Feb
25

With Gardner and Ellsbury locked up, Yankees need to get power from their infielders

By
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Over the last three months, the Yankees have committed 12 contract years and $210.6M in guaranteed money to Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. That’s a lot of cash and a lot of years for a pair of defense-first outfielders who will steal a bunch of bases but not hit for much power. Years ago, these two guys wouldn’t sniff that kind of money, but teams now better understand and value players who contribute in less obvious ways.

Having both Ellsbury and Gardner signed for at least the next five years impacts the Yankees in a lot of ways. First and foremost, they don’t have to worry about fly balls all that much because those two will track down almost anything. They also don’t need to sweat finding a leadoff man in the post-Derek Jeter era because they now have two of them. Having two-thirds of the starting outfield signed long-term makes life a bit easier, no doubt about it.

On the other hand, having both Ellsbury and Gardner signed for the next half-decade also creates some problems. Well, not to much problem. Just things to consider. They are two very similar players and that makes them somewhat redundant, especially offensively. Don’t get me wrong, guys who get on base and steal bases can be very dangerous, but there also needs to be some diversity to the lineup. The power is going to have to come from somewhere, and with two outfielders signed long-term, it will have to come from the infield.

The good news is that the Yankees have a clean slate on the infield, or close to one anyway. Mark Teixeira is signed to play first base for another three years but Derek Jeter is retiring after the season and both Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts are on one-year contracts. The team has a lot of flexibility when it comes to building their future infield, and that’s great. At the same time, holy crap they need to build three-fourths of an infield next winter. That’s a big deal and it’s a lot of work.

The Yankees’ best infield prospects (Eric Jagielo, Abi Avelino, etc.) are still years away from the big leagues and future free agent classes are pretty terrible. Next year’s class will get even worse as players sign extensions, most notably Hanley Ramirez. He recently said he wants to spend the rest of his career with the Dodgers and they have the money to keep him around that long. Hanley would be a great fit as a power-hitting infielder, though others like J.J. Hardy, Chase Headley, and Pablo Sandoval would make sense as well.

There aren’t many power-hitting infielders out there — only 13 non-first base infielders have had at least 40 extra-base hits in each of the last three seasons — so finding two or three of them won’t be easy in the coming years. The Yankees are going to have to dig up a few guys like that though, that is unless they plan on becoming a speed-first team despite playing in a tiny ballpark in the AL East. The Gardner and Ellsbury deals mean New York will have to target some infielders who can rake for the coming years.

Categories : Offense
  • Blake

    If Hanley repeats his 2013 he’s gonna get 150+ million and could push for 200 if the right teams get involved…..that scares me a bit

  • viridiana

    One option that’s rarely discussed is Kelly Johnson. Not ideal, maybe. But how many middle infielders have had multiple 16 HR plus seasons? And can play third and possibly even 1B? Not the cornerstone, of course, but KJ could be a valuable piece next 2-3 years.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      No matter where he’s playing, yeah, there’s going to be some extra punch coming from him.

  • CountryClub

    They’re going to need to make a trade at some point to fill one of those spots. Hopefully one of OFers in the minors has a great yr and becomes a trade chip.

    But isn’t it at least plausible that Jagielo could be ready for 2015?

    • lightSABR

      153 wRC+ in 218 low-A plate appearances is encouraging, but he’s nowhere near the show. Do you really think he’s going to jump from low-A to the big leagues in a season? That’s about how fast Mike Trout did it.

      I’m thinking 2016 at the very earliest.

      • CountryClub

        Everything you wrote is correct (and 2016 makes more sense), but don’t forget that he’s coming from college. I’m not saying it’s likely, but he wouldn’t be the first prospect to go from AA straight to the show.

        He obviously needs to have a good yr.

        • lightSABR

          Right – and if he’d finished high-A last year instead of low-A, I’d have a bit more of that attitude. But sending a player straight to the majors after only half a season of AA? Very uncommon. And we don’t even know yet that he’ll make it to AA this year.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’d say that’s a pretty remote possibility. His development curve would have to be picture-perfect and accelerated, hitting AA sometime this season and excelling enough that both AA and AAA are stepping stones.

