A single pitch from a guy who will be pitching in Triple-A while making $3.7 million could spell disaster for the New York Yankees, and it isn’t even March! J.A. Happ, who looks to be on the outside of the Toronto Blue Jays rotation after the club added Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey, and Mark Buehrle to Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero this winter, hit Curtis Granderson (the first pitch of his first plate appearance of the spring) and broke his right forearm, which will keep the slugging outfielder sidelined for the 10 weeks, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network.
After losing Alex Rodriguez until June or later due to another hip surgery, this is not what the Yankees needed. While the club knew early enough this winter to replace ARod with Kevin Youkilis, there aren’t many options to replace Granderson this late in the offseason. While 10 weeks seems like a long time, it would put Granderson back to full health around May 5th, and, possibly, back in pinstripes between May 15 and May 20 after a quick rehab stint.
Internal candidates for the left field job, as Brett Gardner was penciled into the center field job already, will be limited to Juan Rivera, Matt Diaz, or Melky Mesa, as top prospects like Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, and Slade Heathcott aren’t anywhere near ready for the majors.
While it seems crazy, wouldn’t a potential trade for Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano make perfect sense? While he is due to make $36 million over the next two seasons, the Cubs appear willing to eat a majority of the contract, and maybe getting a player like the aforementioned Melky Mesa would be a solid deal. Mesa is 26 years old and hit .264/.325/.480 last year between Double-A and Triple-A, ripping 26 doubles, 23 home runs, and stealing 22 bases, while posting an ugly 118:36 K:BB over 458 at-bats.
While Mesa could post similar numbers in the majors if everything went right, Soriano is a solid, known producer, who rebounded to hit 32 home runs and drive in 108 last season for the Cubs. At 37, he could be headed in the wrong direction, but without him, the Yankees certainly would be. The fact that Granderson is slated to hit free agency after the 2013 season is only more reason to take on Soriano. If the Cubs were to pick up most of his contract, he wouldn’t count very much towards payroll as the Yankees trim to get under the luxury tax and look to re-sign Robinson Cano before he reaches free agency.
Outside of dealing for Soriano, the Yankees could look into signing Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, or asking Bernie Williams to come out of retirement. If the Yankees do anything, it should be a trade for their former superstar second baseman. The cast of Family Guy doesn’t like those options: