into Lyle Overbay.

Sources: Yankees looking at Lyle Overbay…

The 36-year-old Overbay was released from the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday and is now free to sign anywhere he chooses.

With Mark Teixeira on the disabled list until at least the end of May, the Yankees are scrambling and searching for options.

The Bombers could have moved Kevin Youkilis over to first base, but would rather leave him at third and look for a temporary solution at first.

With Overbay, he could either be signed to a minor-league deal—or even a major-league deal—for the veteran’s minimum, and once Teixeira comes back from injury, could either be a pinch-hitter, or the Yankees could simply release him.

In 2012, Overbay played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves, hitting .259 with two home run and 10 RBI.

The Yankees have been using Juan Rivera mostly at first base during the spring, but that hasn’t stopped Brian Cashman from exploring the market.

Buster Olney of ESPN thinks it’s an unlikely fit that the Yankees will sign Overbay, but it won’t stop them from looking at him.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens if Teixeira needs surgery and could be forced to miss the entire 2013 season.

If that happens, the Yankees may need to make another deal, potentially for Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins.

As a short-term solution, Overbay would be a decent option, but not for the entire season.

Stay tuned to see if the interest is legit, or if the Yankees are doing their due diligence.

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New York Yankees: Should Bombers Consider Ramon Hernandez for Starting Catcher?

The Yankees are in major need of offense for 2013.

It’s the reason why they have traded for Vernon Wells and have picked up $13 million of the remaining $42 million left on his contract.

He’ll be the starting left fielder until Curtis Granderson returns from the disabled list.

One position that the Yankees could still look to improve on is catcher.

All winter long, I have been stressing on how the Yankees should look into different options because both Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart are not the best options as starters.

I have an idea that could be developing in the near future.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, there is a very good chance that the Colorado Rockies release Ramon Hernandez soon.

Wilin Rosario will be the Rockies starting catcher and Yorvit Torrealba will likely win the backup job, which is why the Rockies are currently exploring a trade.

However, as Rosenthal stated, the Rockies might end up having to release Hernandez and will be on hook to pay him the remaining $3.2 million of his deal.

If that is the case, I think the Yankees should take a look at Hernandez to be their catcher for 2013.

Cody Derespina of Newsday also made the suggestion of the Yankees taking a look at Hernandez for their catcher spot.

As far as money goes, since the Rockies would be on hook for the rest of Hernandez’s salary, all the Yankees would have to give him is a veteran’s minimum for a deal.

Hernandez’s defense might not be as strong as Stewart or Cervelli’s, especially since he’s 36, going on 37 years old in May.

But what Hernandez has to offer over those two is a stronger bat, something they lost when Russell Martin bolted to the Pittsburgh Pirates in free agency.

The Yankees weren’t too keen on the idea of paying Martin $8.5 million per season, but $400,000 for Hernandez might be something they could look into.

Plus, Hernandez would only be signed on for one season, whereas Martin was looking for two-to-three years in a deal.

In the spring, both Stewart and Cervelli are playing good defense, but on the other side, they aren’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball.

Stewart is hitting .225 while Cervelli is hitting .200. Now, normally, these numbers wouldn’t matter since both are known for being defensive-minded catchers.

However, with Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez all slated to start the season on the disabled list, the Yankees need help on offense.

Hernandez spent time in 2012 on the DL, playing in just 52 games and hitting .217 with five home runs and 28 RBI.

When Hernandez is healthy, he’s capable of hitting .285 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI while being able to hold his own behind the plate.

With Yankees GM Brian Cashman bargain hunting, but looking for upgrades to the team, Hernandez would make sense for the Bombers in 2013.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.


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New York Yankees: Why Chien-Ming Wang Signing Was a Great Move for Bombers

Brian Cashman was at it again.

The Yankees general manager lured back the team’s former ace on Friday night, signing Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league deal.

Bryan Hoch of said Wang will report to the Yankees camp on Monday in preparation for the 2013 season.

The 32-year-old pitched for the Yankees from 2005-2009 and went 55-26 during that time before running into injuries.

