The Biggest Loss of the Offseason

(Leon Halip/Getty)

(Leon Halip/Getty)

The Yankees downgraded their offense this offseason, most notably by allowing Nick Swisher and Russell Martin to sign elsewhere as free agents. The drop-off from those two guys to their 2013 replacements is in the neighborhood of two wins apiece, and that’s being generous to 39-year-old Ichiro Suzuki. It’s a lot of power and patience to replace, but the biggest offensive loss of the winter might not have even been an everyday player. Valuable part-timer Eric Chavez signed elsewhere as well.

All told, the 35-year-old Chavez produced a .281/.348/.496 (126 wRC+) line with 16 homers in 313 plate appearances for New York last summer. He played 64 games (50 starts) at third base thanks in part to Alex Rodriguez‘s hand injury, but he also managed 19 games at DH and another ten at first. Chavez made it easy to forget that he hit .263/.320/.356 (80 wRC+) with two homers in 175 plate appearances a year ago, when he was tolerable at best and easily replaceable at worst. To say his production was unexpected last year would be an understatement.

Chavez signed a one-year contract with the Diamondbacks during the Winter Meetings, taking a $3M guarantee to move closer to his Phoenix home. The Yankees had interest in retaining him, especially once news of A-Rod‘s hip injury broke, but ultimately the two sides did not have any substantive talks according to Ken Davidoff. Kevin Youkilis was signed to take over third base on a full-time basis, but the Bombers never did get around to finding a Chavez replacement. The closest they’ve come is Dan Johnson, a third baseman in theory who took a minor league deal.

Now here’s the thing: the Yankees were never getting Chavez back, at least not the Chavez they had last year. Even if they had outbid the D’Backs and re-signed him, there’s no way they should have expected him to hit like he did last summer. Furthermore, they shouldn’t have expected him to stay that healthy again either. Chavez had a stint on the 7-day concussion DL last year and sat out a few games for various aches and pains, but that was it. He was available far more often than not, and given his lengthy medical history, it would have been quite foolish to expect him to do it again. Repeating that kind of production and durability is certainly possible, just unlikely.

The post title is a overly dramatic, but losing Chavez is a pretty big loss for the Yankees. I had no problem with letting him walk under the right circumstances at the outset of the offseason, mostly because I figured it was better to get rid of him a year too soon rather than a year too late. Those right conditions did not include a major hip injury for A-Rod and not bringing in a viable alternative, however. Given the replacement level catching tandem, Joe Girardi is going to need a legitimate threat off the bench to pinch hit in late games. Chavez, the 2011 version, would have been perfect. The Yankees had the right player in the right role, just in the wrong year.

Categories : Bench


  1. raul the ibonez says:

    dont wory bee happy frank

  2. Blake says:

    Not sure what the impact of losing Chavez will be but unless he was just dead set on going home to play in Arizona it’s one that’s hard to figure…..Chavez would probably get more playing time with the Yankees as well now with the addition of Prado with the Dbacks

  3. Mike HC says:

    I put Chavez in the Ibanez category, and Marcus Thames before him, where it was nice to find that cheap bench production for a year or two, but it is no big deal to see them go.

  4. trr says:

    Agree, but need to find adequate replacement.

  5. emac2 says:

    Letting him go was really just bad management.

    You can’t play cheapskate with all the little guys and max out the few you think you really need. Especially if you want to field a functional team for 189 next year with the big contracts we have.

    2/5 would have probably kept him and while it would have been risky, is he ever more risky than the Dan Johnsons of the world? (sorry Dan) At least when healthy Chavez is a good player instead of just a healthy warm body.

    • jjyank says:

      I’m sorry, but I don’t see signing an aging and injury prone Chavez for two years less risky than a minor league deal.

    • Bob Buttons says:

      The problem (and the risk) is that you don’t know if you will get a healthy Chavez. It’s been speculated many times that one more back injury and he’s done with baseball.

      • emac2 says:

        My point was that they need to pay more and risk more for a player like Chavez who is an above average player when healthy instead of players who are more likely to be healthy but aren’t very good when healthy.

        If the risks we take are all based on players without any better options the team isn’t going to be very good. We aren’t filling in around a bunch of stars anymore.

