The New York Yankees are close to a deal to acquire outfielder Matt Lawton from the Chicago Cubs, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.
The Cubs would recieve not a player to be named … not a minor league player to be named … but a YANKEES minor leaguer to be named. Ouch. Jason Dubois to Jody Gerut to Matt Lawton to a Yankees minor league player to be named?
Lawton is pretty decent offensively, hitting .268/.366/.412. That’s all – decent. I’m not quite sure why the Yankees would want him over Matsui, Bernie Williams, or Sheffield. He could be a fourth outfielder which would help but quite frankly … he doesn’t fit in the fourth OF role, which is more defense, speed, and pinch-hitting.
Matt Lawton this year played for the Pittsburgh Pirates as well. From Pirates fan (and occasional Fire Brand columnist) Frank Palmieri comes a scouting report:
One of the worst defensive outfielders in the league. Has the ability to consistently turn popouts into doubles. Has an average arm but won’t throw many runners out. Average contact/power at the plate … little too much of a free swinger at times. One of the worst base runners in the league. Falls asleep when taking a lead and tends to get picked off quite a bit. Always gets a late jump when trying to steal a base.
To temper our giddiness though, comes the words of Mario Scalise who has seem Lawton up and close as a member of the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago Cubs.
I’m actually a fan of his. He’s not the fastest guy out there, but he’s an above average leadoff hitter who will take pitches and get on base. Defensively, he’s best suited for LF. He’s supposedly a quality guy in the clubhouse and from what I know he’s a consistent player, so I can’t see him struggling. Considering he’ll be a backup, I can’t see the Yanks giving up much, which would make it pointless for the Cubs. I could see Lawton DHing, or have him rotating with Matsui in LF/DH, with Williams as well. Lawton can bat leadoff and put Jeter second, allowing them to move Cano down in the order where he is better suited.
My take? Since they’re giving up so little, it’s sure better than nothing, but I doubt Lawton won’t really impact their playoff hopes – just add a bit of depth.