Jun
15

When the cavalry arrives

By
(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

With a little luck, it shouldn’t be too much longer until some of the prominent Yankee regulars start returning from their respective DL stints. Although Cashman’s cast of fill-ins have generally done a fine job keeping the team in contention, the team will surely benefit from the return of its traditional starters. Let’s take a look.

Alex Rodriguez

Once upon a time, Alex was one of the best players on the planet. Unfortunately, this really hasn’t been the case for the past several years. In addition to an increasing number of injuries and subsequent trips to the DL, he’s appears to have lost bat speed and continues to produce more dramatic batting splits as time goes on.

In 2012, A-Rod batted .272/.353/.430 (.342 wOBA, 114 wRC+) with 18 home runs. Frankly, given his age and health, who really knows whether he can produce at even this level moving forward. For what it’s worth, ZiPS projected Alex at .253/.335/.412 in 2013 (.327 wOBA). If I had to guess, he’ll probably hit about 8-10 home runs once he returns, assuming his activation date still falls around the All-Star break.

Is he the guy who’s going to turn the team’s offense around and ensure the 28th championship and live up to his mega contract? No. He is not, nor should that be the expectation at this point. I think we have to look at A-Rod in terms of incremental benefit. Basically, is he better than league average, and at the very least, does he represent an upgrade over what the team currently has?

3B comparison

(click for larger)

Given that the Yankees have received fairly lousy production from their third basemen so far, I’d say there is a distinct possibility that the answer is “Yes!” to the latter question. According to B-Ref, league average would be approximately .255/.320/.408, so that benchmark may be attainable too.

Defensively, I imagine he’ll be stiff as a board out there, but what else is new as far as Yankee infielders are concerned? Joe Girardi will likely give him some time at DH as well, along with a few off days or partial off days to keep him fresh.  Color me naive, but I’m actually looking forward to seeing A-Rod back on the field if for no other reason than Kevin Youkilis looks completely cooked (and now injured).

Of course, A-Rod’s difficulties with Biogenesis could certainly complicate the matter depending how that plays out.

Derek Jeter

Are we all feeling super confident about the Yankees ageless Captain? Of course not. Derek is pushing 39 (!) years old at this point, and is coming off of a pretty substantial ankle injury. Personally speaking, I think Derek is the biggest wild card here. Unlike Alex, who has been steadily declining the past few seasons, Jeter’s been more sporadic with his performance. After having arguably the worst season of his career in 2011 (and really a very mediocre year by his standards in 2010), he bounced back and was effective in 2012. ZiPS has Jeter batting .277/.344/.369 (.311 wOBA) when he returns which would represent a drop off from last year. Still, I think he too would have to fall into the better-than-the-alternatives category and given how tight the A.L. East is, every bit counts.

My guess is he’ll spend a fair amount of time DH, which still leaves plenty of room on the roster for the likes of Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez (if he ever returns). Honestly though, this would probably be an ideal scenario as it would allow the team to deploy a more capable defensive alternative to Jeter while still retaining whatever’s left of his bat.

While I typically don’t put much stock into the intangibles, I tend to change my stance a bit when it comes to Derek Jeter. Every time I doubt him, he proves me wrong. Great players don’t always follow the trend line neatly. Eventually Father Time will catch up and he’ll stink. Whether that’s this season remains to be seen, but until I see it, he’ll have the benefit of the doubt.  Having his name back in the lineup card will be a welcome addition.

Curtis Granderson

The Grandy-man can! He will be back, and he will be fine. That’s my official stance. His two freak injuries this season were unfortunate and frankly, I’m still a little worried that the power may be sapped a bit after having his forearm/hand broken. Still, he’s still relatively young and seemed to be just starting to contribute positively during his brief return. If I were a betting man, I’d mark him down for 10-15 home runs once he returns. His 2012 campaign, which resulted in a .232/.319/.492 (116 wRC+) line, seems like a reasonable starting point though I certainly wouldn’t mind a little bit more contact and a little less feebleness against lefties, but such is life.

Aside from Granderson’s personal contributions, he’ll also offer the gift of outfield reconfiguration. All of a sudden, there won’t be black holes sitting in both corner outfield positions. Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells can go back to situational hitting (and dare I say, even show some improvement). Between Grandy, Jeter and A-Rod, you’d have to think Travis Hafner would benefit from some additional rest as well.  If this is the last year we get to see Curtis in pinstripes, hopefully he’ll make the remainder of it a good one.

Categories : Injuries
  • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

    What about Frankie C.?
    He’ll save the day!

  • Darren

    Calling Derek Jeter a great player is an insult. He’s one of 5 players OF ALL TIME to play shortstop at such a high level at such an advanced baseball age. The man is astounding. Everyone has looked foolish predicting his demise for years, so why bother trying? Yeah, one day you’ll be right and then you can pat yourself on the back.

    .310./.355./385

    • BigDavey88

      “While I typically don’t put much stock into the intangibles, I tend to change my stance a bit when it comes to Derek Jeter. Every time I doubt him, he proves me wrong. Great players don’t always follow the trend line neatly.”

      “[Eventually he'll stink] but until I see it, he’ll have the benefit of the doubt. Having his name back in the lineup card will be a welcome addition.”

      I don’t think he’s predicting his demise at all.

      • jjyank

        Yeah. This seems like a bit of reading comprehension fail here.

    • Feed.Me.More!

      “WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR…..”

      • Pat D

        Makes no difference who you are!

        Unless the Gods hate you, that is.

  • Eddard

    You forgot Cervelli. Even in diminished states, these 3 players and Cervelli give us big upgrades over what we have been trotting out there on a daily basis. Instead of Nix batting 2nd it’s Jeter. If Teixera is going to struggle this much he can be dropped to 6th. Wells can be relegated to a LHP platoon bat. Romine can be sent back down to AAA and Stewart only plays once a week. I have no doubt they’ll all be upgrades over what we have now.

    The biggest question is can the team hang on long enough to make their returns relevant. BGDP gets the ball tonight and is again asked to stop the bleeding.

    • Feed.Me.More!

      Yeah, he did forget Cervelli.

      Mike must’ve mysteriously edited Matt’s post.

      :))

  • Jersey Joe

    This article made me feel worse about our situation :( .

  • entonces

    Gross that A-Rod is the first name on this list. Personally, don’t want to ever see him in pinstripes again.

    • Jacob the OG

      I would be cool with seeing him later at the game playing third base and batting wherever tbh

  • yesnetworkforumsidiots

    When the cavalry arrives

    Because Jeter & Arod alone are going to save the day.

    This mess has been accumulation for the past few years and it’s gotten worse. The Yankees are nothing more then a retirement of has beens who once were and bottom feeding. Their pitching is ok but the lineup is nothing more then an hyper active teenager it’s different each and every night. I dunno what team come come together and meld like that.

    • BigDavey88

      I know, life is so hard being TWO GAMES out of first in JUNE.

      • trr

        To me, it’s really more about where we heading, and what have learned. If we don’t make the payoffs, is it the end of the world. I guess for some here…I’d like to see a more coherent plan for 2014, 15, and beyond

      • yesnetworkforumsidiots

        See trr’s reply.

  • Eddard

    People keep saying they have to save the day. They’re 2 games out of 1st and have really struggled on the long West coast trip, which is hard to come out of with a good result anyway. They just have to be better than what we currently have.

    With as bad as people say Wells, Adams, Ichiro, Stewart, Romine, Brigniac and Nix are it’s a wonder why more people don’t think they can be better. 4/6 of those players basically have to play every day right now. With the return of these players, half of them won’t be on the roster and Stewart/Nix will go back to being backups. Ichiro/Wells will be platooned. I think they’ll be a lot better.

  • TomH

    People who sing I-Never-Want-See-Arod-Again song will change their tune if he hits well.

    Can he do that?

    I don’t know. However, we have to consider–if not necessarily assume–the possibility that these recent seasons of extreme decline may have been injury related. I.e., related to both hip injuries, including the recent one, called by a surgeon, congenital. (And if the one was congenital, perhaps so was the other.)

    These may very well have been contributors to his “decline” as significant as the inevitable element of age. I.e., they may have provided surplus decline, including decline to bat speed. That appalling ARod of late last season may have been an anomaly, and stories (“narratives” for cliche lovers) of the Fall of ARod may need to be revised.

    However, note the “may’s,” above. We will not know until we see how he fares in July.

    There is the Bud (I hate the Yankees but can’t admit it) Selig factor. I have no idea what to say about it.

    • JohnnyC

      Selig’s greatest crime — by far — is not allowing George W. Bush to stand for commissioner over 20 years ago (in order to take the job himself), citing conflict of interest. Yeah, it conflicted with HIS interest in being commissioner.

      • Pat D

        Think of how history might be different.

        Rob Neyer also once wrote then when baseball looked for a new commissioner in the mid-60′s when Ford Frick retired, that they briefly considered one Richard Nixon.

        Ponder that and see if your head doesn’t explode.

  • Kosmo

    6 weeks to the trade deadline. If neither Hafner, Wells, Youk or Ichiro pick it up in the weeks ahead, I´d like to see at least 2 of them(or more, contract be damned) DFA´d.
    Keep dreaming if you think Arod,Jeter or Granderson will help jump start the offense. If they all return sometime after the all-star break what could one reasonable expect production wise from any of them ?
    Deadline dealing will be a problem if NY has no desire to part with any of their best prospects.
    Joba, Hughes and Nova won´t bring much if traded but I guess any competent MLB player(s) or prospect(s) would do.

  • Vern Sneaker

    The goal is to make the playoffs. Having A-Rod and Jeter fior August and September and Granderson earlier, even with just adequate performance from them, improves our chances of reaching the goal. They are upgrades. That’s how simple it is for me.

    • Kosmo

      define “adequate“ . They have to perform. I don´t place much stock in 38 and 39 yr olds coming off brutal injuries being difference makers. Granderson ? C´mon. Having said that, I really hope they prove me wrong.

      • Feed.Me.More!

        Kosmo says:

        June 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

        define “adequate“ .

        Adequate = League average, better than the mess we are running out there every day at their respective positions.

        “They have to perform”. DUH! Who ever is playing has to perform for a team to be successful. The plan (or hope or prayer) is that the guys we get back perform to decent levels. We don’t need MVP A-Rod or 2012 Jeter. Just good solid performance, because it HAS to be better than what we get on a daily basis.

        • Kosmo

          To split hairs, he didn´t say league average did he ? Adequate to me means just enough to get by. “Good solid performance“ does not equal “adequate“ to me.

      • Vern Sneaker

        Adequate in this case = better than who they will replace, none if whom have been anything like adequate. Even a diminished A-Rod and Jeter are preferable to Youkilis, Nix, Brignac, Adams, and the mix of lame LHP DH guys we’ve been putting out there.

        • Kosmo

          Thanks Vern ! I don´t really see Arod and Jeter making much of a difference.

          • Old YanksFan

            3rd base has produced -0.1 WAR and a .265 wOBA. You don’t see ARod being better than that?????

            I don’t know the exact numbers for SS and RF, but my guess is Jeter and Grtanderson, even in dimished states, will be significantly better.

            I also expect to see more patient ABs, walks, and a higher pitch counts for the opposing pitchers. This will put us closer to being back on our game.

            The bottom line is excellent pitching will still have to carry us. But with ARod, Jeter and Grandy in the lineup, we may actually score more than 2 Runs in a few games.

      • jjyank

        It’s certainly fair to temper your expectations, but the bar isn’t exactly high for those two to be upgrades.

  • Scout

    Funny, but when I think of the cavalry arriving, it’s George Armstrong Custer.

    • Kosmo

      followed by a bugle playing taps

  • DI ain’t ever leavin’

    $28M for MAYBE two months of who knows what regular season baseball from Rodriguez + $17M for MAYBE two months of who knows what regular season baseball from Jeter = $45M total for MAYBE four months or two-thirds of a season of who knows what from these two.

    Ridiculous.

    It’d be ridiculous even if either player or both players produced to his/their career average. For as good as that is, that ain’t worth $45M.

    I say put them on the 60-day disabled list on August 1 i.e. shut them down for 2013 and collect $45M in insurance money. They get paid in full at no cost to the team.

    They can then use that money to tell A-Rod to get lost i.e. they give him that plus $43M or half his remaining guaranteed salary ($86M) for $88M total where he actually makes $2M MORE than his remaining guaranteed salary. He can be paid $17.6M a year ($9M insurance money + $8.6M buyout money) 2014-18. That’s a savings of only $7.4M for 2014, $3.4M for 2015, $2.4M for 2016, and $2.4M for 2017 against his scheduled payouts. Not much but it frees up a roster spot for a useful and better player. ‘Sucks the Yanks pay $17.6M in 2018 but the Yanks still clear $43M for 2014-17 for another $10.75M savings a year.

    • Feed.Me.More!

      Wow.

      I’d rather Alex play, but……that’s fine too…..

      • DI ain’t ever leavin’

        So you’d rather have A-Rod be paid $28M to possibly post .235/.307/.340/.647 with 4 HR and 22 RBI, really?

        You (and everyone else knows) that once A-Rod is activated from the disabled list he is to be paid $28M, right?