        • Bob Buttons says:

          My point is that one important quality of backups are that they can stay healthy, because they are the ones who will start when the starters get injured. While Youkilis isn’t injury free, he’s probably less banged-up than Chavez, and with A-Rod out until mid-season (or more), we need someone who doesn’t break down after 4 or 5 games.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          Chavez has been an above average player exactly once in the past 6 years. He’s exactly the kind of player they should not pay more or risk more for. He’s the type of player that if he’s willing to come on a cheap, one year deal, take the risk. Otherwise, the resources can be better spent elsewhere.

    • Govin says:

      I’m not sure Chavez would have taken a two year contract. Last year he was thinking about retiring.Saying how difficult it was to prepare for the games.

      • emac2 says:

        then get him with a 1-4 or a player option.

        Why lose such a potentially helpful player over a mil or two?

        • jjyank says:

          Maybe he really just wanted to be in Arizona too.

          • Govin says:

            My guess is, he would have taken the Yankees over most teams, accept for the ones that were close to were he lives.

            • jjyank says:

              Probably. But I do think that fans in general understate the location factor for a guy in Chavez’s position. He’s close to retirement, so the allure to playing closer to home in a warmer environment might easily outweigh the Yankees offering him an extra million.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      “Letting him go was really just bad management.”

      Sucks that I agree we should have kept him, but can’t possibly agree with this sentence.

    • RetroRob says:

      Not really.

  6. OldYanksFan says:

    Agreed. We will certainly miss a 126 wRC+ with 16 homers in 313 plate appearances, but I don;t know how much we will miss 2013 Chavez…. although he was probably worth $3m.

    Hey…. My guess is A. Soriano could be available. This is his age 37 year (I can’t believe he’s that old!). The Cubs are on the hook for 2/$36m. He looks to be close to an .800 OPS guy, is a RH bat, and is not a butcher in the OF.

    What might he cost? 2/$14m? Less? More?
    Is he worth a look?
    I have to think he would be good for an ‘Ichiro bump’!

    • Bob Buttons says:

      Actually he is a butcher in the OF. And supposedly teams won’t even take him at 2 mil a year.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        He’s actually not a butcher, according to fangraphs or b-ref.

        • Bob Buttons says:

          Defensive metrics are even more fragile than WAR. Plus, Wrigley is a bit cozier than YS.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            I haven’t seen any scouts butcher him either.

            You called him a butcher, I don’t see the proof for it.

            • Mike HC says:

              I think he got his reputation as a butcher when he first made the switch from second to outfield. But it seems he has improved since then, which is reasonable when learning a new position.

              • Mike HC says:

                The advanced defensive metrics seemed to have like him right from the get go in left. I do remember him having a bad rep though when he first made the the switch. Maybe it was similar to Swisher where he didn’t always look pretty or would botch some routine plays where he would make up for it with good range. I don’t know.

    • RetroRob says:

      Defensively he’s a much better OFer than he was a second baseman, and as noted, the advanced defensive metrics show he’s okay out there. Not sure how much I believe them, but I don’t think defense would be a reason not to acquire him. I’d actually be more concerend about his bat at this stage. Nice bounce last year, and maybe the lighter bat helped, but it might have also been his last solid season.

  7. Dars says:

    Chavez is a loss if we assume that the Yankee offense will be the same as last year -highly dependent on the 3 run homer. But it will not, this will be a more dynamic offense who relies on speed and situational hitting and the occasional homer – Ichiro, Gardner and Nunez give this team a dimension it has not had in a while.

    I compare the 2013 team to the 1996 Yankees. Power in some positions (Tino, O’Neill, Bernie, Strawberry) but speed in others (Raines, Duncan, Jeter), professional hitting in others (Boggs) and a defensive catcher (Girardi). This team is built the same. The professional hitter is Ichiro, the speed comes from Nunez, Gardner and Ichiro, the power from Cano, Grandy, Tex and Hafner. Cervelli and Stewart will put the same numbers as Girardi did in 96. That team was also lefty loaded – Oneill, Tino, Straw. They had good pitching as this team does.

    • LK says:

      Boggs had a .389 OBP in ’96. Ichiro last did that in 2007. Not really seeing the comparison there.

    • Kevin Schappert says:

      Agreed–losing Chavez offensively means zero–he was terrible in second half–Yankee offense will look diff and probably be more consistent but not produce any more runs–last year offense all over map–22 games 3 or more runs then couldn’t buy a run by end of season

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Boggs was a far better hitter than Ichiro, both in 1996 and throughout their careers.

  8. mike g says:

    chavez could at least hit AND provide decent coverage at 3rd sometimes pretty damn good coverage

    i dont remember the yankees seeing thames or ibanez as defensive pluses

    so with an aging youkilis, who is the backup 3rd baseman off the bench now?

    • Govin says:

      Nunez-would be fun to watch at third.(if your the other team.)
      David Adams- will only be a week behind in spring training.(and has never played above double A)
      Jason Nix- not that great offensively but he did all right at third last year.
      Chavez I’m gonna miss you.

    • Mike HC says:

      If Youk goes down, they could use Nunez, Nix or one of the guys in the minors. ARod might also be back by the all star break. They could also trade for a decent guy on the level of Berkman a couple years ago or Ichiro last year.

      Agreed that Chavez’s glove was a major difference between him and Ibanez and Thames. Ibanez and Thames were expected to give offense and anything on D was gravy. Chavez was the opposite, where he was expecting to give D and anything offensively was gravy.

  9. LarryM., Fl. says:

    Not concerned about Chavez moving on to greener pastures. Hafner when not DHing should provide the bat facing RH pitching as did Chavez off the bench. It will be a different offensive team but still able to win. It will be a different offensive threat, less explosive. But I tired of a team which pummeled mediocre pitching and faltered against playoff staffs.

    Maybe more guys who get their bats on pitches will lengthen innings produce more winning results in the playoffs if we get there.

    • jjyank says:

      Yeah, I was just about to make that point on Hafner. Guys like Jeter, Youk, and A-Rod (when/if he’s back) will get some DH reps too. Even guys like Cano, Tex, or Grandy might get a few sprinkled in. So whenever that happens, Hafner is that bat off the bench.

      It would be nice to have a guy on the bench who can pinch hit on days that Hafner starts though. I don’t see it as an every day problem at least.

  10. Robert says:

    Lets see what Chavez 2013 does before we rate this decision….

    • Govin says:

      Truth, Chavez is such a wild card when it comes to health. I do think Hafner should talk to Chavez about that routine he did to stay healthy, then Hafner can surprise everyone by staying healthy for a whole year.

  11. Nate says:

    If the Yankees get anything out of Arod, there shouldn’t be a drop off. Youkilis/Arod = Arod/Chavez

  12. Ted Nelson says:

    By what metric is Martin worth 2 more wins than Stewart? Martin was at 2.2 fWAR and 1.5 bWAR last season, Stewart has put up 1.6 fWAR and 1.7 bWAR in fewer career PAs than Martin had last year.

    Get real. Stop making things up to substantiate ridiculous stances. This has crossed over from your extreme opinion to just blatant misinformation.

    Saying that a Youkilis/A-Rod tandem is a downgrade from A-Rod/Chavy is equally silly.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Stewart is a replacement level hitter — might get exposed as even worse given 300+ PA — and no better a defender than Martin. I’d argue a worse defender but the difference isn’t big enough to waste time over. There’s also going to be a base-running difference because Martin actually stole a base once in a while.

      This isn’t rocket science Ted, Stewart is awful and a downgrade you seem unwilling to acknowledge.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        You made it rocket science when you put a win total on it.

        Every metric we use to evaluate wins disagrees with you regarding a 2 win downgrade. I’m sure Stewart will be worse, but the love for Martin is unwarranted.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Extrapolating six years (!) of WAR out for Stewart and comparing that to one year of Martin isn’t a real analysis.

          The two-win difference between the two is pure offense, Martin being an average-ish hitter and Stewart being replacement level-ish. As I said, the difference in defense isn’t worth arguing. Anything showing Stewart is a good defender does the same for Martin.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            It isn’t real analysis, but neither is assigning an arbitrary two win total based on guesses as to what Stewart will do in 300 plate appearances.

            • LK says:

              I’m guessing Mike meant the two wins as an approximation.

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                Ted’s comment, minus the snark and previously existing vendetta regarding this issue, and my core question:

                Where is the proof that Martin is going to be 2 wins better than Chris Stewart?

