Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cashman Searches Exhaustively for an Outfielder

Even with Gary Sheffield back from the injured reserve list, Yankees GM Brian Cashman continues an exhaustive search for additional help in the outfield, contacting various teams by telephone on an almost daily basis. The Nationals Alfonso Soriano and the Devil Rays Aubrey Huff are coveted targets, but their high pricetags make a deal difficult as Cashman has only lower level talent and marginal pitching to offer. Thus, Cashman has been forced to consider such lesser luminaries as the A's Jay Payton and the Orioles Jeff Conine, any righty who can platoon with veteran Bernie Williams, whose bat these days is most productive against lefties. Among the more attainable of such players is the Diamonbacks Jeff DaVanon, who has become all but irrelevant in the Arizona outfield with the emergence of Eric Byrnes. DaVanon is tradable because the Snakes have adequate alternatives in reserve roles. Moreover, should anything happen to the Diamondbacks starting outfielders, the team can fall back on hot-hitting Scott Hairston, batting .322 with 11 homers and 34 RBI in 174 at-bats for the Tucson Sidewinders. Hairston is playing so well that he has surpassed his outfield mate, Chris Young, a highly regarded prospect whose season has been marred by illness and injury.