      This isn’t getting perfectly figured out for a while.

    • Laz

      Jagielo is so far away from the show that I wouldn’t make moves based off of him.

  • Rob S.

    Ellsbury isn’t a power hitter but he has hit for power in the past. It’s a near certainty that he will hit double digit home runs playing in Yankee Stadium. Assuming they will get power from 1st base, catcher and DH for at least the next few years, the only other position they need to get power from is third base. They should not expect big power numbers from second or short because Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano were special offensive players from those positions and will not be easily replaced. As far as the middle infield goes they just need guys who hit for average and make all the plays.

    • Mike

      I agree. I believe he should average 20+ hrs.

      • botz

        How can you say that when he’s only had one season where he’s hit double digit homers? I know moving to YS should help a bit but I think it’s crazy to say he should average over 20 hrs.

  • Tim D.

    I’m fairly confident that the team will sign an infielder offseason with Jeter retiring and the lack of depth at 2B and 3B. In a perfect world it would either be Hanley Ramirez or Chase Headley. Hanley is the better player, but Headley comes with less question marks. If it wasn’t up to money I’d take Hanley in a second but Headley would be a good fit OBP wise. My only worry with Headley is power; he’s only hit more than 13 homers once in his career (PETCO kills his power). Anyone else’s opinion?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’d say Hanley is completely out of their hands for reasons above. I could see a run at Headley if he makes it to free agency AND has a good 2014.

      Falling in love with the big supposed FA class before the previous seasons starts is a recipe for disappointment. CC and 2009 spoiled us, didn’t it?

      • Tim D.

        I think it is definitely smart to wait and see how he does this year but with the way the team is run, I don’t think you can just wait for someone like Jagielo to come up. The reports on Jagielo are promising so far but he’s only at Charleston right now, so he’s at the earliest 2 years away (probably more). If the team wants to win then they’re going to spend the bucks. I’m not sure whether it’s the right move or not.

  • Blake

    I hope the farm system progressed enough where they can trade for Tulo at some point…..he’s the true heir to Jeter

  • Blake

    Progresses I mean

  • mitch

    I agree with the premise, but it’s not like Gardner and Ellsbury are Brendan Ryans out there. They’re both average or better hitters who bring even more offensive value with their speed. Adding power is necessary to balance the lineup, but it’s not like they have to make up for lost offense.

    • Chip

      I’ll take an average power with above average speed and on-base abilities combined with above average pitching and elite defense. Power is great but it isn’t the end all be all

      • viridiana

        Yes!!!

    • lightSABR

      Right. Fangraphs has the league-average CF and the league-average LF both at 99 wRC+. Their average projection for Ellsbury is somewhere around 110 wRC+, and they’ve got Gardner at (I thought) a pretty pessimistic 104-ish.

      Given their defense, these guys will produce enough offense to earn their pay. (At least, in Ellsbury’s case, for the first few years of the contract.)

  • NeilT

    Hanley, I don’t see hitting the market if he’s even 2/3 as good as he was last year. The Dodgers will get a deal done and he’ll be off the board.

    The other three mentioned, I fully expect to hit the market. Headley is a no-brainer, Hardy will reckon he can get better money elsewhere, Panda might prefer to play in a smaller park.

    I’d rank them, in order of preference:
    1. Headley (by a country mile)
    2. Hardy
    3. Panda

    Headley is worth 5/110, but would probably not sign for less than 7/160.

    Hardy, I can see getting 5/100.

    Panda, who knows.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      You’re counting on Headley looking much better in 2014. That number you stated can go south in a hurry.

      I could see all three of these guys hitting the market, with Hardy the less likely of the three. We’ll see where the chips fall as the year progresses.

    • Bavarian Yankee

      Hardy 5/100? Jeez, let’s not make him better than he actually is. He barely had an OPS above .700 during the past 2 years and his OBP is even below .300. I think Peralta money will be enough to get him, maybe a bit more if he has another above-average year, so 4/60.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        20 million per year in the modern MLB is 2.5-3 WAR.