        If A-Rod is activated from the DL and breaks his wrist on the first pitch he sees a la Granderson’s broken wrist on the first pitch he saw in spring training, that would be a $28M pitch taken and HBP.

        YANKEES: DO NOT ACTIVATE A-ROD FROM THE DISABLED LIST. EVER.

        • jjyank

          You realize that they wouldn’t have a choice if he’s healthy, right?

    • Vern Sneaker

      But that’s not going to happen. We’ll win a few more games with them in the lineup late in the season than with the current lineup and that may be all we need to sneak into the playoffs. It wouldn’t give me any pleasure to see A-Rod or anyone else dumped (a fantasy) and to have no Yankees baseball in Oct. Most of the guys we’re playing now can’t hit a lick and will probably sink us.

      • DI ain’t ever leavin’

        Those extra wins are not worth $45M, sorry.

        $17M for two months of Jeter? Ok, I’ll concede.

        NO to paying $28M to embarrass himself and produce as good as or slightly worse than David Adams with worse defense, slower legs, a higher chance of injury, and wayyyyy more drama.

        David Adams is playing everyday because the Yanks are done with A-Rod otherwise Nix would be at 3B every day. The Yanks want to see what a 26-year old who’ll make peanuts can do at 3B and I’m 110% for it. David Adams is the new Yankees 3B now.

    • BFDeal

      Clueless.

  • DI ain’t ever leavin’

    If I was the Yankees general manager, I would do this) (assuming the above buyout of A-Rod and letting Jeter return for 2013:

    Trade Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, Ichiro, and half of Ichiro’s 2014 salary to Toronto for Melky Cabrera.

    Trade Teixiera, half his remaining salary, and Romine to Seattle for Jesus Montero.

    With these two trades they fuck up only once with trading away a position player: Austin Jackson who they could reacquire after 2015.

    Offer Jeter a year and $12M ($5M paycut but 1.5X his player’s option for 2014) on the condition he moves to DH, backs up at SS, and is the third-string baseman (1B/2B/3B) after 2013.

    Offer Gardner a three-year $6M a year $18M total extension.

    Offer Granderson a year and $10M base with incentives based on plate appearances after 499 plate appearances, awards, and rank in ALMVP voting.

    Offer Cano Sabathia’s initial contract: 7 years $23M a year $161M total for the second-biggest contract for a homegrown Yankee years and money-wise after Jeter’s decade long $189M contract for 2001-2010.

    The Yankees 7/9ths homegrown starting nine assuming Cervelli, Jeter, and Granderson are back on August 1 and the above offers are accepted:

    C – Cervelli under control through 2017
    1B – Montero under control through 2017
    2B – Cano signed through 2020 (the only long-term contract)
    3B – Adams under control through 2018/19
    SS – Jeter signed through 2014
    LF – Cabrera signed through 2014
    CF – Gardner signed through 2016
    RF – Granderson signed through 2014
    DH – Hafner

    Bench: Stewart, Overbay, Nix, Wells (this could be the 2014 bench, too, as they’re all capable veteran BENCH players.)

    Jeter moves to DH and is the backup SS and third-string baseman, Nunez takes over SS in 2014 (Hafner is let go.)

    • Vern Sneaker

      Whatever you’re smoking, you should spread it around.

      • DI ain’t ever leavin’

        Hey dumbass Toronto would take Heathcott and Austin and accept Suzuki to get them for Melky in a heartbeat, and Seattle would take Teixiera and Romine for Montero in a heartbeat. They can’t hit their way out of a paper bag – enter Teixiera who’d be their perennial HR, RBI, SLG, and OPS leader rest of 2013 through 2016.

        That starting nine is totally doable and no way the Yanks are letting go of Jeter no matter what all you “Jeter is done” nerds say.

        So you’d rather have A-Rod be paid $28M to possibly post .235/.307/.340/.647 with 4 HR and 22 RBI, really?

        You (and everyone else knows) that once A-Rod is activated from the disabled list he is to be paid $28M, right?

        If A-Rod is activated from the DL and breaks his wrist on the first pitch he sees a la Granderson’s broken wrist on the first pitch he saw in spring training, that would be a $28M pitch taken and HBP.

        YANKEES: DO NOT ACTIVATE A-ROD FROM THE DISABLED LIST. EVER.

        • Laz

          Go troll somewhere else.

        • pat

          Melky his year: 278/.319/.372.

          By all means lets trade our top two prospects for that dreck. You’re an idiot.