                Even if that’s just an approximation, you can’t just pull it out of thin air. I’ve seen enough projection systems that see Martin as a .700 OPS guy, and Stewart as a .650 OPS guy.

                • LK says:

                  From what I’ve seen, .650 OPS is the high projection for Stewart, and .700 OPS is the low for Martin. Even then, a 50 point difference in OPS isn’t exactly small.

                  There is no proof that Martin will be 2 wins better than Stewart, because the future is uncertain. All of the available evidence points to Martin being significantly better than Stewart though. If you want to argue it’s actually 1.8 wins or whatever, go right ahead.

                  • Jim Is Bored says:

                    I’m not arguing anything.

                    I’ve said I think Stewart will be worse. But for Mike to complain about Ted’s lack of analysis when he himself didn’t provide any proof for his 2 win number is just as bad.

                    • LK says:

                      I think you’re ascribing more certainty to the 2-win number than Mike intended to convey. The reality is we can’t do a rigorous analysis of what Stewart will do, because major league teams haven’t thought enough of him to give him more than 400 PAs through his age-30 season. I don’t really see anything wrong with making a rough approximation.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      There’s nothing wrong with making an approximation.

                      You’re completely and totally missing my point, which is that his anger at ted questioning the number was unfair.

                    • LK says:

                      I think the confrontational nature of Ted’s post combined with the fact that those two have had numerous discussions on the same issue makes it not seem unfair to me. It’s fine if you don’t agree.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    There is no proof that he has been 2 wins better, which is my point.

                    I never said Stewart’s sample to date is accurate, but it’s the only info we have. We have no info that he’s replacement level. None. Mike pulled that out of his ass. Making up imaginary stats loses Mike a ton of credibility to me.

                    • Mike Axisa says:

                      Chris Stewart has been playing professional baseball since 2002. We have mountains of data and thousands of plate appearances saying he’s a replacement level hitter.

                      Please, use your brain and stop arguing for the sake of arguing. He’s terrible. This is not an opinion.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      There’s that whole defense thing. Mountains of data on the other HALF of the game. Your decision to ignore that half the game doesn’t make it go away.

                      He is well above replacement according to both respected sources for WAR. You can’t just make up stats as you please to meet your preconceived notions.

                      Use my brain says the guy who ignores defense entirely. LOL. I can’t wait until you are eating crow like you do every fucking season when your silly opinions are proven wrong.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I mean the very stat you tried to manipulate disagrees with you. What does that say about your argument? You tried to frame it in terms of WAR, and WAR blatantly disagrees with your ridiculously extreme position. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

                      You fucking turd.

                    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

                      ” Mountains of data on the other HALF of the game.”

                      Data on 141 career games spread over 6 seasons that don’t account for all aspects of catching are hardly mountains of data. The data indicates that over small samples spread over several years, he has been good at some aspects of catching.

                      Mike said Stewart was a 2 win downgrade offensively, which is supported by statistical evidence. Evidence, which while it has it’s own flaws, is much more established that C defense.

                      “He is well above replacement according to both respected sources for WAR”

                      Mike said he was a replacement level hitter. Career oWAR = 0.1. Look at that. Respected source indicating Stewart is a replacement level hitter, for a catcher.

                    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

                      That last comment is just totally un-necessary.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      “The drop-off from those two guys to their 2013 replacements is in the neighborhood of two wins apiece, and that’s being generous to 39-year-old Ichiro Suzuki.”

                      He didn’t say offense. He said wins. Then he amended that statement when I showed that it was blatantly false. (If nothing else it was extremely misleading based on his arbitrary decision on what aspects of wins to include and not include.) He did so by arguing, effectively, that all “good” defensive Cs contribute the same value to their team. Just lump them all together.

                      There is as much defensive data as offensive data, so that argument sucks.

                      Just ignoring half the game when it’s convenient for you to do so is no argument at all. It’s a joke.

                      So, again… there is no fucking evidence whatsoever that any metric measuring total “wins” contributed by a player has Martin two wins ahead of Stewart. None. Instead of presenting the evidence in a reasonable way, Mike decided to lie about it to make an exaggerated point. No commenter on here would ever get away with that. They’d be called out immediately for making a ridiculous point.

                      That you have a mancrush on Mike doesn’t make him any less wrong here.

                    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

                      Selective quote taking.

