Yankees agree to terms with second baseman Brian Roberts and lefty reliever Matt Thornton
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The Yankees put two more free agents on their growing offseason tab Tuesday by agreeing to terms with oft-injured second baseman Brian Roberts and lefthanded reliever Matt Thornton, a source confirmed.
Roberts will receive a one-year deal worth $2 million, with additional incentives, and Thornton's contract is for two years, $7 million. Both are pending physicals.
In need of a second baseman, and having limited internal options, the Yankees chose to roll the dice with Roberts, who has been productive at the plate when he can stay on the field. At 36, he's a career .278 hitter with a .349 on-base percentage. But in the past four years, Roberts has played a total of 192 games.
Since 2010, Roberts has missed extended time with a herniated disc, an abdominal strain, a groin strain, hip surgery and a pair of concussions. Last season, he appeared in only 77 games because of a ruptured tendon in his right knee. Back in 2009, Roberts hit .283 with a .356 on-base percentage and. 451 slugging percentage with a league-leading 56 doubles and 16 homers, but he's never been the same because of injuries.
The Yankees weren't going to find a replacement for Robinson Cano, an elite player. Instead, they're trying to fill the space at second, and Roberts joins two more recent additions -- Kelly Johnson and Dean Anna -- in vying for time at the position.
With roughly two months to go before spring training, the Yankees still can explore other options. But they already turned down a trade with the Reds for Brandon Phillips, and it appears the Yankees don't want to part with the money or prospects necessary to significantly upgrade the position, especially with the need to invest in more rotation help.
As for Thornton, he's the immediate Band-Aid for the loss of Boone Logan, who signed Monday with the Rockies for $16.5 million over three years. While Logan had become a reliable lefthanded option for the Yankees, Thornton, 37, was a disappointment for the Red Sox, who left him off their playoff roster during their championship run.
Thornton, acquired from the White Sox on July 12, spent time on the disabled list with an oblique strain in mid-August before finishing with a 3.52 ERA in 20 appearances for Boston.