On Friday, the New York Yankees lost their best hitter, Robinson Cano to free agency, as the Seattle Mariners agreed on a 10-year, $240 million dollar deal with the second baseman.
The Yankees now have an open position in their infield and with no real backup second baseman on their team; they will presumably sign a free agent.
Kelly Johnson, the utility player for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013, was the latest player to wear pinstripes, as he signed a one-year, $3 million dollar deal with the Yankees.
However, with Alex Rodriguez expected to have some sort of ban from the Biogenesis scandal, Johnson will become the starting third baseman, filling in at other positions when needed.
The favorite for the starting second base job for the Yankees is Omar Infante, who has been in discussion with the Yankees for the past week. Infante was offered a deal with the Yankees a couple days ago, but hesitated to sign with Cano being a possibility to return to New York. Last year, Infante played in 118 games, batting .318 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI. He also walked 20 times and struck out in just 44 at-bats.
With Cano out, Infante is the most likely candidate to sign with the Yankees, but there are other options.
Of the other free agents, the top second baseman includes Mark Ellis, Brian Roberts, Ramon Santiago, and Chris Getz. Infante is the second youngest player at 32, behind only Getz, who is 30. Most of the players are past their prime and have struggled in the past few years, but Infante has kept producing.
There is a possibility for the Yankees to trade for a second baseman, as Cincinnati Reds middle infielder Brandon Phillips has been discussed in multiple trades. There is also Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin, who has also been in the discussion along with Brad Miller.
The Yankees don’t have a solid farm system in the minors, especially in Triple-A.
“Our system hasn’t taken the steps we would’ve wanted, so it makes us harder to match up now,” GM Brian Cashman said. “Teams typically want players who can jump right in. As you’ve watched, we’ve had injuries and or some of our high-end stuff didn’t take that next step, hit the developmental wall, and this year will be a big year for those guys. The trade market is a little bit tougher.”
With the Yankees unlikely to execute a trade, Infante is their first priority, especially because he could be reasonably cheap.