Passive offseason leaves lineup short as injuries continue to mount

Cashman discusses decision to trade for Vernon Wells
2013 Draft: Thomas Milone
(Presswire)
(Presswire)

For pretty much the entirety of this past offseason, the Yankees were dormant. They re-signed all of their pitchers before the end of the November, but otherwise their only notable move was signing Kevin Youkilis in the wake of Alex Rodriguez‘s hip surgery. Had A-Rod been healthy and able to start the season on-time, there’s a pretty good chance Youkilis would be wearing a different uniform right now. They re-signed Ichiro Suzuki a few days later and waiting until February to sign Travis Hafner. That’s pretty much it.

Once the injuries began to mount in Spring Training, the Yankees jumped into action. They acquired three players — Ben Francisco, Brennan Boesch, and Vernon Wells — in March who wound up making the Opening Day roster, and as Brian Cashman told Andy Martino, they made those moves because they were “desperate.” A rash of injuries in camp has a way of doing that, certainly no team plans on building a good chunk of their roster with scrap heap pickups in March. No contending team, anyway.

As the Yankees were being dominated by another left-handed starter last night — they’re now hitting .195/.266/.303 (54 wRC+) against southpaws in the early going — their two biggest offseason failures (for lack of a better word, really) were on full display. They didn’t acquire a capable right-handed outfield platoon bat and they didn’t bring in a solid utility infielder, two things we knew they needed back in October. These needs didn’t sneak up anyone.

That need for a right-handed outfield bat should be mitigated by Vernon Wells once Curtis Granderson returns, though that depends entirely on how Joe Girardi & Co. sort out the playing time. Considering how productive he’s been, it’s hard to think they’ll just relegate Wells to part-time duty once Granderson returns just because that was the original plan. Sure, it’s possible he’ll revert back to the guy he was with the Angels at some point, but right now he’s done more than enough to earn regular outfield playing time.

Still, Francisco (-13 wRC+) is drawing regular at-bats against lefties and he isn’t delivering. Not even close to delivering, really. That said, the more egregious mistake in my opinion was not finding a capable backup infielder. Just consider all of the circumstances…

  1. Derek Jeter, 38, had surgery for a major ankle injury in late-October and was questionable for Opening Day.
  2. The Yankees announced 37-year-old Alex Rodriguez needed surgery for a major hip injury in early-December and was expected to be out until for several months.
  3. Youkilis, 34, was signed to play third base in mid-December, soon after the announcement of A-Rod’s injury. He’s become injury prone over the years and actually played fewer games than A-Rod from 2010-2012 (344 vs. 358).
  4. Eduardo Nunez, 25, had well-documented defensive issues that made him a question mark at the big league level. The team also insisted he was a full-time shortstop and not a utility guy who would move around to different positions.

All that of that should have made adding a good reserve infielder — someone who could play on an everyday basis for a stretch of time if need be — a rather big priority before the season. The Yankees did indicate they wanted to find an upgrade over Jayson Nix back in November, but they never did get around to acquiring one. It really hurts right now because Youkilis is expected to miss a few days with a back issue while neither Nix (35 wRC+) nor Nunez ( also 35 wRC+) are hitting.

The season is barely more than three weeks old, but the Yankees have some very obvious needs at the big league level right now, stuff that goes beyond getting some injured players back in the lineup. The need for a competent infielder isn’t going away anytime soon and Francisco’s lack of production means they still need another righty bat in the lineup. These were items that should have been treated with greater urgency over the winter. Instead, the Yankees took a passive approach and are left without a gaping hole in the lineup against lefties and no suitable replacement for their various injured infielders.

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Cashman discusses decision to trade for Vernon Wells
2013 Draft: Thomas Milone
  • Eddard

    They did pick up Hafner, Overbay, Wells, Youk. They weren’t planning on injuries to Teixera and Granderson and Jeter was on track to return for the beginning of the season. Any lineup that loses its 1,4,5 hitters is going to be short. The only guy expected to miss a lot of time with A-Rod and they did replace him with Youk.

    • jsbrendog

      injury prone, useless, complete unknown, injury prone.

      that isnt a very good offseason to protect against injuries by signing 2 injury prone guys and a useless guy.

      hey our starting 3b is out and we have no depth. let’s sign an injury prone guy who hasnt been able to stayon the field for 2 years!!

      • Tyler

        Yea, and who at that moment in time was a better alternative? You and Mike act like Cashman had a ton of options. Youkilis was the only FA option at that moment.

        • jsbrendog

          i am not saying there was anyone else. i am only stating facts. everything i said is true.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            *looks through several years of RAB archives*

            YOU LIE!

            • jsbrendog

              everything i said in this singular, isolated thread box….

              ::shuffles away::

      • Jim Is Bored

        2 injury prone guys > 1 injury prone guy. It’s simple math.

        Probability of one of two injury prone guys being healthy > probability of one injury prone guy being healthy.

        It’s not the most efficient way to ensure depth, but it’s better than doing nothing.

        • jsbrendog

          but they dont even play the same position so that is a mooot point. hafner isnt a second for youk. they are complektely separate cause if youk goes down hafner cant play 3rd or anywhere for that matter

          • jsbrendog

            but i agree with you. there shouldve been multiple injury prone players brought in that can actually play the field. esp wth 3b cause you knew going in you had no arod and no one on the roster who could replace youk when he got injured. not if.

            • Ally

              Musty is an injury prone third baseman. He’s even out right now. There ya go.

      • Mattinglyfan03

        They knew they were going to have a 38 year old shortstop coming off a major ankle surgery, very questionable for Opening Day and a 37 year old third baseman who was going to undergo his second hip surgery and be out until the All Star break. It was clear they needed a guy who could fill in around the infield and a considerably hitter, seeing as how he was going to get minimum, bare, totally optimistic minimum, a start at third and short each per week and more likely, 2 or 3 starts per week. So likely, 5 starts a week at some combination of short, third, DH and maybe even second once in awhile because though he is young, Cano is human, not a machine, as well. The guy I wanted was Michael Young: only under contract for this season so his contract wouldn’t have been an issue for the 2014 luxury tax priority, he has major league experience at all infield positions, constant professional, had an “off” season in 2012 at .277/.312/.370 and clearly with the Rangers infield set (Andrus/Kinsler/Moreland/Profar) didn’t have a spot any more and as the oldest/most expensive of the bunch was the obvious guy to go. He would have been a great pick-up. Oh well.

  • DJ

    Agree. The ones singing Cashman’s praises for his acquisitions should remember these failures. Cash seemed to spend most of the off-season working on his bucket list….

  • Evan

    Who was available this off-season that would have fit these roles?

    • Jim Is Bored

      You’ll soon come to realize people are much fonder of pointing out problems than solutions around here.

      • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

        True, because that’s what we fans do. If my dream came true and I actually got paid for suggesting solutions for a ballclub I’d probably try harder.

        But I do remember suggesting here to trade for specific players for those spots; Jed Lowrie and Josh Willingham… I’d look for the post but I’m too lazy for that, and I don’t really care if somebody believes me, and I don’t even know if trading for those two would’ve been good for the team, and now I’ll go cry in a corner ’cause I know nothing about life.

        • jsbrendog

          lowrie wouldve actually been great cause he can hit and play 3b and ss….sadly, he is also injury prone…

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Either one would have cost more than any of us would have been willing to pay.

          As jsbrendog pointed out as well, Lowrie wasn’t going to help much in the injury department.

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            Perhaps, I don’t know what OAK gave HOU for Lowrie, I honestly have to have that information first, then compare with what the yankees have, and then say if it was too much or not.

            I just brought that up to show that sometimes we come up with (probably sucky) solutions, not just to complain.

            • jsbrendog

              February 4, 2013: Traded by the Houston Astros with Fernando Rodriguez to the Oakland Athletics for Max Stassi (minors), Chris Carter and Brad Peacock.

              that may as well be spanish to me, which i do not speak. but there you have it

            • Jim Is Bored

              But complaining and then only being able to come up with terrible solutions doesn’t solve the problem, and should, in an ideal world, give the complainer an idea of what Cashman has to deal with, only on a real, and MUCH larger level.

              If we, as fans, can’t come up with a hair-brained unrealistic solution that works, it’s probably a lot harder to come up with a rational, real one.

        • Jim Is Bored

          I know it’s what we do, but I get irritated because it seems like 95% of complaints are followed by “Well hell if I know, I’m just a fan! It’s cashman’s job!”

          If you’re enough of a fan to want to post to a popular yankees message board, I think you can take the extra 5 minutes to either think up a solution or realize that it was a silly complaint to begin with.

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            I hear ya, but FWIW I don’t think complaining about Ben Francisco is that silly (Nix is 0k in my book, they have nobody else to play that role). Someone said to me yesterday that Ben Francisco is on a very much reduced role so replacing him is not worth to discuss hardly, wich is kind of true, but I’ve got two things to say about that;

            1) He was on an almost invisible role because the yankees didn’t face a SLHP for like 10 days, now that the lefties are apearing; Francisco plays->Francisco Sucks->People complain and want him outta here… Normal reaction if you ask me, not that fair or smart, but normal. Wich leads me to the second thing…

            2) You can always improve at something, and improving, at least on the paper, is good.

            Complaining now about Wells, or Hafner, that’d be silly IMO. For not to mention those clowns who complain about CC being our ace. That’s ridiculous, agreed.

            • Jim Is Bored

              And I think you’ll notice I don’t really get annoyed with people complaining about Francisco, because they come with solutions like, Zoilo, Melky, Juan Rivera, etc. And they’re justified. Not all of Cash’s risks work out.

              That being said, I can’t imagine if he(Francisco) continues to struggle like this that he’ll still be on the team come June.

              • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

                Yeah, it makes sense. Have a nice afternoon and I hope you find something to get un-bored Jim. Unless you enjoy being bored, in wich case; forget about before.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Scott Hairston, Casper Wells, Nate Schierholtz among others.

      • jsbrendog

        hairston wanted multiple years. schierholz went to chc where he would actually play, and hasnt wells been dfad and traded twice? so they didnt trade him to the yankees…doesnt mean they didnt try. we just dont know.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        None of which would have necessarily precluded the current issues. They’d just probably be in Wells’s role. You’d still have these guys complaining about Nix and Francisco….or about Hairston, Well, and/or Schierholz.

        For the record, I like all three of those guys.

      • Jim Is Bored

        Schierholtz wanted more playing time.

        Scott Hairston would not be playing any better than Vernon Wells, and would have precluded his acquiring.

        I still think Casper Wells wanted more playing time too; and the Yankees seems to be straying away from getting guys who don’t want to come here.

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          Wells was traded and doesn’t have any say where he goes.

          I think you made up the part about him not wanting to come to the Yankees and wanting more PT because I haven’t read that anywhere.

          • Tom

            I live in the Northwest, so I follow the M’s a bit more than any other non-Yankees team and was scratching my head when Jim said this yesterday.

            I have not seen or heard anything to suggest there is a shred of truth to this and it reads like random speculation to defend the front office/argue with people who are complaining about a lack of moves.

            • Manny’s BanWagon

              I think his statement was pretty much pulled from the sky (or an orifice I’d rather not mention)

              • Jim Is Bored

                I never said it was anything more than speculation.

              • Jim Is Bored

                And seriously, we’re not allowed to speculate anymore?

                Noted. I’ll keep this in mind for every time you’re irrationally negative in the future, which will more than likely be every comment you make moving forward.

                Seriously, that last comment was COMPLETELY unnecessary, and I’ll respond with a Fuck You.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Elvis Andrus and Evan Longoria, obviously.

    • hogsmog

      *cough* Nick Swisher *cough*

  • dkidd

    russell martin’s ops is .775

    • Mscott

      Francisco Cervelli’s OPS is .867. Catcher, at least right at this very moment, is not the problem.

      • dkidd

        at the moment

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Give it another week.

        • Jim Is Bored

          I’ll give you credit. You stick to your guns, no matter how negative they might be.

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            Yeah, it’s better.

            I just saw a piece by an Atlanta Journalist asking for forgiveness to the braves for saying that they were bad in the off season… I mean the braves have played great but it’s april and the guy is saying sorry already.

            • Jim Is Bored

              I agree, it’s better than the alternative, but I wonder if there’s even a point at which Mike will admit his extroardinary hatred for the Yankees catcher situation was a teeeensy bit overblown.

              • The Real Me

                I get your point, but I don’t think he needs to apologize for his position. That’s his opinion and he has reasons for it. The fact that we don’t agree (I’m with you and think the situation is better than he thinks it is) doesn’t mean he needs to admit to anything. I just hope he’s proven wrong all season. :-)

                • Jim Is Bored

                  He doesn’t need to right now.

                  If the season ends and Cervelli + Stewart(other backups), for the money, are worth more than Martin, then I’d hope he’d admit he was wrong.

        • Tyler

          Cervelli and Stewart will out-WAR Martin this year, or some very close. For a fraction of the cost.

          But yea you’re right Cashman is a bonehead for not giving a guy with a career 95 wRC+ multiple years and millions off dollars. How could Cashman think that prioritizing defense (the early-season and career pitch-framing metrics agree Martin is behind both Stewart and Cervelli in this department) for far less money was a good idea? Especially considering Martin is such an offensive force?

          • LK

            Martin has a career 103 wRC+.

            Also the relevant comparison isn’t Martin vs. Cervelli as starter + Stewart as backup. It’s Martin as starter and Cervelli as backup vs. Cervelli as starter and Stewart as backup.

            • Tyler

              Yes you’re right I meant his 2012 wRC+.

              And when we’re debating whether it was a good move to let Martin walk, the relevant comparison are the two guys replacing him vs. Martin.

              • LK

                No, you’re wrong. If they had kept Martin, Cervelli still would have gotten a decent number of starts as the backup. The relevant comparison is the starts Martin would have made vs. the starts that were made in his place; the answer to that is all of Stewart’s starts, and some, but not all, of Cervelli’s starts.

                • Tyler

                  I understand what you are saying but what is the difference? The starts he would have made for us he is now making for Pitt. So just take what he does for PItt this year, compare that to what we get from Cervelli and Stewart, and be done.

                  I apologize if I’m missing your point?

                  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                    Martin is going to wind up starting 120 games this year, Stewart and Cervelli will combine for 162.

                    • Tyler

                      WAR/game?

                    • LK

                      WAR/game would work fine as long as you average Stewart and Cervelli’s WAR/game properly. Either way, it’s way too early in the season to be drawing conclusions, and there’s a good chance by the end of the season we won’t need any fancy math to evaluate this decision.

                    • Get Phelps Up

                      “Stewart and Cervelli will combine for 162.”

                      As will every catching tandem in baseball this year and as every catching tandem had done since 1961.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            I would hope two players could out-WAR one.

