Could these five free agents help the Yankees down the stretch?

08/16/2013 10:01 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Could Mark Reynolds provide some more firepower for the Yankees down the stretch?(AP)
The Rangers' recent dismissal of Manny Ramirez sparked quite a debate among the team, wondering whether or not the Yankees might want to kick the tires on possibly adding the Washington Heights-born Ramirez for the stretch run, perhaps on a Minor League deal to start before a Sept. 1 call-up.

Sure, Ramirez is still likely Public Enemy No. 1 for the fans, and at 41, there's no way he would be as productive as he was even three years ago, but in a season as crazy as this, "Manny Being Manny" would seem almost normal and who knows, the Yankees might get 50 or so good at-bats out of him as a DH.

As it stands, general manager Brian Cashman is, as always, certainly looking all throughout baseball for any upgrades he might be able to make down the stretch; waiver trades for guys like Michael Young or Justin Morneau are always a possibility, but with just over two weeks left to get guys on the roster for postseason eligibility, here are five current free agents (sans Ramirez) who could potentially help the Bombers down the stretch and wouldn't cost anything more than a chance and a few bucks.

The first name is already on his way to the Bronx, as Jon Heyman first reported, the Yankees have indeed made a move to add Reynolds who is in Friday night's lineup in Boston.

Almost a year later, it's probably still hard for many fans to get the image of Reynolds, then with the Orioles, crushing the Yankees time and time again down the stretch in 2012. He didn't have quite as good a 2013, posting a .215-15-48 line with Cleveland before being designated for assignment and eventually released on Monday, but he could serve a useful purpose down the stretch for the Yankees.

Reynolds could add some more power, especially against lefties, to a lineup that has gotten most of its heavy hitters back, and his ability to play both first and third base means he could serve as a platoon compliment for Lyle Overbay while also spelling the sure-to-be-DH'ed Alex Rodriguez at the hot corner every now and again.

They're included together simply because they throw a baseball with opposite hands, but with Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes struggling of late and injuries incapacitating much of the list of in-house choices, the Yankees could seek out either Lilly or Garland as a nice veteran fallback for the rotation and/or a decent long relief option going forward.

Lilly, 37, was released by the Dodgers in July. Yes, he's been on the DL twice and posted a 5.09 ERA in five starts for Los Angeles, but he's seemingly healthy and the numbers are indeed a little misleading, as two bad starts overshadow the 2.81 ERA he posted in the other three. He was recently near a Minor League deal with the Giants that was reportedly pulled because the teams couldn't agree on an opt-out clause, but that may be easier to avoid if he wanted to come back to the team he cut his teeth with.

Garland, meanwhile, has been out of baseball since being released by Colorado in mid-June. He posted a 4-6 record and 5.82 ERA in 12 starts for the Rockies, but he has been durable (190 or more innings ever year from 2002-10) and could be a horse down the stretch if fully healthy.

Lyon, 33, started this season with the Mets, but was released shortly before the All-Star break after posting a 4.98 ERA in 37 appearances (34.1 innings pitched). He signed a Minor League deal with the Red Sox right after the break, but opted out of that deal on August 1 after making just four appearances.

The Yankees' bullpen has seen a lot of work over the last month, and after watching the previously-untouchable Dellin Betances struggle in his first Major League outing on Tuesday, the Yankees could look to Lyon either for bullpen depth or to stash in Triple-A while someone in Scranton gets the call.

Chris Stewart and Austin Romine have done a fine job this year, and Romine is hitting over .300 in the last month…but with Francisco Cervelli's suspension meaning he's definitely out for the year, what do the Yankees do if something happens to one of them?

Bobby Wilson is hitting just .209 at Triple-A and JR Murphy may not yet be ready for prime time - and even if he is, a time-share may not be the best way to find out - so it could behoove the Yankees to add another veteran backstop just in case. Options are limited, especially if the Royals end up outrighting the recently-DFA'ed Brett Hayes to Triple-A, but Hernandez, who hit three homers in 48 at-bats with the Dodgers earlier this year, may be the best one to sign and stash at Triple-A (even with a Sept. 1 opt-out) just in case.

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