Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Market thin for outfielders after next season

Consensus has the Yankees passing on Jason Bay and Matt Holliday in favor of a less expensive option to replace Melky Cabrera in left field. Xavier Nady might be an option. Mark DeRosa might be an option. Marlon Byrd might be an option.

The Yankees would prefer to sign a cheaper option for a year, conventional wisdom has it, because Brian Cashman would prefer to go after one of the elite outfielders on the market after the 2010 season ends -- "a Carl Crawford-type," as Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand told ESPN.

Here's the thing: There aren't many elite outfielders on the market after the 2010 season ends. Carl Crawford might be the only Carl Crawford-type available.

Crawford is an elite player who hits .300 and steals 50 bases a season while playing the type of defense in left field one would expect from a center fielder. He'll certainly be on the Yankees' radar -- and if Joe Mauer re-signs with the Minnesota Twins, the Yankees might throw quite a bit of money his way. He'd be worth every penny of a $15 million-per-year salary.

Other than that, though, there's not much out there. Jayson Werth hit 36 home runs a season ago with an OPS better than .850 for the third straight season. Werth, though, will be 31 when he hits the open market -- the same age Bay is right now. There's no reason at all for the Yankees to pass on Bay or Holliday to wait for Werth. It makes no sense.

Beyond Werth, it only gets worse. Pat Burrell, Eric Byrnes, Adam Dunn, Jody Gerut, Magglio Ordonez, Marcus Thames -- do any of those names excite you?

The Yankees apparently believe they already know what it's going to take to sign Crawford. They apparently believe they're going to land him.

They'd better.

If the Yankees somehow miss out on Crawford -- a native of Texas, for what it's worth -- they're going to regret passing on Bay and Holliday.

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