            • Tyler

              Me too, but the main point is that those two guys will earn a fraction of what Martin will this season AND next.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                Fraction of the production too. The up-the-middle positions are not the place to cheap out. You’ve got an established starting catcher, you keep him. You don’t hope two career backups can hold down the fort, especially if you plan on contending.

                • Tyler

                  The “fraction of the production” is the whole argument so we’ll see how that goes.

                  The other thing I am trying to say is that while the Yankees might have “cheaped out” or whatever, it was a smart play to cheap out in this instance, especially when the alternative is a career 103 wRC+ hitter (95 wRC+ from 2010-2012) who is worse defensively than the two guys the Yankees are replacing him with. At the price of 2 Years/ $17 million.

                  I just think you think Martin is way way way better than he actually is. Not saying he is a bad player (he’s good) or that we should not have him instead of Ichiro (we absolutely should) but I just think when you look at the decision to let him go closely its not difficult to see how this could easily work out.

                  Thanks for your responses really cool stuff.

                  • thomas

                    As on poster said in september,”if Martin can sucker some team of 7.5 million after his decline the past few years, good for him”
                    Another poster said, ” I would give Martin 1 year 2-4 million to take or leave”.
                    I think that signing him for what he got was crazy!

    • jsbrendog

      and only that high cause he has crushed the ball the last week

    • Get Phelps Up

      And none of that against LHP.

      • Get Phelps Up

        So in short he would only be adding to the problem so far.

        • Jim Is Bored

          Buuuut no one wants to hear that. Grass is always greener and whatnot.

      • jsbrendog

        BUT HE PLAYED 3B!!11!1!!!!11!1!!1!!!@$!!

  • DERP

    Trade for Ryan Zimmerman. The Nats have found someone better at third and he is no longer the face of the franchise.

    • dkidd

      love zimmerman, but he’s destined for first base

    • FIPster Doofus

      An injury-prone, overpaid player – just what the Yankees need.

  • Tipsie

    Keppinger (though not hitting right now)

  • ROBTEN

    The Yankees are confronting a few problems, all of which compound one another:

    First, that these needs would be also be apparent to every other GM in the league, and no one is interested in helping out the Yankees. As such, the Yankees either have to potentially overpay in any trade or they have to find salary dumps (such as the Wells trade). Given that teams have more cash and are willing to spend it, and the Yankees have announced their intentions to reduce payroll, it makes the salary dump less likely, so that leaves overpaying…

    On this point, the team has limited areas of strength from which to even trade. The depth at pitching as mostly evaporated at the upper-levels due to injury, while any position depth is at a lower level and thus unlikely to be attractive to another team.

    Thus, the Yankees can’t overpay either.

    This, too, is further exacerbated by the fact that over the next two-three years the Yankees may have to: replace 3/5 to 4/5 of their rotation (Hughes, Kuroda, Pettitte), as well as find potential replacements in the OF (post-Granderson), SS, and 3B (and perhaps even 1B and C, depending upon Tex’s recovery and Stewvelli’s production).

    As such, even the “depth” is not really depth since it will be for both finding replacements and dealing with the lower payroll.

    A lot will thus hinge on Pineda’s and Banuelos’ recoveries, as well as whether the outfield and catching depth the Yankees have at the lower levels can move fairly quickly.

    If this doesn’t work, either the team will have to continue to scrape by year-to-year with one-year reclamation projects, or seriously revisit the payroll reduction (at least until ARod and Tex are off of the books).

    In short, I don’t envy Cashman.

    • Jim Is Bored

      I expect the one-year reclamation projects are here to stay, at least for a few years.

    • dkidd

      it’s a hard transition they’re trying to pull off

      billy eppler is good at his job, so i have no problem with the yankees doing 1-year deals as the prospects work their way up

      pitching is another issue. they need cc to keep on truckin, they need pineda to be what they thought he was, they need one or more banuelos/campos/depaula to approach their ceilings, and they need nova or phelps to be a serviceable 5

    • Robinson Tilapia

      This is a really tough thing they’re trying to do, and hell yeah some of it is self-inflicted.

      A lot of fans only know the Yankees who make it all look easy, though, or just thought that’s what they were watching all along without looking closely.

      • ROBTEN

        Certainly, there is nothing wrong with one-year reclamation projects. This is, in large part, the only way that the Yankees can build a bench from year-to-year. However, the risk is that if reclamation becomes the primary way of building the team, then you increase the level of uncertainty.

        The Yankees have been lucky with their reclamation projects thus far, but at the same time have been able to hide or limit the damage when it hasn’t quite worked out (Jones’ second year, Winn, Johnson…).

        When reclamation projects become starters, and if that becomes the focus of your building process, you have to hope that they are more Jones’ first year or Chavez’s second year. In fact, this shows the risks of the reclamation projects–from year to year such players are less reliable, which is why they are reclamation projects to begin with.

        Of course, this could all change–the young pitchers could come back stronger, Sanchez, Heathcott, Austin, etc. could move quickly through the system…who knows, maybe even Adams or Joseph comes up and lights the world on fire.

        But right now, the team is somewhat caught between a rock (high payroll, injured prospects, teams with cash) and a hard place (self-imposed austerity, aging high-value contracts).