After suffering a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery, Wang missed all of the 2010 season but has pitched the last two years with the Washington Nationals.

Wang has been trying to get back to his old form while with the Nationals, pitching both as a starter and reliever during that time.

Looking for a job for the upcoming season, Wang used the World Baseball Classic as an audition in hopes of signing a deal. The Yankees sent scouts to watch Wang pitch and liked what they saw.

Wang tossed 12 scoreless innings, scattered 10 hits, allowed one walk and struck out three in two games for the Chinese Taipei squad.

After the WBC ended, the Yankees brought Wang down to their complex in Tampa for a workout to get a first-hand look at how he’s been pitching.

What Cashman saw was Wang’s fastball around the 92 to 93 miles-per-hour range and that his sinker had the bowling-ball action of being heavy, which is what it had when Wang was with the Yankees.

And it was enough for Cashman to sign him with an opportunity to make the team in 2013.

Personally, I love this signing for the Yankees because it adds even more depth and gives them some much-needed insurance to the rotation.

Some doubters might say that Wang is 32 and hasn’t pitched like his old self in several years, which is true.

He’s also a pitcher who suffered two devastating injuries that are tough to the anatomy of a pitcher; his foot and his throwing shoulder.

Before 2009, Wang was one of the most successful pitchers in the game, but some pitchers can’t avoid the injury bug.

If Wang is getting his old form back, he should be able to breeze through the minor leagues and get called up.

With the Yankees having a set rotation, he could start out as a long reliever or on mop-up duty and wait for an injury or pitch well enough that Joe Girardi can’t not put him in the rotation.

Back in 2011, the Yankees did the same thing with Bartolo Colon, who started out in the bullpen and eventually got moved up once Phil Hughes went on the DL.

And with the Yankees rotation filled with age, Wang’s signing could come in handy.

What if Andy Pettitte suffers an injury? What if CC Sabathia or Hiroki Kuroda goes on the DL unexpectedly?

The back end of the rotation, which is Hughes and Ivan Nova, isn’t always a sure thing. Hughes has a tendency of getting hurt, and Nova suffered a huge setback in 2012 with a terrible second half.

Then, there’s Michael Pineda, who isn’t set to return to the Yankees until sometime in the summer, and he hasn’t pitched in the majors since the end of 2011 with the Mariners.

Like I said before, Wang will probably begin 2013 in the minors and take the route Pettitte did when he returned from his retirement last year.

Think of Wang as an “ace in the hole” that the Yankees have in waiting, as he’ll go through his own spring training.

When you see Wang pitching, never mind the velocity. Look at his location, especially at his sinker.

When his sinker is down and batters are chopping it into the ground, that’s when you know his form is really back.

If all goes well and Wang looks anything like the guy that pitched for the team a few years ago, the Yankees have an opportunity to put together one of the strongest pitching staffs in the game.

With the offense suffering injuries the way it has, the Yankees will need all the strong pitching they can get.

Stay tuned, Yankees universe.


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Report: Chien-Ming Wang Agrees to Deal with New York Yankees for 2013

The Yankees have officially brought back a former ace pitcher.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and WFAN broke the news on Friday night that the Bombers will sign Chien-Ming Wang to a deal.




The terms of the deal haven’t been confirmed yet, but it’ll likely be a minor-league deal that the Yankees will sign Wang to.

The 32-year-old Wang caught the attention of the Bombers this past month pitching in the World Baseball Classic for the Chinese Taipei team, tossing 12 scoreless innings for them.

After impressing Yankees GM Brian Cashman at the WBC, the Yankees brought Wang down to their complex in Tampa for a workout session and to see him pitch firsthand for them.

The Yankees apparently liked what they saw to give Wang a deal for 2013 and the chance to make the team.

Wang went 55-26 with the Yankees from 2005-2009 and pitched well before running into injuries in 2008 and 2009.

He suffered a season-ending foot injury in 2008 running the bases for the Yankees in an interleague game against the Houston Astros.

