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Yankees behaving like the Yankees
Addressing their weaknesses as only they can.
The Yankees entered Friday thinking, “OK, we’ve got money. Few other clubs do. Let’s flex our muscles.”
They didn’t do anything too obnoxious, at least not by classic Steinbrenner standards. But at a time when most teams are counting every dollar, a time when teams such as the Dodgers and Rangers require financial assistance in virtually every trade, the Yankees are uniquely positioned to prey on the market.
Looking to purge your first baseman? Ready to dump your right fielder? Step right up, the Yankees are here to help!
“We’re like a clearinghouse,” one Yankees official said. “We’ve got a lot of applicants. We’re going through it, looking at the ones we’re interested in.”
Kearns made the cut because he is a far better defensive outfielder than Marcus Thames, the right-handed hitter he is likely to replace.
The infielder to be named will make the cut because he offers more offense than Ramiro Pena, the current insurance policy for third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Quick. Bloodless. And not all that costly, in either dollars or prospects.
The Yankees will assume just $3 million of Berkman’s remaining $7 million obligation. Kearns is owed only about $250,000 and the next addition does not figure to be terribly expensive, either.
Of course, the Yankees will be paying Berkman and Johnson a combined $8.5 million for one roster spot. If they dump Thames, they basically would have blown $2 million combined on Thames and Randy Winn, who is now with the Cardinals. But hey, it’s not as if they’re in Raul Mondesi territory.
The bench has been a relative weak spot of recent Yankees teams, in part because the club invests so heavily in its stars. This season, players such as Greg Golson, Colin Curtis, Kevin Russo and Chad Huffman have donned Yankees uniforms, in part due to injuries.
Without question, Berkman and Kearns should help. But they are not locks to succeed.
Berkman, in the middle of a career-worst season, must adjust to a new role in a new league in a new city, one that offers far less of a comfort zone than his native Houston.
Kearns, meanwhile, has spent his entire career playing for non-contenders. He started hot for the Indians, but since May 2 has batted only .248/.336/.368.
Bottom line is, both players amount to upgrades.
The Yankees acquired them because they can.
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