NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Yankees must search for a new designated hitter after dealing Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners late Friday night. Or do they?
On the same night the Yankees traded away Montero, they agreed to a deal with starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. The terms of the contract was for one year at $10 million dollars. Baseball insiders believe the Yankees needed to stretch their budget to fit Kuroda and may not have enough remaining funds to add a big-named designated hitter.
Already, speculation has begun whether the Yankees will consider bringing back former playoff heroes Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui but they’ll have to free up payroll space first. Another free agent option, Carlos Pena would likely cost more than either former Yankee.
The Bombers’ current payroll stands at $212 million and they’ll have to shed some salary to afford a prominent DH. A.J. Burnett has interested some teams but the Yankees would have to swallow the majority of his contract. Dealing away Phil Hughes could be another possibility.
As things stand, the Yankees are set to enter Spring Training with Andruw Jones and rookie Jorge Vazquez penciled-in at designated hitter. Vazquez will turn 30 in February and is yet to play in the major leagues.
Like Jones, he is a right-handed hitter. Vazquez batted .262 with 32 homers and 93 RBIs at Triple-A Scranton last season. It’s unknown whether he’s a ‘four-A player’ or if his power can translate to the majors.
The Yankees may also shy-away from signing an expensive DH because they’ll need to use the position to rest Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter as they continue to age.
You can never say for certain that the Yankees won’t expand their payroll but it appears likely that they’ll pass on attractive free agent names.
Can the Yankees get by with Jones and Vazquez or do you want them to add a big-name DH? Share your thoughts below…