He suffered a shoulder injury in July of 2009, which required season-ending surgery and forced him to miss all of 2010.

Since then, Wang has pitched for the Washington Nationals in starting and relief roles in 2011 and 2012.

Wang will likely take the road Andy Pettitte did in 2012 as far as coming back to the majors goes, starting out in the minor leagues and working his way back to the majors.

For the 32-year-old pitcher, it’s fitting that he gets a second chance to put on the pinstripes again to try to resume his career with the team that he came up with as a professional.

If he’s anywhere near the form he had back in 2005-2008, the Yankees could potentially have a steal in adding depth to their rotation.

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New York Yankees: Why Brennan Boesch Signing Is Good Move for Bombers in 2013

On Friday, the New York Yankees made another move to their roster for 2013.

After being released by the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees signed outfielder Brennan Boesch, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and WFAN:

Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirmed that Boesch‘s deal with the Yankees is a one-year, $1.5 million major league deal:

The 27-year-old Boesch will likely be the fourth outfielder for the Yankees, as he can play both left and right field, be a left-handed pinch hitter and serve as a defensive replacement when needed.

Adding Boesch is a good move for the Yankees to make for the 2013 roster.

Boesch is a better overall bat than Ben Francisco and Matt Diaz, the other two guys in camp on minor league deals looking for the fourth outfield spot.

With Boesch now in the fold, it could force a competition between Francisco and Diaz to battle it out for the fifth outfield spot, which would be good anyway because the Yankees need a right-handed bat off the bench from the outfield.

The entire Yankees starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson (when he returns from injury) and Ichiro Suzuki are all lefty hitters, and now, so is Boesch too.

In 2012, Boesch hit .240 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI in 132 games with Detroit, which are typical numbers for his career except for his batting average.

By playing in Yankee Stadium, he could see his power numbers go up a little because of the short porch in right field that lefty hitters always tend to aim for.

The one thing the Yankees lacked in 2013 was veteran depth off the bench, especially with the departures of Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez all to free agency, plus right fielder Nick Swisher.

Before Boesch, it was Diaz and Juan Rivera battling it out for that fourth outfield spot, but due to Mark Teixeira’s injury, Rivera has shifted to playing first base during spring training and could be the team’s first baseman for the first two months of the season.

For the first month of the season, there’s a decent chance that the Yankees could even use Boesch in a platoon role with Francisco in left field while Granderson recovers from a broken forearm.

The signing isn’t a flashy one, but it’s a solid roster move, and I think Boesch can do some great things for the Yankees in 2013.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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New York Yankees: Could Michael Cuddyer Be an Option with Mark Teixeira Injury?

The Yankees offense has really thinned out since the start of spring training.

The team had lost Alex Rodriguez before the season even began and then lost Curtis Granderson to a broken forearm.

And with the most recent: Mark Teixeira’s wrist injury that will sideline him until May.

That leaves Robinson Cano when he gets back from the World Baseball Classic, Kevin Youkilis and maybe even Travis Hafner as the big bats of the offense.

Not exactly Murders Row we’re talking about here.

Sure, they’ll get Derek Jeter back from his broken ankle and Brett Gardner has re-emerged into the offense after spending most of 2012 on the shelf, but is that really going to be enough?

Right now, I’m very skeptical about this offense and I think Yankees GM Brian Cashman is too, which is why we’ve heard multiple different names linked to them as potential free agent or trade targets.

One suggestion Buster Olney of ESPN had on Friday for the Yankees was trying to trade for Colorado RockiesMichael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer could add some versatility into the lineup, as he could play first and third base, plus left and right field and be the team’s right-handed option at DH.

Yes, I know he’s still got $21 million remaining on his contract for two more seasons, but according to Olney, if the Rockies were to move Cuddyer, they would have to eat a major chunk of that deal.

So lets say the Yankees get Cuddyer and only have to pay $5 million per season for his services?

Five million a season for the potential of 20 home runs and 70 RBI is a pretty good bargain considering Colorado is on the hook for $10.5 million right now.