                      The entire focus of the article was on offense. The opening:
                      “The Yankees downgraded their offense this offseason, most notably by allowing Nick Swisher and Russell Martin to sign elsewhere as free agents. The drop-off from those two guys to their 2013 replacements is in the neighborhood of two wins apiece, and that’s being generous to 39-year-old Ichiro Suzuki. It’s a lot of power and patience to replace, but the biggest offensive loss of the winter might not have even been an everyday player

                      No mancrush. Just facts. Statistically, there’s evidence that says he could be worth 2 wins less offensively. That is a fact.

                      There is as much defensive data as offensive for Stewart. You conveniently ignore the fact that the defensive metrics are considered to need a much larger sample size to overcome the inherent weaknesses in the system.

                      There is a metric that indicates that Martin would be worth 2 more wins offensively. Which is what the entire article was about. Ignoring the fact the article was entirely about offensive value so you have something to argue against is incredibly weak. The point is that there is a big downgrade offensively. Whatever defensive value that Stewart may or may not provide over Martin doesn’t change that in any way, shape, or form.
                      Also, fwiw, not all of the advanced metrics are even in agreement that Stewart is better than Martin defensively. By FRAA, Martin was worth -0.5 runs last season, compared to Stewarts -0.4 in much less playing time. FRAA, fwliw, scores Stewart as being above average only once in his career.
                      It does make sense to ignore defense in an article about offense. Offense, not total value, was the point of the article.

          • Slugger27 says:

            youre doing the same thing regarding stewart and 300 PAs

          • Ted Nelson says:

            The two win difference is bullshit you pulled out of your ass. Nothing at all to substantiate it. Just pretending like all C with a similar rep play the same level D is ridiculous.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        No, it’s not rocket science. It’s backwoods moonshining with Mike Axisa: I’ll just invent stats that validate my opinions, because actual metrics disagree.

        Stop. You are embarrassing yourself and losing credibility.

        • Steve says:

          So says the guy with the most credibility here. The great one who never embarrasses himself

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Get over your crush on me. I don’t like you back.

            If you ever have an actual baseball point to make, even once, please share it. If you just want to keep playing footsies on here, I’m not interested.

            If you don’t think blatantly misusing stats to prove your point, making up stats even that actually say the opposite of mainstream stats that go by the same name, loses a blogger credibility you’re as dumb as Axisa.

    • LK says:

      WAR is less useful for catchers than any other position. Extrapolating numbers from a part time player and expecting them to hold up over a full season is also not necessarily a good idea.

      You really think it’s “silly” to say that we downgraded at 3B? A-Rod is going to miss more than half the season and will be coming off major hip surgery when he returns. Chavez is a better defensive 3B than Youk and, while the performance wasn’t sustainable, hit much better last year than Youkilis did. 2013 A-Rod/Youk might be better than 2013 A-Rod/Chavez, but I find it hard to expect that tandem to be better than 2012 A-Rod/Chavez.

      • jjyank says:

        “2013 A-Rod/Youk might be better than 2013 A-Rod/Chavez, but I find it hard to expect that tandem to be better than 2012 A-Rod/Chavez”

        I agree with this. 2013 A-Rod/Youk being better than 2012 A-Rod/Chavez is in the realm of possibility, but I don’t think either outcome would be “silly” to expect.

        • Tom says:

          ARod/Chavez put up ~4 WAR combined last year.

          Youkilis put up 1.3fWAR last year; ARod will be playing in substantially fewer games than he did last year.

          I don’t see how anyone forecasting a downgrade would be considered “silly”. It seems like downgrade is more likely than upgrade.

          I’m fine with letting Chavez go as he was unlikely to repeat his 2012 perfromance and/or stay healthy, but he put up some serious #’s last year and Youkilis will be pressed to match it (assuming he stays healthy)

      • Ted Nelson says:

        “WAR is less useful for catchers than any other position.”

        And Stewart is very strong in the areas it’s not good for… so that argument seems to help me more than Axisa.

        “Extrapolating numbers from a part time player and expecting them to hold up over a full season is also not necessarily a good idea.”

        But just making up stats is a great idea!!! Especially when they fly in the face of the real stats by the same name and conveniently fit your argument.

