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In the last few weeks, the Yankees have been connected to a lot of outfielders. They signed one, Randy Winn, to a Major League deal and he will be the team’s fourth outfielder. Right now, Rule V Draft pick Jamie Hoffmann is the fifth outfielder the Yankees are going to give him at least Spring Training to see what he’s got and see if he can be a useful bench outfielder. If Hoffmann does not perform to their liking, the Yankees will drop him from their 25 man roster and be forced to return him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After Hoffmann, the Yankees’ outfield options are pretty thin. On the active roster is the recently acquired Greg Golson. He’s been described as “toolsy” but he’s had only seven major league plate appearances and has yet to reach base via hit, walk, or hit by pitch. The only outfield non-roster invitee listed is Reid Gorecki, who had an uneventful 27 PAs with the Braves in 2009, but has respectable minor league numbers (.262/.342/.428).

As we can see, the OF depth is rather thin for the Yankees. Any injury to an outfielder puts Randy Winn in the every day lineup and bumps of Jamie Hoffmann’s potential importance. The thin outfield also presents a problem if Hoffmann is indeed returned to the Dodgers. While Hoffmann is not much of a sure himself, I’d rather roll the dice with him than with Greg Golson or Reid Gorecki. This brings me to my point: the Yankees should invite Rocco Baldelli to Spring Training on a Minor League deal.

Rocco Baldelli

While Baldelli does have a condition that would not allow him to play every day, or maybe even back to back days, if he does make it to the Yankees, he would be the fifth outfielder behind all three starters and Randy Winn. The chances of Baldelli having to rack up many plate appearances or much playing time in the field are very small. He’d likely be doing late inning pinch hitting against lefties, then could be supplanted in the field by Randy Winn.

On a spring training invite, nothing is guaranteed to Baldelli. If he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training–which would require Jamie Hoffmann to be returned to the Dodgers OR for Brett Gardner to either be hurt or be so incredibly bad that the Yankees were forced to start Randy Winn–the Yankees would not be in much of a bind financially regarding Rocco.

In terms of upside, Baldelli does not offer too much. His career OPS+ is 101 and he has a career .333 wOBA. Essentially, Baldelli has been an average player in his career. He’s hit lefties well (.831 OPS), though, and that could be valuable in pinch hitting off the bench and facing tough lefties on occasion. However, it’s worth noting that the things I’m saying depend entirely on a) Baldelli even getting an invite and b) eventually making the team. Neither one of those things is guaranteed, but I think Baldelli’s worth a shot.

19 Responses to “Yankees Should Invite Rocco to Camp”

  1. Rocco works for me, so does Johnny Gomes. Just another guy who might fill the Hinske role.  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    I believe Gomes is heading back to the Reds.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    He’s been offered a minor league deal but hasnt accepted. Maybe he wants one from a winner.  (Quote)

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  2. I would love to have Baldelli, especially on a minor league deal. You can never go wrong on an minor league deal. I am less enthused about Gomes, but even him on a minor league deal would be a nice signing. Jermaine Dye is also getting dangerously close to that level, although he rejected the same deal that Nady signed.  (Quote)

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    MJ Reply:

    Jay: Jermaine Dye

    Please, no. No glove, bat left him about a year ago. Dye should be put out to pasture…  (Quote)

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  3. Geez, the ship sailed on Baldelli YEARS ago. Inviting him to camp is fine but, really, the 5th OF spot should be a competition among players that could theoretically be asked to play on an everyday basis. We already know that Baldelli can’t play on an everyday basis and even though he might be a better player (on paper) than just about every other candidate, I’d really rather not waste roster spots on guys that are a lock to be on the DL for >30% of the season. We’ve already got one of those and his name is Nick Johnson…  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Agreed. I’d prefer Gomes, who would provide good value as a DH if needed in that role, and fits what they need from a PH (rakes lefties).  (Quote)

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    rooster Reply:

    If the Yankees need a player like Gomes they can trade for him during the season and not waste a roster spot.

    The Yankees signed Winn as both a right handed and left handed bat off the bench that can play both corners. Doing so allows them to keep Hoffmann if they so choose. If he fails to stick the Yankees have others who can come up contribute like Kevin Russo, Juan Miranda and Jesus Montero.

    There is just no need to bring in another bench bat on a minor league deal with a spring training invite.  (Quote)

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  4. Do they have a stove in the locker room??? if he knows how to cook pasta and not be on the roster yes.. why would we need another guy who is below average and the DL waiting to happen??? how many guys do we play in LF this year???forget all these rethreads .. baldelli could have been a very good player, he is hurt all the time and is not the player he came on the seen back when.. a real shame, i liked him alot years ago.. but years ago is the key..no more left fielders this year..  (Quote)

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  5. It would be great if the Yankees signed either Rocco Baldelli or Jonny Gomes in the minor league. Both of them can still hit and can provide instant offense from the bench.  (Quote)

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  6. bornwithpinstripes: Do they have a stove in the locker room??? if he knows how to cook pasta and not be on the roster yes..

    Is this necessary? If Baldelli were Asian, would you say he should only be in the clubhouse if he could rock out a mean wok? Should I ditch blogging and go into waste management?  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    yes if the question would have been about matsui, i would say the same, we are right to move on without him, no need to eat up a roster spot, if they wanted to pay either one of them it should be at cook.. abreu rice and beans..  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    hey Matt where is your family from in italy?  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    My great-grandfather came from Cosenza.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    beautiful area, a lot of history..my family is from that island toward the west of you.. i think baldelli is from there also  (Quote)

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  7. Why? When would they get to play? A total waste of time to even ask them as they no chance to make the team.  (Quote)

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  8. The Yankee bench is rather porous.My solution would be to trade some low minor leaguers with promise, for Nate McClouth to play center,move Granderson to LF thus enabling Winn (great name for a Yankee) and Gardner to move to the bench.It solves two problems, the bench and the LF situation. All of our present OF’s are,or have been,or are capable of playing CF.Great flexibility.  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    1. Why would Atlanta trade McLouth? Their OF isn’t exactly strong as it is and trading their starting CF isn’t going to help them.

    2. Who would you propose the Yankees trade? They’ve really got no one left to trade.  (Quote)

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  9. What’s in a name? Plenty, if you are Rocco Baldelli. A moniker such as that would make the Yankees’ line-up card magnificent. Who cares if he can hit? Pity that Bob Shepherd wouldn’t be available to announce him. I can hear the bleacher creatures chanting his name . . . . Sign Rocco!  (Quote)

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