Friday, January 3, 2014

Not many people batted an eye when the Yankees acquired minor-league infielder Dean Anna from the San Diego Padres for right-handed pitcher Ben Paullus on November 20th. But that's probably because everyone thought the Yankees would re-sign Robinson Cano, and they wouldn't have to find another second baseman to replace him.

Well, Cano is gone and the Yankees still don't have a definite answer to the question of who will play second base next season.

Will it be one of the recent offseason acquisitions of Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts? Roberts was once one of the best second baseman in the game, and Johnson bring some lefty power to the lineup, but not a good enough everyday glove, and Roberts has a deep injury history.

Why not Anna? The 26-year-old spent last season with Triple-A Tucson in the Padres organization, where he hit .331 with 90 runs, 38 doubles, 9 homeruns and 73 RBIs in 132 games. He saw time at second base, shortstop, third base and in left field.

Being an above-average left-handed hitter with the ability to play around the diamond gives him a very good chance to make the Yankees' 25-man roster out of Spring Training.

I got a chance to chat with Anna Friday morning, and he said that his versatility around the infield, being able to play third, second and shortstop, is his most useful tool in trying to help Yankees succeed next season.

With a big hole at third base, and question marks at shortstop -- depending on the health of Derek Jeter -- and second base, Anna could very well be an important asset for the Bombers in what would be his first big league season.

When Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners, Joel Sherman of the NY Post wrote a story about how the Yankees could be going from Cano to Anna at second, and how that wouldn't be the ideal situation. But Anna isn't worrying about that.

"I'm just happy to be with this great organization and get a shot to play." he said. "And hopefully I can help the big league team win some games."

And he'll at least get a shot in Spring Training. Anna is currently on the Yankees' 40-man roster, and he'll be with the team in Tampa when they report in just over 40 days.

In Tampa, Anna will get a chance to meet with many fellow teammates for the very first time. Anna hasn't talked with anyone on the club just yet, but there are several people he would like to talk with.

"One is obvious: Derek Jeter." Anna said. "And I just want to ask him how he approaches the game everyday."

Who better to learn the game from than one of the best players to ever step on the field. Anna will certainly get that chance come February, and maybe even longer if Joe Girardi and his coaching staff think he can help this team get back to the playoffs.

Dean Anna might not be Robinson Cano, but he's still a good, young ballplayer that could be a household name in the Bronx this summer. He doesn't have to be an all-star, but delivering a .300 batting average and quality defense could help him stick around for several years, and that's why he's one of our players to watch for in Spring Training.

1 comment:

  1. Jeter..."one of the best players to ever step on the field"? You must be very young! Look out to the center field wall and tell me how many of those players he is as good as or better than!
    His one bright claim to fame is over 3,000 hits.
    How many league records does he have? "0" nada, none!
    He has been a great SS for the Yankees, the Face of the team, and a very popular player all of which will put him in the HoF, deservedly so!
    But to place him with even half of those on that wall, no way!