        His actual stats are all we have to go on. I didn’t say they are a great sample to predict the future on, but it’s better than just making up random stats based on subjective opinions.
        Axisa has literally told me he doesn’t know enough about baseball to analyze a guy’s swing even to notice if he’s changed his mechanics, and this is the guy who should be taking a small sample and projecting it forward to reach an arbitrary WAR definition that he made up himself that apparently has nothing at all to do with accepted WAR metrics?

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          The only parts of WAR that make Stewart look good in any way are the parts that aren’t considered reliable. I don’t see how that helps your argument at all.

          In fairness, Mike said the two win difference he was talking about between the 2 is purely on offense. Considering Martin posted a 2.2 oWAR last season, and Stewart is at a career 0.1 oWAR. That does stand up to scrutiny and is backed up by available statistics. By his actual stats, Stewart can be seen as about a 2 win downgrade offensively. He said Stewart was a replacement level hitter, not replacement level player. All statistical evidence points to that being 100% true.

          He did say they were about the same defensively, which is an opinion certainly that can be debated. The defensive metrics do seem to like Stewart better than Martin, so he may be able to make up some of the 2 win difference overall, but not likely offensively, which seemed to be the point of the article.

          As for the defensive metrics, none encompass all facets of catcher defense, and there are certainly sample size issues with Stewart’s numbers. Using defensive metrics for a C, especially a career BUC with limited playing time, as justification for a rant is a bit over the ledge. Stewart may be better defensively. He may not be. Unfortunately, we don’t have a very good way to accurately judge that.
          We do have ways to accurately judge offense, however, which was what this article was about.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            WAR is considered *less* reliable for Cs than other positions because so much of C defense comes down to aspects not measured in WAR. Pitch framing is a big part of that, and Stewart grades out among the best in the game at that. It’s hard to make an argument that there’s insufficient defensive data, but sufficient offensive data.

            Until teams start getting into the playoffs on offensive wins, I don’t really care to isolate offensive contribution from defensive contribution in any aggregated team win measurement.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

              That’s fine. But the article was about offense. And the defensive metrics are considered to need a much bigger sample size to be relevant than offensive metrics require. And defensive metrics are considered to be much less reliable, especially for C defense, than offensive metrics. Both have sample size issues. The issue is a much bigger problem defensively. And as I said above, the defensive metrics aren’t even all in agreement on Stewart.

              Stewart has graded out well in framing (as did Martin). Stewart has graded out well in most of the advanced metrics. Stewart may be better than Martin defensively (imo, he probably is, at least slightly). Using small sample sizes of flawed metrics as a basis for attacking someone else’s opinion is a bit ridiculous though.

              “Until teams start getting into the playoffs on offensive wins, I don’t really care to isolate offensive contribution from defensive contribution in any aggregated team win measurement.”

              That’s fine. The article was about offense though. In evaluating the offense, it makes sense to focus on offense.

    • emac2 says:

      I happen to think we get better production out of two or 3 lesser guys sharing time than a Martin type player who isn’t that good but ends up overused and tired.

  13. Vern Sneaker says:

    It’s not so much not having Chavez specifically, production from him would have been a question mark, it’s that the bench and the depth for the inevitable injuries are as weak as I’ve seen in years at this point in ST. I’ve been telling myself all winter to relax, they’ll take care of it and get it up to at least adequate, but I’m beginning to wonder if that’s true. It’s all very puzzling — this is at best (and probably not) a 90-win team, even if the pitching is all the way up to its potential. Still, fingers crossed for more moves like the Hafner pick-up, which despite injury risk at least made sense for starters.

    • Govin says:

      If the pitching lives up to its potential, it will be very difficult for the Yankees to win less then ninety games. The rays were eighteenth with runs scored, and won exactly ninety games because of there pitching. I’m not saying that Yankees pitching will be that good(Rays pitchers allowed the least amount of runs last year)But there hitting will definitely be better then the rays were last year. I don’t think the bench is overly weak.

      • Vern Sneaker says:

        I’m listening. Where is the bench strength? Outside of Nunez, who gives you confidence as a pinch hitter? Who replaces Youk, Hafner, Jeter or Gardner (God forbid) or anyone else if injuries hit? Try comparing this bench to previous years.

