Prince Fielder and 10 Other Names the NY Yankees Should Consider for DH
Thanks to the Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda trade, the New York Yankees finally have pitching depth at the cost of a weakened DH position.
Prince Fielder is one name, probably the first name, to spring to the minds of Yankee fans as to who should fill that spot. Fielder is probably the best player for that spot, but not necessarily the best option.
There are some other names the Yankees should consider in addition to the mighty Prince Fielder. While it would be nice to have Fielder mashing homers over the short porch in left, the Yankees should make signing a player at a reasonable price their priority.
Of course, the term "reasonable price" is flexible depending on the player.
So here are the 10 players the New York Yankees should take a look at in addition to Prince Fielder.
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The New York Yankees have already spoken to Johnny Damon in regards to their DH spot.
Damon would bring some speed, veteran leadership and lefty power to the Yankees. It also helps that he's been with the team and, more importantly, New York and the New York media before.
The Yankees can do much worse at the position, but they can also do much better.
Last season, Damon hit .261 with 16 HR and an OBP of .326. Those numbers aren't terrible, they're just not the numbers the Yankees are used to getting from their DH.
The short porch in left field might help increase Damon's power numbers, but don't expect a miraculous jump. At 38 years old, Damon's skills are on the decline and likely won't get better.
However, the Yankees can sign him at a fairly reasonable price to DH alongside Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
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Here's another former New York Yankee who the Yankees have contacted.
Like Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui can bring some lefty power and veteran leadership. His return would also be a sentimental one, as he was the World Series MVP when the Yankees won in 2009.
However, also like Damon, Matsui's age and decline are two big cons on why the Yankees should be wary of signing him.
Matsui's 2011 stat line of .251, 12 HR, 72 RBI and .321 OBP should alarm the Yankees, especially since they know he's capable of doing better. However, that was when he was younger and was less vulnerable to injuries.
Being back in Yankee Stadium, as well as a lineup like the Yankees, should help Matsui's numbers somewhat. Just don't expect the Hideki Matsui of 2004 if the Yankees bring him back.
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He's far from being the Derrek Lee of old, but he can still contribute to the New York Yankees if he's willing to come back at a reasonable price.
Despite his age, Lee can still play first base decently. Thus, that would give the Yankees some flexibility and insurance should Mark Teixeira get hurt.
Last season, Lee hit .267 with 19 HR and an OBP of .325. He's got a bit more power than the last two and with the protection that's in the Yankees lineup, his numbers might increase.
However, Lee's still 36 years old so it's hard to tell if he'll improve with the change of scenery or if age will cause him to go on the decline.
Nevertheless, the Yankees should take a look at him to fill that DH spot.
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Raul Ibanez falls in line with the other three players I've mentioned before in terms of age and power.
Ibanez is a lefty, so that short porch in Yankee Stadium can and will work to his advantage should he join the team.
He hit 20 HR last season and it stands to reason that he'll hit around that same amount unless he suffers a severe drop off because of his age. At 39, Ibanez is one of the older options the New York Yankees can pursue, but he can be one of the safer ones.
Ibanez has played at least 140 games the past two seasons, so severe/multiple injuries shouldn't be that much of a concern with him. If the Yankees can sign him to their self-proposed budget of $1-2 million, then it would be a good investment on the Yankees' part.
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And we've finally broken the 36-plus age limit.
Casey Kotchman is part of a rare group that's under 30 and is still a free agent that can be signed for relatively cheap and isn't complete garbage. I know, it's like finding Bigfoot or something.
Last season, Kotchman hit .306 with 10 HR, 48 RBI and an OBP of .378. Not exactly your typical DH numbers, but that average and OBP isn't something to dismiss easily. The short porch in right could help his power numbers, but don't look for a huge jump, as he's never hit more than 15 HR.
He's not too bad with the glove either, so the Yankees have some flexibility with him should they decide to put him in the field to give Mark Teixeira a full or half day off.
The only thing to watch for is he could suddenly drop since he hasn't been stable number-wise year in and year out. At $1-2 million, however, it's a gamble worth taking.
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Now here's an intriguing option.
Every New York Yankee fan remembers the Vladimir Guerrero of old and his mammoth home runs. While those years are likely behind him, his bat hasn't quite deteriorated just yet.
