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Yankees rumors: Derrek Lee to save the day?

New York has gotten creative in their search for first base help, reaching out to the retired Lee about returning to baseball.

Greg Fiume

The options available to the Yankees on the trade and open markets to fill the void they have at first base are not great, to put it nicely. New York appears to be well aware of the dearth of suitable replacements, so they've opted to think a little outside the box in their search for a Mark Teixeira substitute.

To wit, the Yankees have called retired first baseman Derrek Lee -- who last played in 2011 -- about suiting back up in the Bronx, reports David Waldstein of the New York Times:

They have asked the retired first baseman Derrek Lee whether he would come out of retirement, according to a person with knowledge of the talks who asked to remain anonymous.

As of Sunday night there was no deal pending, the person said, but Lee was interested and the situation could always be revisited.

Lee, 37, put up respectable numbers in 2011 -- hitting .267/.325/.446 with 19 home runs in 119 games with the Orioles and Pirates -- but was never able to link with a new club last year. He was reportedly open to playing last year, but just never found the "right opportunity" to get him back on the field.

The tall slugger has 15 years of MLB playing time under his belt -- which includes three Gold Gloves, two All-Star appearances, and a batting title -- and is a career .281/.365/.495 hitter with 331 home runs, so the pedigree is definitely there. What remains to be seen is whether Lee wants to give baseball another go, and also whether he's still in the playing shape required to do so.

The Yankees still have several in-house options at first base -- they have been playing Juan Rivera at the position the last few days -- but Lee could end up being their best (i.e. cheapest) outside option if the candidates in camp don't pan out.