Between RAB taking a look at the possible benefits of signing the recently non-tendered Scott Hairston, and the news this afternoon of the Braves non-tendering Matt Diaz, I wanted to take a look at whether any of the new non-tenders might be a worthwhile bench pickup for the Yankees.
In sifting through MLBTR’s tracker, the only other “name” hitter I came across was Ryan Church, although after a disappointing 2009 (.317 wOBA over 399 plate appearances) he was wretched last season, and it seems unlikely that he’ll return to being the .350-plus player he was from 2005-2007. Still, in the interest of comparing stats, Church at least seemed worth a look.
Though he struggled overall in 244 plate appearances in 2010, Matt Diaz is pretty clearly the class of this field, and still managed a .352 wOBA against lefties in 130 PAs. Also, far more appetizing than Diaz’s 2010 line are his career numbers — a respectable .348 wOBA, and a highly enticing .387 career mark against lefties. He’s also one year removed from putting up a career-high .384 wOBA in 425 PAs in 2009.
Of course, that career line vs. lefties along with presumably relatively minimal contract demands will likely draw many teams to his services, and chances are he’ll get a better deal for more playing time with someone other than the Yankees. Bill James likes Diaz to rebound to a .344 wOBA, while CAIRO has him at .335.
Hairston sounds like a solid backup option for the bench if Diaz proves unattainable. His numbers are fairly Thames-ian, although Hairston really can’t do much with righties. Then again, we thought the same thing about Thames last season. Additionally, per RAB, you can actually play Hairston in the field unlike our old friend Marcus. James also sees a decent bounceback for Hairston to a .326 wOBA, though CAIRO only likes him for a .311 mark. As Hairston’s only 30, he seems like a reasonable enough bet to at least hit his career average.
Church is probably a lost cause at this point. The only slightly appealing aspect of Church is the career .344 wOBA against righties, so perhaps he has some value if the Yanks decide they need a lefthanded bat on the bench. For what it’s worth, CAIRO actually likes Church better than James does — .327 to .317 — but he’s probably only worth a gamble if you can sign him to the Major League minimum.
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