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Yup.

          Reclamation is the road to the younger guys, and you hope the young guys pan out. If they don’t? There’s the most interesting predicament of them all, and one that’s more concerning that Ben Francisco or Jayson Nix.

          I can imagine that, by the time Austin, Williams, Heathcott, etc., are at the point where they’re either performing, or not, at the MLB level, there will be another crop of youngsters we’re excited about AND the team will be willing to spend a bit more. Still won’t be easy.

          What made this seem easy was that the core was that damn good. That’s not happening again.

          • Buddy

            If they don’t, just like every other team, your team sucks…

            Then you wait until a crop of young guys DOES work out.

            The difference is, for the Yanks sucks is .500 ball, for the Astros its .250 ball.

  • Monterowasdinero

    Brandon Snyder.

    Ok-disclaimer…his dad runs a baseball skills clinic in NoVa where I live and I have met him recently in Arizona at Ranger ST. 3B, 1B, corner of. 26 years old with some pop from the right side. He was released after ST.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Is the bigger problem here Nix’s not hitting, or Nunez’s not hitting? I have a feeling we’d be staring at Nix less if Nunez was playing like the MLB shortstop some of the fanbase raves he is.

    This is where I think Nix gets a real bum rap. He’s not here to be in the position he’s in right now. He’s playing every day right now because enough dominoes have falled that he’s now the guy. In the end, though, he’s at least Option C at both SS and 3B, and I struggle to see what, at the beginning of this season, a better Option C would have looked like. Option C, more often than not, is going to look like Jayson Nix, a warm body who isn’t likely to either lose or win you any games. There’s a use for these guys in baseball, which is why they wind up on every team’s roster at some point during the season. God, I am so sick of typing that sentence.

    Being that things have fallen to Option C, and that Option B at short is playing shit offensively (sorry, Eddard), should the team be looking at upgrades? Absolutely. I just don’t know what those upgrades look like. Perhaps you trade one of your make-or-break AAA guys for someone else’s at a different position (OMGZ TRAVIS, ANDREW ROMINE?!?!).

    • dkidd

      why is there so much agonizing over the 24th and 25th roster spots?

      the fact that nix and nunez are getting so much crap means youk, wells, pronk and cervelli playing out of their minds. when they cool down and/or get hurt, then we’ll really have something to agonize about

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Because year after year, spoiled fans can’t understand the role journeymen play on every team at some point during the season.

        I think Nunez deserves the crap more than Nix does right now, but his ass gets slightly saved because the defense does actually look better.

      • mitch

        these are not the 24th and 25th roster spots. Those go to Adam Warren and Brennan Boesch. Even before Jeter and Grandy got hurt, it was very clear they’d need a good utility guy to give our aging SS and 3B regular rest, and a righty outfielder to complement our 3 lefty outfielders. Wells may have stumbled into role #2, but that was more due to circumstance.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          He stumbled into it, but he’s in it.

          Your utility infielder’s name is Eduardo Nunez. Jayson Nix was the guy you had stashed in the minors. Unfortunately, they’re both now playing.

          It’s funny how stacked we’d be if the words “healthy Alex Rodriguez” were a reality and not punchline. And if the queen had balls….

          • mitch

            Fair enough. The righty platoon guy is on the roster, so there’s no point complaining about it.

            Nunez can’t be considered the utility guy though. They made it clear that experiment was over, and he was back to SS-only. More could have been done to upgrade over Nix.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Hey, they one non-move I agonized the most over was losing Eric Chavez. I love that guy.

              Interesting what would have happened had Chavez stayed. You’d probably never have seen Youkilis, and Chavez may be a bigger everyday risk than Youk.

              It’s like the logic section of the GRE.

              #whichitotallyaced

              • jsbrendog

                eric cesar chavez isnt exactly doing very well in AZ either

            • The Real Me

              But again, had Jeter been healthy near the start of the season as expected, Nunez would be your backup SS, not your starter. Nix would have simply been your backup 3B & 2B. As Cano is rarely out of the lineup, dealing with Nix occasionally at 3B wouldn’t have been much of an issue. And it’s also possible that Adams could have won the job in that case, since he’d only need to back up 3B & 2B. Jeter’s injury forced Nix into the UF role, as he’s the only one in the org that can play 3 of the 4 necessary IF positions.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                All of this.

                And Ben Francisco would have been an analyst on ESPN14.

          • Tyler

            Yea seriously how could Cashman not have known that the catastrophic injuries we have suffered were going to happen? I posted something like this the last time Mike was complaining about the supposedly bad job Cashman has done, but take each starter we have injured and the projected WAR for the time period he is expected to be out. Then tell any other team to remove any 4 starters from its lineup totaling the same WAR. What other team would not be completely screwed?

          • jsbrendog

            could you imagine the artist formerly known as arod at 3b, an of of gardner/grandy/wells (i am sticking with teix being injured just cause it suits the stacked argument currently) youk at 1b, cano, jeter, hafner. and when teix came back a dh platoon with hafner/youk…man…man…man…

            • Tyler

              Yea oh my god we would have so much depth!

