Loretta at First?

Since the beginning of the offseason I’ve hoped the Yanks would consider former Boston 2b Mark Loretta for our first baseman opening, especially when it seemed that no one had much interest in him. He is a good fielder and as a hitter, he is very tough to strike out and sees a lot of pitches. Most importantly, he is right handed, and the Yankees currently have a very lefty heavy lineup.

Well Buster Olney is reporting today that the Yankees made contact with Loretta on Monday. He praises the idea as well, for similar reasons as I just listed. It has also been reported that the Yankees are talking to Doug Mientkiewicz. While he is a great fielder, he’s left handed and not as versatile as Loretta (who could sub for any infield spot, especially 2b).

Neither choice is bad, but I think at this point that I’m pulling for Loretta. He’s played in the NY-Boston rivalry (and performed well). Reportedly he was asking only 1yr 2million to return to the Padres. The only other place he’s been linked to is a utility role in Cincinnati. NY can give him more playing time and we all know 2 million is change in the Yankee universe.

Thus far Cashman has made every move that I would have (though while making me happy personally, I will concede I have very little experience as a Major League GM). I’m hoping this continues with Loretta. I feel like if this was the Yankees circa 2 years ago we’d have gotten Zito and/or Schmidt and Sexson or Hillenbrand for 1b.

Other news:

– Kei Igawa reportedly has signed a 5 yr 20 million dollar deal. That’s an annual value of 4 million, which is extremely cheap for the Yankees, especially when you consider Farnsworth makes more than that. You’d have to figure in years 3-5 of this deal, Igawa will be making a standard relievers salary. Which makes this a good risk. If he ends up merely being a bullpen piece, the Yanks can stomach it, and if he ends up being a quality starter, they get a steal.

The Yankees rotation could potentially have three left handed starters. This is good of course considering the lack of left handed pitching in the league and the dimensions of Yankee stadium. Also worth noting: Red Sox had a losing record versus lefties last year.

– There is a rumor floating around about the Yanks potentially trading Melky Cabrera for Mike Gonzalez. I think Gonzalez is nasty, but considering how unreliable relief pitchers can be, I’d be loathe to trade away a young outfielder (22) with Melky’s toolset. Even if it means the end of Bernie Williams. At this point, the only thing Bernie can probably do better than Melky is swing the bat right handed. Melky has patience, a good glove, and good speed. And considering the age of our OF, the 4th OF spot should be very important.


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