Tuesday, November 15, 2016
STEVE PEARCE: PASS OR PLAY?
I am having a harder time getting excited about this off season. Usually, I am waiting to see who the Yankees can sign and improve the roster with. Right now, I am more excited to wait and see the kids then for some big name to be added. The free agent class really isn't that exciting this year but because there are so few good names to go around, the competition will be Pearce....excuse me, I meant fierce.
OK, so maybe I did that on purpose but it works as a set up. One name that is getting a lot of attention right now is Steve Pearce and he does make a lot of sense for the Yankees. He's played three full seasons in the AL East and knows how to play here and he is as versatile as you can ask for a bench player. It's no wonder why we aren't the only ones interested.
Maybe you don't remember Pearce, but he did play in 12 games for us back in 2012 and since then he has played for The Rays and the Orioles. He had a .288 BA and 13 home runs in 302 plate appearances this season but a September elbow injury certainly hurt his value so he won't be able to collect a fat contract this off season.
He may not be a big name, but he is extremely valuable if he can stay healthy. Pearce would be a good guy to have on the bench because he is already used to the role and the guy can hit lefties. In 82 at-bats this past season against lefties he hit for a .317 BA, with 7 home runs and 18 RBIs. He may not play a lot, but when he does the Yankees could have confidence throwing him in as a pinch hit scenario against a lefty and trust that he can be productive.
Pearce would be a a good pickup for the Yankees because he's more than just a DH option. He could play in a few different roles, including first base. The Yankees will need to play it smart here. Greg Bird has missed an entire year and is still trying to get back into a routine down in the Arizona Fall League. Pearce has experience at first base, he can give Bird a much needed day off and will be just fine in a defensive capacity. He also has experience at second base, so when Starlin Castro needs a rest he can fill in there also....but so far only the Orioles have been bold enough to play him there. It never hurts to have options though. Pearce has also played in the outfield but hopefully the Yankees would limit his time out there and use him primarily in the infield.
Even as a bench player Pearce is still undervalued. He just finished a one-year deal for $4.75 million and even with all of the competition the Yankees will have to sign him they could easily double his salary in hopes to land him and that would still be a good deal for the Yankees because they would likely get a large return on that investment.
Even with a less than enticing free agent market the Yankees still have some options that will help them strengthen their team on a budget. Pearce has a lot to offer and he fits a very important requirement for the Yankees.....he's cheap. Will the Yankees make a move? Time will tell.
--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer & Editor
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