    • Donkey Engine

      You forgot ritual seppuku at the end.

      • Kosmo

        a little bit over the top but I like your spunk. Keep trying.

      • DI ain’t ever leavin’

        So what would you do jackass (your username not mine)?

        Seriously, Seattle would turn down paying $11.25M a year for a veteran Gold Glove firstbaseman 2014-16 and not give the Yanks a kid who can’t catch and may not be able to play 1B to get him? And reject a catcher to boot? Bullshit to that.

        Teixiera trade = salary dump and undoing the Montero trade.

        OF prospects trade = undoing the Melky trade.

        What sense is it for go nowhere Toronto to keep Melky? They suck. They need young, cheap players.

        Jeter’s coming back next year, deal with it.

        Granderson isn’t getting more than a year from anyone but a desperate fool team and no way he’s taking less than $10M a year hence the year and $10M base offer.

        Cano for Sabathia’s initial contract is more than fair.

        Gardner’s contract is more than fair. He gets security in years and money and is young enough to land a two or three year deal after that.

        • Kosmo

          Sorr y but which Melky are you referring to ? This years version is not doing much. I would never let go of Austin for Melky.
          If Tex is going to lead Seattle in all those categories then doesn´t it make sense NY keep him ? Who will pick up the slack ? Montero ?
          I don´t want Granderson back in 2014 I´d much rather NY picks up a 1st rounder.
          I would be unwilling to give Cano anything more than 18.5 per over 5-6 years.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Just consider this a bit of a workout for Mike’s new “I’m going to be more active in comment threads” leaf.

          I hope you’re hydrating well, Axisa. its a warm day out.

          • Pat D

            I just…I can’t…I’m not touching this one.

        • Laz

          And why exactly would we want melky?
          Teix is overpaid, but not atrocious. Why would we want to just dump him, and pay most of his salary anyways?

          Highly doubt Gardner signs at $6M aav. He is the same level of player as Bourn who signed last winter for significantly more.

        • Donkey Engine

          Yes, I believe those trades make no sense for one team or the other.

        • Mr. Roth

          Just want to make sure that you are aware that Mark Teixeira has a full no-trade clause and that Jesus Montero has put up a line of .208/.264/.327 this year

    • Jonathan

      If you want to finish 4th at best in the AL East you might as well go on a full rebuild. This is complete lunacy.

    • Laz

      lol

    • Robinson Tilapia

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    • Get Phelps Up

      I’d rather just bring up Heathcott or Austin than trade them for Melky.

    • BFDeal

      Wow…just, wow.

  • Donkey Engine

    I wouldn’t say the castoffs did a fine job. I think the pitching has done a phenomenal job to carry the castoffs. Just a nitpick. Unless you can look at Wells/Youk/Stewart/etc… and say they did a fine job which is questionable.

    • Preston

      I think Stewart has done a fine job, the rest of them not so much.

  • Laz

    Excited about Arod/Jeter
    Those 2 positions have been dreadful offensively. Even if we lose defense, taking nix/whoever out of the lineup, and stick those 2 in.

  • Preston

    When your offense is hitting below league average getting three players back who are very likely to hit at or better than league average is a huge upgrade.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    I think you got the Jeter seasons backwards. 2011 was mediocre, but 2010 was by far the worst season of his career offensively.

  • SteveInAlabama

    Sorry Mr. Warden but you haven’t a clue what you are talking about. The Calvary indeed. Remember a few weeks ago when the Calvary was Tex and Youk? Well guess what. One is hitting .157 and the other is back on the DL so there is no Calvary coming to save the Yankees. Face some facts, the only thing going on with this team is the forced rebuilding that will be going on over the next few years. There are no saviors and certainly none over 35 years of age.

    • BFDeal

      Before saying someone doesn’t have a clue, perhaps you should know the difference between Calvary and cavalry.

      .

      • Robinson Tilapia

        ….and cut!

      • JobaWockeeZ

        While true, it’s a complete nitpick and if it’s really clueless I’m sure you can find a better way to argue. Don’t fret, this site has been doing that since inception.

        • BFDeal

          SMH.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Yet you’ve been here throughout.

  • vicki

    yes, that’s nice. play some light, airy music as the titanic is sinking. it’ll calm the passengers.

    • http://RiverAveBlues.com Matt Warden

      I am not sure the music’s working…

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    I’ll be glad to see Jeter back but I’m concerned coming off this ankle injury when he had terrible range to begin with, he might be almost unplayable SS