In 2012, Cuddyer hit .260 with 16 home runs and 58 RBI in just 101 games with the Rockies.

To me, this is a perfect kind of player for the Yankees lineup.

Cuddyer could give players a partial day off like Teixeira when he comes back, or Kevin Youkilis if they need to be used at the DH that day.

Plus, Cuddyer right now would be a better option for the Yankees than Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz would, both offensively and defensively.

At worst, the Yankees might have to give up a mid-level type prospect for Cuddyer, but for him, I’d make the deal.

Cuddyer in no way would cost the Yankees someone like Mason Williams, Tyler Austin or any other top prospect in the farm system right now.

Plus, it would allow Colorado to continue their youth movement in developing their own players under new manager Walt Weiss.

If I am Cashman, I am giving Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd a call and seeing if there is a way they will make a move for Cuddyer.

Cuddyer on the Yankees makes too much sense, and if the Rockies will take on most of the remaining deal, Cashman will pull the trigger on a deal.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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New York Yankees: Should Bombers Consider Trading Eduardo Nunez?

For the last several years, everyone keeps waiting for Eduardo Nunez to get a shot at being a regular in the New York Yankees everyday lineup.

Ever since being called up during the 2010 season, he’s served as mostly a utility infielder and defensive replacement with the occasional start.

But from the comments that Yankees GM Brian Cashman made to New York Post‘s Mike Ramondi, it doesn’t really seem like Nunez is going to be a starter anytime soon for the team.

“I’ve had a lot of people say, you’ve got to get 500 at-bats for this guy, find a position for him as if he’s some sort of offensive juggernaut.”

Cashman pointed out that Nunez had just a .678 on-base-plus-slugging percentage as a minor leaguer.

“That’s not a great offensive player,” Cashman said.

Usually, teams and their general managers hype up their up and coming players, but Cashman really doesn’t seem to be going that way with the 25-year-old.

What has hurt Nunez as a professional is his lack of defense and making some blunders in the field.

Before seeing him, a lot of fans thought Nunez could be the heir to Derek Jeter at shortstop whenever the Yankees captain decides to hang it up for good.

Hell, back in July of 2010, the Yankees nearly had a trade with the Seattle Mariners for Cliff Lee, but the deal fell apart because the Yankees didn’t want to part with Nunez.

That’s how high the Yankees used to think of him.

Now, Nunez is lucky if Joe Girardi puts him into games because he’s seen as a liability out on the field.

That being said, Nunez is still a very young player who might have value elsewhere to another team, and it might be time Cashman thinks about trading him.

If the Yankees don’t see Nunez as an everyday player, then I think it’s time he gets a little bit of value back in a deal and gives Nunez a chance to be an everyday player elsewhere.

I’m sure there’s some team out there in baseball who wouldn’t mind giving one of their starting infield spots to Nunez, who has shown in the past that he can swing a decent bat.

Nunez hit a big solo home run in Game 3 of the 2012 ALCS against Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the top of the ninth inning back in October that pulled the game to 2-1.

Some felt with the injury to Curtis Granderson in which the left fielder broke his forearm on a hit by pitch this past week, Girardi and Cashman might insert Nunez into the outfield and try him there.

But they have no interest in making Nunez an everyday outfielder on this team.

To me, it just shows that the Yankees don’t see Nunez as part of their future like they once did.

And if that’s the case, then for any opposing GM’s who have interest in Nunez, now would be a good time to call the Yankees to strike a deal.

It would be better to do it now than waste away a young talent on the bench during the time of his career when he would be breaking in as a starter.

With the Yankees, I don’t think Eduardo Nunez will ever be the star some thought.

Somewhere else, he very well could get that opportunity.

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New York Yankees: Could David Phelps Win No. 5 Starter Spot for 2013?

Competition always brings out the best in athletes.

One of the battles the Yankees will have this spring is for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

The contestants: Ivan Nova versus David Phelps.

The last memory fans have of both pitchers was Nova getting removed from the rotation due to an extremely poor second half and Phelps pitching well in just about every opportunity he got.