      • WhittakerWalt

        As far as I’m concerned Nunez deserves all the crap he gets. For the past several years we’ve been hearing about how Nuney “just deserves a chance.” Not just crazy Eddard was saying it. Plenty of others had talked themselves into this idea that Nunez could “really hit,” and I can’t for the life of me figure what they were basing that on.
        Well, he’s getting his chance now.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          The improvement on defense has been the difference there.

          Not that it matters, but I’ve never been a fan. The moment I’d have heard someone thought he was starter material, I would have shipped him there so fast Eddard would have been tongue-kissing the air for a good thirty seconds or so.

          • WhittakerWalt

            I certainly like the improved defense. If he was even league average hitting as a shortstop right now, I’d count my blessings.
            Then you have the Excuse Crew AKA Ma and Pa Yank + Mark Feinsand, who theorize that the reason Nuney can’t hit now is he’s spending all his energy focusing on his defense.
            I mean, FFS is the guy a professional baseball player or not? Is he only capable of focusing on ONE aspect of the game at a time?

    • jsbrendog

      cody ransom.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Being Cody Ransom is not a bad way to make a living.

        • jsbrendog

          he jump good

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I don’t recall there being an infielder available that would project to hit much better than Nix or Nunez.

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com Bryan Van Dusen

    Eduardo Nunez WAS the utility infielder. The only reason he’s starting is because Jeter’s injury was worse than anybody knew. Therefore there was no reason go after another utility infielder until they learned of Jeter’s true predicament, and at that point who was there to choose from?

    And ever since the Winter Meetings, which Mike himself reported on, the Yankees were looking at Vernon Wells. Ichiro was signed a week after the Winter Meetings, so I find it unlikely that the team had given up on Wells at that point. Therefore either Ichiro or Wells was looked at as the 4th outfielder, and since they are a LH hitter and RH hitter respectively, a need for another outfielder against LHP wasn’t there until Granderson’s injury in Spring Training… when little to nothing was left to choose from.

    I love how people are disregarding the timing of these injuries, or complications, and saying Cashman and Company somehow dropped the ball when trying to build a team during the offseason. It reeks of unwarranted pessimism, or whining for the sake of whining.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Thank you, Bryan.

      This should be turned into a sticky, Mike.

      • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com Bryan Van Dusen

        I really liked your post at 2:52. Wish this board had “like” buttons.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Thanks again.

          I’d be afraid of the “like” button feature on here.

    • Tyler

      +10000000

    • Jim Is Bored

      I want to take this comment out to a romantic dinner.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I’d like to motorboat that comment.

        • Tyler

          Robinson, Jim, and Bryan, your comments are refreshing.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            THESE TWO COMMENTS!?

            You, sir, have a low bar for “refreshing.” :)

            • Tyler

              I should have been more specific but definitely not just these two.

          • Jim Is Bored

            We have to have both kinds around here, or it’d get dull very quickly. I’m glad there are people who lean negative, it forces me to evaluate if I’m being rational or a…polyanna

            • trr

              All comments have value, unless they’re so over the top

              (see jtb12081 says:
              April 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm )

              that they’re truly dead on arrival

    • jsbrendog

      rationality and reason. awesome. i am so happy right now. seriously.

    • steves

      Sorry to spoil the lovefest but Nunez WAS NEVER the utility infielder in the Yankees plans; he was expressly the back-up shortstop and that was it; he wasn’t playing third or second (or left field for that matter).

      • Jim Is Bored

        The point was if Jeter were playing you were going to see very little of Nunez and/or Nix.

        • steves

          Agreed; Nunez would have been in Scranton if Jeter was ready on Opening Day (but Nix would have still been the utility guy).

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Not necessarily true. Nix was a non-roster invitee and was one of the last guys to make the team.

            • steves

              On the other hand he was the incumbent, not just some guy the Yanks picked-up and knew nothing about.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Yeah, but they didn’t exactly bring him back on a big league deal either and offer him a roster spot.

                To me, the intention for Nix was insurance in AAA until he was either needed or got sick of being there and asked for his release.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Also, what a wonderfully valuable position “exclusively backup shortstop” is.

          • steves

            I agree that the Yanks were absurd in that decision but that is exactly what they said when Nunez name came up; they were only going to use him at shortstop. Do you disagree that is what they were saying about Nunez during spring training?

            • Robinson Tilapia

              I agree. The talk clearly shifted, though, during Spring Training, and it wasn’t the case at the end.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I understand where that sentiment comes from, but I fail to see where it actually matters, nor do I feel it’s 100% accurate.

        Initially, the plan was for him to play SS only. That plan changed. When this roster was finalized, he was your utility IF, not your backup SS.

  • JLC 776

    Agree. I’m starting to think the FO’s long-range plan is already in ‘rebuilding mode’ and that’s why they’ve been refusing to care too much about the on-field product at the moment. It’s infuriating that they throw out the ‘championship product’ mantra, but if they really think that this is a championship caliber team with the moves they (haven’t) made, than the FO is inept.

