I have made it clear since the departure of Jesus Montero that the Yankees need to add a legitimate hitter, advocating for Chase Headley, Seth Smith, Clint Robinson, Billy Butler & Daniel Murphy among others. However, since Cashman seems intent on signing an over-the-hill DH from the Free Agent trash heap that still remains, I have a recommendation for him. Give Manny Ramirez a look.
This article from MLB.com explains Manny’s situation as it seems Oakland is zeroing in on him:
Baseball sources confirmed to MLB.com that A’s officials recently traveled to Florida to observe Ramirez’s workouts. If the two sides reach an agreement, Ramirez would earn slightly more than the league minimum of $480,000, according to the Associated Press.
We already know all of the reasons not to sign Manny, but under the circumstances, almost all risk is mitigated. He will make absolutely nothing – available for the league minimum. And although he will face a 50 game suspension, he is permitted to play in Spring Training games and Extended Spring Training Games. So the team that signs him will get a long look at him to evaluate what he has left in the tank. If it’s nothing, he can be dropped at anytime for no cost since I don’t believe he can even collect his salary while suspended. Billy Beane may be making a wise move even though he already has plenty of options at OF and DH. Manny will be eligible around June and if he shows promise, Beane will trade him to a contender.
AJ Burnett trade rumors are in no short supply. We’ve heard Pittsburgh and Seattle as possible scenarios but Dan Martin of the NY Post brought up the Kansas City Royals today. Martin says “the Pirates and Royals among the teams most actively looking into acquiring Burnett.”
To me the Royals are an intriguing possible trade partner because they have what the Yankees are looking for in return – hitters, more to the point young hitters. We know the Yanks sought lefty DH/OF Garrett Jones from Pittsburgh and were supposedly re-buffed, so who would make sense to get back in return from KC?
I wrote about the perfect fit Billy Butler would be a couple of weeks ago, but he would require much more than AJ (think Betances and more) and there is no way KC would part with their young lefty hitters, 1B Eric Hosmer or OF Alex Gordon. However, the Royals have a player in AAA ready for the big leagues but is blocked by the aforementioned Butler, Hosmer & Gordon – his name is Clint Robinson.
Robinson, 26, is a 6’5″ 235 pound lefty hitting 1B/DH who has nothing more to prove in the minor leagues. In 2010, he won the AA Triple Crown with a .335-29-98 line that included a .410 OBP & .625 SLG. Promoted to AAA in 2011, he kept hitting, posting a .326-23-100 line with a .399/.533/.932 OPS. He was drafted in the 25th round in 2007 and is not considered a big time prospect because of his draft position, relatively modest stats in A ball and lack of defensive skills. But through hard work and back to back monster years, he’s ready for prime time. I should temper the expectations a little with the disclaimer that the numbers put up in 2011 were in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. However, the guy can obviously hit.