Phelps was used primarily as the long-reliever with the occasional spot start, going 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 33 appearances, including 11 starts.

Phelps also had 96 strikeouts in 99.2 innings and a 1.19 WHIP.

On the other hand, Nova finished 2012 with a 12-8 record and a surprising 5.02 ERA in 28 starts.

Nova started out the first half pitching extremely well, picking up where he left off back in 2011. However, he really struggled to the finish line and ended up being left off the Yankees postseason roster.

So now with the Yankees rotation all but set with CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes locked in, the fifth and final one is up for grabs.

During the spring, Nova has yet to pitch for the Yankees. Phelps has looked really impressive in the short outings he has made this spring.

In two starts, Phelps has pitched five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out one.

If Nova can return to the first half form he had in 2012—when he was 10-3 with a 3.29 ERA—then Nova clearly will get the No. 5 spot because of his proven track record.

But if Nova looks like the guy who went 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA in the second half and struggled in just about every start he made, then Phelps has a really good shot.

The one thing to look into is Phil Hughes and the progression of his back. He was told to rest when they found a bulging disc was causing irritation in his back.

If Hughes has to miss any time due to this injury in 2013, then this fifth starter competition might end up landing both Nova and Phelps into the rotation, especially if Hughes lands on the DL.

If you can take anything from this pitching competition, you have to hope Phelps pitching the way he is will push Nova to perform better on the mound.

Joe Girardi made it perfectly clear to him in 2012 that he’s not afraid to demote him if necessary.

And if it gets any worse, Brian Cashman still has an option on Nova, and he could send him to the minors to work out his issues.

I think Nova will end up with the job as long as he doesn’t completely tank the spring and look like he did in the second half of 2012.

But Phelps sure will not make it easy for him.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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New York Yankees: Did Bombers Make Right Move in Passing on Johnny Damon?

Johnny Damon made his public plea to come back to the Yankees on Monday.

In the wake of Curtis Granderson’s broken forearm, which will sideline the outfielder for 10 weeks, the 39-year-old veteran was willing to take a minimum deal to come back to the Bronx.

Unfortunately for Damon, Yankees GM Brian Cashman isn’t interested in his services for a second time, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:

“He’s just not going to fit our needs,” Cashman said. “It’s the same reason we didn’t bring him in last year. We need somebody who can play the outfield every day.”

That leaves Damon still on the free-agent market looking for work. Damon last played with the Cleveland Indians in 2012, but was cut during the season after just 64 games and batting just .222.

In the story I had reported on Monday about Damon looking to come back to the Yankees, 70 percent of the people who took the survey felt that Damon would actually come back to the Yankees to take Granderson’s spot.

It’s a little surprising, especially since Damon said he was willing to take very little money to play and would even accept being released if there was no more room for him on the team.

Did the Yankees make the right move in telling Damon “no thanks” for 2013?

As much as I hate to say it, Cashman likely made the right decision.

For one, they already have two veteran options in camp who can still play the outfield in Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera. Plus, both Diaz and Rivera are right-handed bats, which benefit the Yankees need at the major league level.

Damon isn’t really much of an outfielder anymore and would be best suited to be a DH, and the Yankees already have a left-handed DH in Travis Hafner.

Another thing is that the Yankees have a chance to see what they have in their young prospects, in particular Melky Mesa, Ronnier Mustelier and Zoilo Almonte.

Mustelier has looked rather impressive at spring training for the Yankees, especially at the plate, with the ball jumping off his bat when he gets a hit.

Speaking while with the team in Clearwater, Florida on Tuesday, WFAN‘s Sweeny Murti told Mike Francesa (also of WFAN) that he feels that with the early injury to Granderson, both Rivera and Diaz could make the team. 

As popular as Damon is, and as much as some of us would have liked to seen him back for one more go-around with the team, Cashman made the right choice for now.

However, if any other injuries occur to the outfielders (like Brett Gardner and his elbow from last season), keeping Damon’s number on speed dial wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Bombers.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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