The New York Yankees continued to conduct themselves as a franchise that was overrun in the AL East, which they were, having finished third in 2013. Tied for third, actually.
On Tuesday, sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports, they came to terms with second baseman Brian Roberts and left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, perhaps partially filling gaps left by Robinson Cano and Boone Logan, respectively. (Logan signed with the Colorado Rockies for $16.5 million over three years.) Contract details remain, as do physicals, but clearly Brian Cashman is bent on acting decisively in a whirlwind offseason.
The additions of Roberts (one year, $2 million, plus incentives) and Thornton (two years, $7 million) pale in comparison to the Yankees’ larger haul. The additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Hiroki Kuroda cost the club about $300 million.
Roberts and Kelly Johnson, another free-agent acquisition, together will not account for Cano’s production at second base, and there are legitimate questions about Roberts’ ability to stay on the field, which is why he comes so inexpensive. Now 36 years old, Roberts hasn’t played so much as a half-season since 2009.
Johnson, who signed for one year and $3 million earlier in December, bats left and has the kind of pop that could play at Yankee Stadium. Johnson and the switch-hitting Roberts could form a respectable platoon, if both are healthy and neither separates himself during spring training.
Thornton, 37, has shown himself to be durable and effective over a 10-year career in Seattle, Chicago and, last season, Boston. He regularly makes 60 or more appearances and is very difficult on lefties.
The Yankees seek more late-inning bullpen help, as replacing Cano is one thing, replacing Mariano Rivera quite something else.