- Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Yankees GM Brian Cashman said, "Beggars can't be choosers," so let's get to the rumor roundup and see what Cashman might be settling on.
1. Nate Schierholtz cold be the left-handed hitting portion of the right-field equation -- and soon. Colleague Buster Olney tweeted Wednesday morning the Yankees are the "early frontrunners" for his services.
The lefty-swinging Schierholtz, who was non-tendered by the Phillies, is liked by the Yankees because of his .287 BA and .826 OPS against right-handed pitching. The Phillies chose not to pay him the $1.3 million he was owed. You would expect the Yankees to cut him a check for a little more than that.
The acquisition of Schierholtz, 29, would likely mean Ichiro Suzuki may not be back. Ichiro wants to be a Yankee, but how much do the Yankees want to pay him? He made $17 million last year so perhaps he would settle for $5 million. Still, that may hurt the Yankees on the third-base market, if they were to do that, knowing they need a right-handed outfield bat as well.
Plus, Ichiro has made a point of wanting to feel needed by a franchise. Even though he played so well for them, the Yankees have put him on the back-burner thus far this winter.
The Yankees would love to pair Schierholtz with someone like Scott Hairston, who had an .867 OPS vs. lefties.
2. Since the Alex Rodriguez news broke, we have listed Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez as his two most probable replacements. As we wrote in our current news story, the combination of Keppinger's .923 OPS against lefties and Chavez's .908 OPS against righties would be a very nice replacement for A-Rod.
However, Cashman has already indicated the third base market may be too rich for the current Yankees' blood. The market for Keppinger is around two years at $8 million, according to various reports. Keppinger may be able to use his leverage to get three years.
It seems Kevin Youkilis would be more of a fallback possibility -- and only if his price dropped significantly.
3. Don't blame us, we tried to help. In early November, we got Joakim Soria's agent on the line and he told us Soria wouldn't mind setting up for Mariano Rivera. The frugal Yankees never were serious players for Soria, who, back in the day, would have been a typical, relatively low-risk, high-reward signing. Now he is a Ranger.
4. On A.J. Pierzynski, I was flat out told, "No," by a Yankees official after Russell Martin fled to Pittsburgh. I asked Brian Cashman on Tuesday if anything had changed in the Yankees' view of their catching situation. He said it had not. In other words, I'd be surprised if they signed Pierzynski, though I do understand why he might make some sense given they have to make up for the production of Nick Swisher, Martin and A-Rod.
5. Along with other Yankees writers, we will be dining with Joe Girardi on Wednesday.
QUESTION: If the Yankees can only sign one, who would you want: Schierholtz or Ichiro?