TAMPA, Fla. -- In need of outfield depth and not altogether sold on what they have in camp to replace the injured Curtis Granderson, the Yankees agreed to terms Friday with former Tiger Brennan Boesch on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with incentives.
"Good move on their part," one opposing team talent evaluator said. "Definitely better than most [players] who are available this time of year."
Boesch has batted .363 (29-for-80) with a .538 slugging percentage against the Yankees. Boesch -- who was released Wednesday by the Tigers and drew interest from several clubs, including the Mets -- can play both corner outfield positions and serve as a DH.
He gives the Yankees another lefthanded-hitting outfielder, something they don't seem to need. Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner are lefthanded-hitting outfielders, as is Granderson. But in Granderson's absence, the corner options haven't looked strong, especially in the field. Boesch, 27, who battled a sore oblique earlier in spring training, could provide some stability.
The 6-4, 235-pound Boesch hit .240 with a .286 on-base percentage, 12 homers and 54 RBIs last season. In 2011, Boesch hit .283/.341 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs. In 2010, his rookie season, he hit .256/.320 and had 14 homers and 67 RBIs.
The Yankees started camp with Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz as primary contenders for the righthanded-hitting backup outfielder job, but they were thrust into a competition for a starting job when Granderson went down. Neither has looked great in the field, and when Mark Teixeira got hurt, Rivera found himself as an option at first base. Others getting looks in the outfield have been prospects Melky Mesa, a strong defender who primarily plays center, and Ronnier Mustelier, who has gotten some time at third and in the outfield.
The Yankees pounced on Ben Francisco this week when he was released by the Indians. They immediately showed interest in Boesch, whom they've liked in the past.