The New York Yankees needed a second baseman to replace Robinson Cano. Free agent Brian Roberts needed a team that wouldn't mind signing an oft-injured, ex-All Star who recently turned 36 and hit .231 in limited action the past three seasons. Honestly, could you find a better match?
Thus, the Yankees have signed Roberts to a one-year contract worth $2 million, proving that either the team can't deny what it has become — a team of old injured ex-stars — or it's just trolling baseball bloggers now.
Roberts, 36, was an All-Star in 2005 and 2007, hitting a career-best .314 in 2005 with 73 RBIs in 2005. In 2007, he stole 50 bases. Since then, he's been one of the most unfortunately injured players in the league. He's missed time for these reasons, among others: a herniated disk in his back, a strained abdominal muscle, pneumonia and two concussions. He's had hip surgery too. In other words, he's the perfect middle-infield buddy for Derek Jeter.
All told, Roberts has played in 192 games since 2010. In 2011, he played 29 games. In 2012, he played 17 games. His 2013 total of 77 was actually his most in the past four seasons. So he's on the upswing?
Among what projects to be the Yankees' starting infield, 77 games in 2013 was actually a busy year. First baseman Mark Teixeira played 15. Shortshop Derek Jeter played 17. Alex Rodriguez played 44 at third base. Between the four of them, that's 153 games played in 2013. Can the Yankees put a nurses' station behind the pitcher's mound?
A-Rod's status, of course, is uncertain because of his looming season-long suspension that is currently awaiting an appeal ruling. Losing A-Rod would help the Yankees' payroll, but it wouldn't be great for the team's shaky infield. The Yankees did sign Kelly Johnson (31 years young!) this offseason, whose value as a utility man rises as his teammates get more fragile. Johnson played 118 games last season for the Tampa Bay Rays as a second baseman, third baseman, outfield and even a few games at first.
At $2 million for the season, Roberts isn't a huge investment. So the Yankees could wind up getting the good side of the deal — we all know they're due some good luck in the injury department after what happened to them in 2013. But the Yankees certainly haven't learned to stay away from the fire that's burned them in the past.
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