    • Jim Is Bored

      The talent level necessary to be championship caliber in the AL East is much, much lower than in past years.

      They can be an 89 win team and be championship caliber, this year.

  • trr

    It’s not like we didn’t discuss this ad nauseam (ad nausea?) all winter long. Overall, Cashman & Co did a good job of plugging the holes as they occured…The real issue, if you must have one, is the fact that the Yankees had become an aging team with very little flexibility due to too many over priced contracts (insert your favorite whipping boy here)…I think as needs arise during the season and at the trading deadline, the F/O will continue to do a superior job bringing in (we hope) talent…will it be enough? That’s why we’re watchin’.

    • Jim Is Bored

      We’re going to be in this same position, and hear the same complaints, until A-Rod, Jeter, and eventually Tex’s contracts are off the books.

      Financial decisions made before the current financial environment are hamstringing us. We can complain about a lack of foresight all we want, but them’s the breaks. I do wish ownership had decided to wait until we had fewer gigantic salary obligations before tightening the purse strings.

      • The Real Me

        I do wish ownership had decided to wait until we had fewer gigantic salary obligations before tightening the purse strings.

        Yup. While I understand those contracts were given out prior to the new CBA, the Yankees also had the opportunity to work towards a new fiscal plan, instead of diving off a cliff (well, almost. At least they gave themselves a year to adjust.).

  • jtb12081

    Since the Wells signing is “desperate” by Cashman then he doesn’t get credit for it, which makes his off-season even worse. Cashman is a HORRIBLE GM and has been for 15 years.

    And, a huge article about the Yankees offseason and the only words about Brian Cashman were a little blurb about Wells’ signing being “forced.” What a prejudiced, bigoted, narrow minded, OMISSION-based report WITHOUT it focusing on Brian Cashman. Typical news media garbage, crying “wolf, wolf, wolf” WITHOUT telling who the WOLF is. Just like our regular news mafia reporting their one-sided, apartheid-preaching, politically-correct propaganda EVERYDAY in this country. No wonder it is so much trouble.

    They all have one thing in common….I wonder what it is…I just wonder.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Nah, someone else can take this. Jim?

      • Jim Is Bored

        Honestly, all I was going to say was:

        “Comment of the Season”…so far.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          You apartheid-preacher.

      • trr

        not even worth rebutting. trolling at it’s worst. (is there such a thing trolling at it’s best?) People who blame the media for everything piss me off, man

        • Jim Is Bored

          I blame the media for people who blame the media being something that pisses you off.

          • trr

            thanks….I think!

        • thenamestsam

          The best is always when you can connect societies issues to your trolling about the Yankees. that’s how you know you’re doing it right.

    • trr

      Donald Trump, we asked you to stop posting here!

    • jsbrendog

      dude, you need to relax. deep breaths man. or woman. both are capable of this.

    • WhittakerWalt

      THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH

  • VAN

    Hey Axisa, Matt Moore has a 1.04 ERA and is 4-0 so far this season. A right-handed bat wasn’t going to help us at all last night.

    • trr

      we’ve been struggling all year against lefties

  • Pasta

    Bring up adams dfa francisco adams can play third second first and corner of.

  • Kosmo

    I´m almost certain that when Mustelier, Granderson and later on Tex are healthy the lack of production vs. LHSP will be less of an issue. The Yanks will at this point in the season have a very difficult time adding a righty bat via trade. Willie Bloomquist ? There is diddley to be had as of this moment. Yanks miss Jeter.

  • Eddard

    I think the problem here is people think a Mark Teixera can get hurt and you can easily replace him with a Joey Votto. Curtis Granderson goes down let’s just plug in Justin Upton. Bench players are on the bench because they’re not that good. You can’t fill out the 25 man roster with 25 all stars. What has been wrong with Overbay, Hafner, Wells and Youk? Those were the fill ins and they’ve performed. Cervelli is outperforming Martin. The lineup will ALWAYS be short as injuries continue to mount no matter who you are.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Of course.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    IMO, the Yankees took for granted their need for a half way decent right handed hitting 4th or 5th outfielder.

    To think Fransisco could even be adequate after he was on 3 different teams last season and was atrocious, even cut by the Astros, was poor judgement.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      He was also briefly on two solid teams as of very recently (Tampa, Philly.) Clearly, they saw a reason to give him a chance too.

      Francisco’s presence is being way overstated. If he fails to perform, he’ll follow the Randy Winn Guide to Being a Yankee out the door.

      • Manny’s BanWagon

        Fact is he’s getting ABs and doing absolutely nothing with them so it is a problem otherwise Mike wouldn’t be writing about it.

        IMO, he’s the type of guy who should be in AAA in case of emergency, not on the 25 man roster getting regular playing time. The team is helpless against lefties so if a better option is readily available, I think it’s time to go to plan B.

        A righty outfielder who hits well against lefties should be one of the easiest positions to fill and there were better options available aside from the list of excuses of why nobody wanted to play for Yankees.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I’m not in disagreement as to Plan B. I don’t really believe he’s going to do anything more than what he’s doing.

