A J.A. Happ fastball struck Curtis Granderson‘s right forearm today in a Spring Training game, which will knock the Yankees’ projected left fielder out until May. GM Brian Cashman intends to look at all possibilities, but of course the team will start by considering in-house corner outfielders such as Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera. YES Network’s Jack Curry tweets a reality check: the Yankees’ plan to replace Granderson will be made with the expectation that he’s likely to miss 30 games, not the entire season.
That’s why a relatively complicated deal for veterans such as Alfonso Soriano or Vernon Wells seems unlikely. Both players were quizzed by reporters today nonetheless, and both professed a desire to win with their current teams. Regarding Soriano, Cubs president Theo Epstein told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, “If we can get him to a winner and get a good package back we’d consider it. We haven’t even been tempted yet. He’s a valuable guy here. He’s more valuable to us than anything we’ve been offered…by far.”
A couple of ex-Yankees continue to toil in free agency: Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu. Scott Podsednik is available as well. They’d all be candidates for minor league deals, so the risk is minimal if Cashman wants to add some depth.
Out of options players are worth considering as well. A few notable outfielders on that list include Jordan Schafer, Ezequiel Carrera, Casper Wells, Gorkys Hernandez, Jose Tabata, Julio Borbon, and Xavier Paul. Tabata, a former Yankees farmhand, has $12.75MM in guaranteed money left on his contract, so the Pirates would have to be looking to cut bait and assume the vast majority. If not Hernandez, the Marlins might be able to spare former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan. The Diamondbacks recently added speedster Tony Campana to a crowded outfield, and perhaps Cashman will give Kevin Towers a call. Dewayne Wise, Scott Cousins, Eric Thames, Aaron Cunningham, Austin Kearns, Darnell McDonald, Felix Pie, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Travis Buck are some other outfielders fighting for jobs who could become available as camp progresses.
Cashman is in a tricky spot. Anyone who represents a clear upgrade over the team’s internal options might come with a decent acquisition cost, which wouldn’t make sense if Granderson will be out for one month. The best strategy might be to make a couple of low-risk acquisitions to give manager Joe Girardi additional options.