Tuesday, December 18, 2012
By Wallace Matthews
The Yankees are most certainly in search of an outfielder, but Michael Bourn will not be it.
According to the proverbial "source with knowledge," there is "no chance" the Yankees will sign, or even pursue, Bourn, the speedy free-agent center fielder who spent the last two seasons in Atlanta, despite recent rumors to the contrary.
Michael Bourn batted .274 with 42 steals last season.
The reasons are several: For one, the price tag is too high. For another, Bourn is a left-handed hitter, and the Yankees already have three of them in their projected starting outfield for 2013. And for a third, until further notice, the Yankees already have a center fielder in Curtis Granderson.
Still, the priority right now is for a right-handed hitting outfielder, and the front-runner appears to be Scott Hairston, although another source tells me that Hairston is really looking to return to the Mets. (If you can figure out why, please let me know).
Whoever they wind up with, it is no secret that although the Yankees have made a half-dozen signings this winter, all but one -- Kevin Youkilis -- was of a player they already had last year, which is why I have written several times that they have yet to get better.
And in order for them to do that, GM Brian Cashman has to make at least one big move this offseason, whether through free agency or via a trade. (Granderson, of course, is a possibility to be traded, as is one of the starting pitchers, either Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova).
The question is, what will the Yankees' "big move" be this winter?
Last year, it was Michael Pineda, who wound up not throwing a pitch for them all season after suffering a shoulder injury in spring training that required surgery. And of course, Ichiro Suzuki was a surprise pickup at the trade deadline.
But who will it be this year? Judging by Cashman's history, it is likely to be someone none of us were considering. But I have faith in our Yankees readership. Surely one of you will come up with the name of the next Yankees outfielder, and please, don't give me Giancarlo Stanton or Raul Ibañez. The former is not leaving Miami, and while the latter might be back at Yankee Stadium in 2013, it will be as what the club originally intended him to be, a right-handed hitting DH.
So weigh in below with who you think the Yankees will pick up before pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12.