Replacing Mark Teixeira with Chris Dickerson

More thoughts on the Boston fire sale
Yankees option Casey McGehee to Low-A Charleston
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Yankees lost more than just a game last night, as Mark Teixeira went down with a Grade I calf strain that will cost him no less than one week. Derek Jeter, as you may remember, suffered a Grade I calf strain last season and missed roughly three weeks. Hopefully the fact that he’s five years younger than the Cap’n will hasten Teixeira’s return to the lineup. Either way, the Yankees will be without their first baseman for an important stretch of games.

With the rosters set to expand on Saturday, don’t count on the Yankees placing Teixeira on the DL. Chances are they’ll play shorthanded for the next three games (Thursday’s an off-day) before calling up some players from the minors to fill various voids. One of those guys should be outfielder Chris Dickerson, who we saw briefly last year but has spent this summer raking for the homeless Triple-A squad. He owns a .321/.421/.523 batting line (169 wRC+) in 316 plate appearances this year, including a gaudy .354/.464/.619 line since the All-Star break.

I’ve written about the potential usefulness of the 30-year-old Dickerson in the past, noting that he can hit righties (career .341 wOBA against big league righties plus a .323/.420/.568 line against them in Triple-A this year), steal bases (17-for-20 in stolen bases attempts in Triple-A this year), and play strong defense in all three outfield spots. Dickerson can’t hit lefties though, so he is yet another platoon player in a lineup already featuring too many platoon players, but at this point the Yankees don’t have any alternatives. Players who can hit both lefties and righties are hard to find this time of year.

With Teixeira out of the lineup, the Yankees would have four players for four spots against righties — Dickerson, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, and Eric Chavez. Chavez has to play third and Ichiro an outfield corner; that’s the easy part. Having Dickerson around allows them to keep Ibanez at DH and put Dickerson in the other outfield corner while the switch-hitting Nick Swisher plays first. Against lefties they would have Andruw Jones, Casey McGehee, Jayson Nix, and the recently-acquired Steve Pearce for those same four positions: Jones at DH, McGehee at third, Nix in left, and Pearce at first with Swisher in his usual right field.

It’s pretty easy to see where Dickerson fits in here. Without him, one of those four right-handed platoon bats is going to have to play against righties, and that’s far from ideal. He’ll add some much-needed speed — Ichiro is 4-for-7 in steal attempts as Yankee — and improve the defense overall while not being an automatic out against righties. The sorta tricky part is getting him on the 40-man roster, which is backlogged as it is. I’m planning to write more about the 40-man situation in a day or two, but calling up Dickerson probably costs Ramiro Pena or Justin Thomas their job. That’s life though, these decisions are going to have to be made at some point anyway.

The Yankees catch a little bit of a break because they’re scheduled to face two left-handed starters in the next three games, so they can wait until rosters expand on Saturday to recall Dickerson. They don’t absolutely have to do it right now and set off a chain-reaction of 25-man roster moves. There’s no way they’ll be able to replace Teixeira’s production, but adding Dickerson as a platoon bat is their best in-house solution at the moment. Maybe McGehee or Pearce or one of those other platoon guys gets hots and carries things for a bit, but I wouldn’t count on it. Dickerson is mashing in Triple-A and offers the speed and defense elements as well. He’s their best internal option with Teixeira on the shelf.

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More thoughts on the Boston fire sale
Yankees option Casey McGehee to Low-A Charleston
  • Todd

    Chavez on the brain?

  • Need Pitching & Hitting

    Is Bettances done for the year? If so, they can just put him on the 60-day DL to free a roster spot for now. They’ll still need to find spots if/when Feliciano and Pettitte are ready, but this way they can delay cuts until then.
    Dickerson makes a ton of sense. Hopefully the Yankees agree.
    Another possible option without the need for a 40-man move would be CoJo at DH and Ibanez in LF, but I think all around Dickerson makes more sense.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Dickerson makes sense, but I agree nothing gets done before rosters expand. I’m guessing Tex gets DLed for Sammy Boy today?

  • Dave

    After the way Nix fumbled in LF earlier in the year (one classic misplay, possibly against the Mets, on a nationally televised game sticks out), I would be surprised to see Nix out there. I’d expect Jones in LF and give Swisher the DH with Nix at 3B and McGehee in the OF or Pearce in the OF and McGehee at 1B. Or Swisher plays RF and McGehee DHs.

  • Samwise Eddard

    Replacing Mark Teixera with Chris Dickerson is like replacing Barry Bonds with David Eckstein. Other veterans on the team need to step up, not a 30 year old career minor leaguer. I’m talking about Granderson, Ibanez/Jones, Ichiro, and Martin. The top 3 hitters can’t do everything.

  • dkidd

    what if we replaced tex with ernest dickerson? yankee games would be bathed in a golden hue

    /too obscure to be funny’d

  • Marcy

    With Buck “stocking up” on LHP the Yanks are going to need some decent right-handed production.

    After call-ups Granderson and Jeter both need days off.

  • Marcy

    Great Andy Pettitte sighting on MLB network.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadgeek/ Roadgeek Adam

    Off topic:
    YES reports Pearce is the 4th iteration of No. 43 this year. Have we ever had this many re-issuance of a number before?

  • Marcy

    Guess they REALLY didn’t like Casey McGhee

  • cashthegenius

    Yanks have a chance to prove their heart here. It would be hard for any team to deal with HALF the injuries the Yanks have had to star players this year. Everyone has to step up and the platoon guys/guys called up have a chance for glory. If the Yanks can hold on and make a serious play off run it will be one of the better seasons to remember. Its hard enough to win when everyone is healthy…but like Jeter always says “no one is feeling sorry for us, and we can’t either.” LETS GO YANKS

  • Samwise Eddard

    LOL! They just said on the Kay show that Sam Pearce is batting cleanup tonight! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Shows you how much trust they have in 4-9.

    • JonS

      Steve Pearce I know…Sam…?

      lol

  • Jose M. Vazquez

    Get set for facing 5 straight left handers in the next five games.

    • forensic

      Unless something has changed, they’re facing righties on Friday and Saturday against the O’s.

  • JonS

    So…Why did they trade for Ichiro when Dickerson seemed like a better version?

    • herby

      Was my thinking all along…should’ve used Dickerson and saved the young pitching for something really of need…but it’s Ichiro….the forever Yankee love affair with aging veterans

  • JonS

    Casey McGhee is no longer a Yankee…Sad day. :(

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      He’ll be back soon enough.

    • forensic

      He’s not gone. Just optioned to charleston so they can call him back early next week.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      he’ll be back on Tuesday

  • OMG! Bagels!

    If you told me in ST that we’d be without Mo, Andy, Pineda, Arod, CC, Tex, and Gardy (some for long stretches, some all season) and be in first place in August, I’d have told you that you were out of your mind. I’m sure there’s others I’m forgetting but the injuries all blend together at some point. Where would we be with all of them healthy all season?

  • JScott

    The funniest thing is that whenever the Yankees significant injuries are listed, Pineda’s name is seldom listed. Yet, on the day he was acquired, it was Conventional Wisdom almost everywhere, that he was our #2 starter this year.

    • OMG! Bagels!

      I actually left it out the last time I listed injuries and someone reminded me.

  • rogue

    Dickerson or Pena?

    Hmmmm….

    I’ll get back to you.

    /sarcasm