In their efforts to find a replacement first baseman until Mark Teixeira comes back from injury, the Yankees have contacted retired slugger Derrek Lee about a possible return to baseball, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times. Lee is said to be interested in the situation, but no deal is in place as of yet.
Lee, 37, last played in the majors in 2011 with Baltimore and Pittsburgh, hitting a combined .267 with 19 homers and 59 RBI in 113 games. The former all-star was once one of the premier first basemen in baseball, winning 3 Gold Gloves while being a mainstay in the middle of the lineup. However, injuries and age have caught up with Lee, evident by his retirement after the 2011 season. Lee’s best season came in 2005, when he won the batting title with a .335 average, and slugged 46 homers and 106 RBI. That year, he lead the league with 199 hits and 50 doubles.
Lee would most likely represent an upgrade over the Yankees current in-house options. If Teixeira suffers a setback, the Yankees would be better off with a veteran everyday player like Lee in the lineup. If Teix should come back on schedule, Lee would then move to the bench and could provide some pop as a pinch-hitting option, or serve as a DH against lefties.
Lee would come at a cheap price, considering he last played in 2011, so the risk would be low with a potential high reward. With Spring Training in full swing, expect a decision on Lee to come sooner rather than later.