          There’s not a lot in between stashed-in-AAA vet and fifth outfielder, although it’s debatable whether Francisco or Boesch is the fifth outfielder.

          • Manny’s BanWagon

            Given that the entire starting outfield and DH were all left handed, I think they needed to do whatever it took within reason to land a Schierholtz, Hairston, Wells or other lefty masher and not go the route of throwing shit against the wall and hope something sticks like they ultimately did with Fransisco, Diaz and Neal because sometime all you end up with is a pile of shit.

    • trr

      this

  • http://riveraveblues austinmac

    The team’s OPS vs. lefties is under .570. It isn’t Moore who was the only problem. They have no reliable right handed bats. Youkilis can hit, if healthy. The problem is he hasn’t been healthy for several years.

    Wells has done well so far. However, give it time before we annoint him a success.

    If anyone believes Cervelli is going to OPS over .800 for the year, I have mountain property is South Florida to sell you.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      One of my favorite things about Everglades National Park is how they feel the need to tell you the current elevation is six feet.

  • Craig

    Seriously, though, who expected Nunez to hit this poorly overall and especially against lefties???

    That said…lots of injuries and slower recovery times that you just have to deal with.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Hopefully Youkilis back isn’t too bad because it’s pretty much a certainty that he and Hafner will end up on the DL at some point. I just hope it happens after Teix and Granderson come back otherwise the lineup is gonna look like Cano and 8 Astros out there.

  • Buddy

    I hope Cashman has learned his lesson.

    Get a back up former all star FOR EVERY POSITION. Stash some in AAA and some on the bench.

    Good grief.

    This team is missing 4 of its top 5 position players and are above 500! Where is the article singing Cashman’s praises???

    Mike. You are coming dangerously close to being relegated to the group of spoiled-fans-who-became-a-fan-in-the-late-90s.

    On opening day I said, if the Yankees are .500 on June 1st, I’ll take it.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Nice strawman you created there.

    • JRod

      There is an element of NYY fans who are shocked to discover that most catchers don’t hit like Posada and most shortstops don’t hit like Jeter. There’s another, larger element that knows this very well, but still has some vestigial, subconscious outrage toward guys like Stewart, Cervelli and Nix that they can’t really explain.

  • FEED.ME.MORE!

    Ok just to recap:

    Cashman failed because he didn’t foresee his 40 HR OF and his 30 HR, switch-hitting gold glove 1B missing two months?

    Because:

    Chavez ——>Youk
    Jones ——>Wells
    Martin ——>Cervelli
    Ibanez ——>Pronk

    What exactly could Cashman have done to fix the problem?

    • Eddard

      Good post and this is exactly what I was saying. People expect an all star for every position AND and all star backup. That just isn’t reality, folks. Those players Cashman acquired ARE the backups. And they are performing, better than last year’s counterparts. Swisher to Ichiro was probably the biggest drop off. That’s the only guy he didn’t really replace. When Teixera, Jeter and Grandy go down you can’t expect to replace them with Ruth, Wagner and Dimaggio.

  • Chamberlain

    I think the recent suffering with lack of decent players is caused by failure of singing with JEFF KEPPINGER….

    Jeff can provide lots of versatality…. especially the team like Yanks which have lots of old player containing high percenatage of injuries…

  • WhittakerWalt

    GOD DAMN YOU BRIAN CASHWOMAN!
    Other than the 4 championship teams you’ve built in the past 15 years, what have you really done???

  • http://joseph-m-jones.me/ Joseph

    Options were very thin.

    I think that the sense was:

    1. Ben Francisco HAD a good slash line versus LHP. In a good sample size he was around .270/.335/..430/.766.

    He basically tracked out to .270 20 HRs 77 RBIs in around 575 ABs on average.

    For a reserve righty hitting OF type that is more than acceptable.

    He took that slash line into spring and hit .250/.294/.594/.888 with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs in 35+ ABs, appearing to be what they brought him in to be.

    He just simply isn’t hitting the way he has proven himself capable of doing in the past. That isn’t a reflection of some kind of bad move (or need to have made another choice). It’s just a dude in a slump.

    2. Nunez was viewed as the jack-of-all-trades guy because they figured at the very least Jete would be back by now.

    They likely feel the need to keep him around because like it or not, until they draft/acquire someone else, he is the Yankee SS in waiting.

    He wasn’t going anywhere, leaving us Nix. They looked to replace him but there really wasn’t anything there. At least nothing that they felt was anything more than a marginal upgrade.

    In the end the issues versus lefties, at least thus far, have been more about facing some damn good lefties (Lester, Moore, Price,) or some lefties they have little ABs against (Wiley, Corbin) who are high-end young pitchers.

    Anyone who has watched the Yankees over the years knows they tend to struggle mightily versus talented young arms they have little experience in the box versus.

    And it showed in those starts as they struggled early, but then suddenly the third time through the order they started squaring balls up and getting some really good at-bats.

    Now none of this isn’t to say they shouldn’t consider making another move. Boesch and Francisco BOTH have minor league options left so if they can find a good RHB with some pop versus lefties they’d be wise to at least consider using those options and sending some guys down.