Yankees

As 2B Market Gets Smaller, Johnson Looks More And More Like Yankees’ Guy

Bombers Could Turn To Reynolds To Fill In Should A-Rod Ban Be Upheld
Tampa Bay second baseman Kelly Johnson, left, is late with a tag on the Yankees’ Robinson Cano during the teams’ meeting on Sept. 25, 2013, at Yankee Stadium. The Bombers are close to signing Johnson, possibly to replace Cano, who could leave via free agency. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay second baseman Kelly Johnson, left, is late with a tag on the Yankees’ Robinson Cano during the teams’ meeting on Sept. 25, 2013, at Yankee Stadium. The Bombers are close to signing Johnson, possibly to replace Cano, who could leave via free agency. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nobody expected the Yankees to replace Robinson Cano overnight, but one would have figured they’d be the last team to get beaten to the punch for other players at second base.

But yet, that seems to be the case a bit.

The Yankees refused to give Omar Infante a fourth year and he ended up signing with Kansas City. Then on Monday, suitable Mark Ellis agreed to a one-year deal with St. Louis. It’s unknown if the Bombers had legitimate interest. They also rejected a trade for Cincinnati star Brandon Phillips that would have sent Brett Gardner to the Reds, because Phillips apparently wanted his contract, which had four years and $50 million remaining, reworked.

Their inability to strike quickly or find the right fit to suit on-field needs and salary structure seems to suggest they feel completely comfortable with Kelly Johnson, who agreed to a one-year deal in early December. Johnson has some pop, averaging around 15.5 home runs during his eight-year career, and plays decent defense. He’s in no way a replacement for Cano in the true sense of the word, but for one year, or until the Yankees find the guy they need, they could have done worse.

Assuming Johnson plays the majority of his games at second base, the Yankees still need someone to play third should Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension be upheld, at least in part.

According to a report in the NY Post, the Yankees appear to have at least mild interest in bringing back Mark Reynolds, whom they acquired during the injury-ravaged 2013 season. Reynolds strikes out a ton, but has power. He hit a combined 21 homers and drove in 67 runs in parts of 135 games for the Yankees and Cleveland Indians last season.

Reynolds also brings versatility to the field as he can play both first and third, but, according to the Post, he wants an everyday role from any team he signs with. The Yankees will make no such commitment.

The Yankees still have to address their starting rotation and the bullpen. They continue to have a glut of outfielders, what with the additions of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to a group featuring Alfonso Soriano, Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells.

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