While no agreement was reached regarding Randy Johnson yesterday, the Yankees did make one move. They reached a tentative deal with first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, and he will be undergoing a physical today.
Mientkiewicz, a former Met who recorded the last out of Boston’s 2004 World Series victory, should bolster the team’s defense at first, allowing Jason Giambi to DH more often. The 32-year-old left-handed hitter batted .283 with four homers and 43 RBIs in 314 at-bats for the Royals last season. He must pass his physical, of course, before his short-term deal becomes official.
Even though I've been expecting this, that doesn't really make it any better. The problem as I see it is that now the Yankees will feel they don't need to upgrade first base. If Doug Mientkiewicz is the answer, then you're asking the wrong question.
Update: Out of curiousity, I played around a little with career platoon differentials vs. projections for the starting nine. I'm using a simple run estimator based on OBP/SLG which is OBP x SLG x .87 x PA. I then divide this by the number of outs (AB - H) and multiply that by 27 to get RC/27.
The Yankees' starting nine (with Mientkiewicz) projects to an RC/27 of 6.8 vs. righties, and 6.18 vs. lefties. Replacing Mientkiewicz with Phelps vs lefties would boost that to 6.21 lefties.
Here are Mientkiewicz's career runs saved above average by Zone Rating.
With the caveat that ZR doesn't measure all aspects of a first baseman's job, the glove still appears to be sound.
Mientkiewicz's not good, but he's not awful. He'll probably be about average or slightly below.