For the right price, Guerrero could be a bargain, especially if he can get his power numbers back up with the protection of the Yankee lineup.
Guerrero was a name that was feared and can still be feared. He's only two seasons removed from hitting 29 HR. He can still hit and his bat is likely more durable than some of the other options on this list.
However, his age is a reason for concern since this could also be the year his numbers decline severely. The Yankees will likely not sign him because of the price, but they should look into him anyway.
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New York Yankee fans should be familiar with Jorge Vazquez as they caught a glimpse of him and his tremendous power in Spring Training.
In Triple-A last season, Vazquez hit .262 with 32 HR, 93 RBI and an SLG of .516. He's a big-league bat in the minors. The Yankees can stick him at DH for a couple games at the start and see what he can do.
If he fails, then the Yankees can look for other options, but at the very least, they should give him a shot.
Scouts believe his power numbers will translate well on the major league level. One cause for concern is his strikeout tendencies. Last season, he struck out 166 times in the minors. Hopefully he'll solve that problem if he gets called up to the bigs.
He's the cheapest option on this list and would likely be a growing pain with the team as he adjusts to the major-league level, but his power cannot be denied and should be given a chance in the bigs.
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Now we're thinking creatively.
This is a trade option and would likely require the New York Yankees parting with A.J. Burnett and his dead-weight contract. Both players could use a fresh start and the change of scenery could do wonders for them.
Alfonso Soriano's played in New York before so he wouldn't be a stranger to the New York media or the bright spotlight of the city.
He also still has power, as evidenced by his 26 HR and 88 RBI last season.
The downside would be Soriano's age, as it seems to be with most of the players on this list. At 36 years old, he could be heading for a sudden drop in numbers soon.
It's an option the Yankees can kick around if the Chicago Cubs are willing to take on A.J. Burnett's contract.
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Here's another interesting option if the Chicago White Sox are willing to swap this contract for A.J. Burnett's, with some other players as trade facilitators of course.
Sure, Adam Dunn had the worst season in recent memory. He was flat-out horrible. The White Sox will likely want a mulligan on that contract and could trade him to the New York Yankees to do so.
While Dunn doesn't hit for average, he's known for blasting home runs and drawing walks. Look at his career OBP of .374. He also averages 33.2 HR per season for his career.
The Yankees can and should hope last season was a fluke if they decide to pull the trigger on him.
It helps that he's a lefty batter and Yankee Stadium loves lefty batters. The change of scenery and that short porch could help Dunn's power numbers return.
And if they do, the Bleacher Creatures will be happy.
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New York Yankee fans remember Carlos Pena as the guy who was blasting homers for the Tampa Bay Rays during their miracle run.
It's been a while since then as his average has dropped, but his power numbers are still there, even if they are at a slightly lower level then before.
Last season Pena hit 28 HR and 80 RBI. Those numbers should go up by a bit by joining the Yankee lineup and having that short porch to aim for.
Also, Pena can still field, so he'll give the Yankees some insurance should Mark Teixeira get injured.
Of course, he'll be one of the more expensive options the Yankees could pursue, as he likely won't sign for the $1-2 million price range the Yankees are looking for.
However, I'm sure the Yankees can scoop together a couple more million if they really want Pena to DH.
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We've come to Prince Fielder at last.
Signing Fielder would break the current New York Yankee streak of two years of no major signings/making it rain at the winter meetings. The Yankees haven't opened their wallets and shelled out the cash to a free agent recently.
Fielder is the best player to fill the DH role. I'm fine with him gaining another 100 pounds as long as he blasts 40 or more homers a year. He'll likely do that with that short porch in left, maybe even more.
Imagine a lineup with Prince Fielder, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and whatever a 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez can give the team. That's a lot of homers just between them.
The Yankees would clearly have the most feared lineup in baseball and likely have the best team with their revamped rotation and their potent offense. No team can come close to being as balanced as the Yankees with Fielder.
Maybe the Boston Red Sox, but they still have some questions to work out.
Of course the huge concern here, other than his weight and it's potential to expand exponentially, is the price tag in signing him. The Yankees have shown reluctance to shell out the huge bucks to free agents, which is a wise move and they'll likely won't sign him.
However, the Yankees could do worse than sign a potential 40-home run guy. I don't care how much he looks like the Stay Puft Marshmallow guy.