        • Govin says:

          Dang I’m in for it now. I’m just gonna throw out some random names that can help this year.Ronnie seems like he can play any position on the field. Dan Johnson is a good left handed backup. Diaz lack of offense can be attributed to a palm splinter in his finger (no I did not make that up)he should have a better offensive year.
          David Adams might be a good midseason callup. I’m not saying the bench is as good as in years past I just think that it can still be solid.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          I’d tell you to go look at our benches the last 5-6 years, but I don’t think you will.

          They haven’t looked all that different than this one’s going to.

          • Mike HC says:

            I’m with you. Cashman is also always on the lookout for some bench help/injury replacement during trade season with moves like Berkman and Ichiro as well. Not to mention the possibility of a real mid season blockbuster which we haven’t seen as Yankees fans in a little while.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Some of those benches were pretty damn thin for about half the year as well.

            Please don’t bring up Kelly Stinnett. I break out in hives.

  14. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Funny, I don’t remember writing this post in my sleep.

    I agree that losing Chavez was big. Having a guy like that, who you believe can stay healthy when used in moderation (kind of like, say, bacon) is a luxury, but one that I think could have been prioritized a bit more. I’d have given Chavez recurring one-year deals until he decided he couldn’t do it anymore.

    A key to this season, at least I think, is going to be depth. Perhaps this team will build depth as the season goes on, but it’s not there at this point in time.

    • Govin says:

      With all of the old players on this team, I think the bench will be used a lot more then in other teams. For the Yankees having a good bench is more important then other teams. That said I’m not too worried, Cashman has a pretty good record when it comes to building the bench for the last few years.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Agreed. I just wish he was still on that bench. Love me some Chavez.

        • Govin says:

          I’m gonna miss Chavez to, he really stepped up when the team needed him to last year.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            I mean, except in the playoffs.

            But as Mike said, he wouldn’t have been able to fail in october if not for his successes the rest of the year.

            • Mike HC says:

              I definitely agree and Chavez was a major part of getting us to the playoffs. But according to WAR (I know, not the end all be all, but just using it as an approximation), he was 1.8 above replacement. The Yanks won the division by 2 games. And if it wasn’t Chavez, it would have been Nunez or Nix at third, who were both above replacement level in limited time. Not really trying to start an argument here because Chavez was a great bench contributor for the Yanks, but it is not a guarantee that the Yanks would have missed the playoffs without him, or even lost the division.

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                True, I’m just glad we didn’t have to find out what would have happened without him.

                • Mike HC says:

                  I’m with you, which is why I was hesitant to even make the comment because I don’t want to downplay what Chavez did for us last year. I have much appreciation for it.

              • Govin says:

                The point is more of, he helped us get to the playoffs, so lets not bang him for failing in the playoffs,

                • Mike HC says:

                  I personally can do both. I can recognize his excellent regular season and also his poor post season. Just like I can recognize Swisher’s excellent regular seasons and poor post seasons. I don’t have to ignore either of them. But that is all past performance, and I don’t think the small sample of post season at bats means that either of them can’t hit in the post season or anything like that.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  I’m not even thinking about playoffs versus non-playoffs. I’m thinking about having a guy who, if he could play 162 games, would still start for a large chunk of baseball teams. Yes, his health is a concern, but the risk is always worth the potential reward of having that caliber of player sitting on your bench.

                  • Mike HC says:

                    Do you think it was realistic to have both Youk and Chavez and expecting ARod to return by mid season? I guess maybe, but I kind of saw it as it was either Youk or Chavez. I prefer Youk, but have no problem if people prefer Chavez.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      Sure. Youk starts. Chavez backs up at first and third. Don’t see the problem there.

                      As a starter, I prefer Youk for sure.

  15. Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

    I’m with Mike about Chavez. Highly doubtful he’s staying healthy again and even if he does, it’s doubtful he’d put up anything close to a .360 wOBA again.

    Better to let him leave a year too early than have to scramble to replace him after he inevitably gets injured.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      You’d be scrambling to replace him with the guys you’re now starting the season with. I don’t get that.

      It would have been worth the risk for me, but I’ve said that a few times already. :)

  16. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    Resign Martin, move him to short, move Jeter to 3rd, and there’s an extra $10 million for whatever else it was that you wanted.

  17. ClusterDuck says:

    No mention of newcomers Hafner and Youkils who combined for 31 HR’s in 772 PA’s.

    The Yanks will have less HR’s this year but not as few as some would suggest.

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