        That’s not unreasonable.

        Have to realign your salary expectations.

        • Bavarian Yankee

          where do you get those numbers from? Those are way off of anything I could find anywhere. Fangraphs has 1 WAR just below 5 million, that would be 15 million for 3 WAR.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            I’ll find you the article. They wrote a piece on the new value of WAR.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead
            • Bavarian Yankee

              thanks, bookmarked both and will read them later today.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                There are obviously reasonable interpretations of the data and a few differing opinions on what $/WAR means to actual salaries, but I think it’s safe to conclude that with more money in baseball(TV deals, etc), salaries will be inflated.

  • Chip

    It’s not like most of the league has a huge power source in center field. In fact, playing in YS3, Ellsbury is probably going to be above average in that category. The Yankees still have big power threats in right, DH, first and catcher. Let’s say in the next season or two they add a power hitting right fielder (Stanton?) and just a moderately powerful third baseman and I think they’ll be just fine.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    All this superfluous writing when the body of this post only really needed to consist of two words: Scott Sizemore.

    Think of what else you could have done this morning, Mike. You could have organized some drawers or called 311 and asked what happened to trash pickup on Saturday on my block.

  • LarryM Fl

    Mike just the stat that indicates only 13 non first basemen had 40 or more extra base hits in the last three years is unbelievable. The task will not be easy. My suggestion would be to get a shortstop by hook or by crook. Building on strong up the middle is the premise. If non available than go for second base. But if Johnson has a decent year then I can see him getting a contract for two or three years to play second. Fill third with the likes of a Reynolds type, leaving the avenue for a Yankee prospect to develop.

    Its all pie in the sky but IMHO extensions are bringing the Yankee farm system aka Free Agency to its knees.

  • Nick

    My preference would be to sign Headley, but it would be another case of pushing a solid prospect out of his position (Jagielo). I guess EJ could move to RF if he proves to be a ML caliber player but RF is crowded too. If he could play even a passable 2B, that would be awesome but that isn’t happening.

    Regardless, I wouldn’t let EJ stop me from pursuing Headley. A switch hitter with great defense who gets on base and is likely to show a lot more power once he escapes from San Diego… Sign me up. I wonder if he could be acquired at the deadline. What kind of package would it take to get him?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      “Regardless, I wouldn’t let EJ stop me from pursuing Headley.”

      Good, since it shouldn’t.

  • Masahiro Dinero

    I don’t understand why these guys are viewed as redundant.

    They both provide value and production, and that is something that we should want from every spot in the line up.

    Really what it comes down to is power bias… had the Yankees signed two 30+ HR mashers we wouldn’t see a single “These two Home Run hitters are redundant in the line up” posts.

    I for one am glad they have both Gardy and Ells locked up because that will be a fantastic outfield duo over the next X years.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I agree, but it does mean the team has to find punch from positions where it’s scarcer to find. Great on one end, tougher on another.

      This will all be moot once Scott Sizemore hits 74 this season.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      In the modern MLB, finding power is even more difficult. I think a more accurate headline would be “Yankees need to get production from their infielders”.

      Having 60+ HR from the infield would be great, but it’s just unlikely. How many teams have that luxury? Power hitters aren’t growing on trees anymore.

      • Masahiro Dinero

        If anything, the dip in power is precisely why a team should lock up players that have elite tools in other areas.

        I don’t think 60+ from a future infield is all that unlikely.

        Getting ~20/year from the corners, and another ~10 from the middle is totally possible… and that excludes the catcher as a member of the infield.

  • TWTR

    Barring a trade of a Gardner, t think this makes the eventual sharing of C, 1B, and DH by Sanchez and McCann all the more appealing.

  • L

    They may have A-Rod in the infield for 2015…

    • RetroRob

      It will be interesting to see what happens with A-Rod. I’m still leaning toward he plays for the team in 2015. They are going to have to pay him $61M. A year to let things settle down, I don’t see them getting rid of him, paying the full amount of his contract, absorbing the luxury tax hit, when they will have need for power.

      Everyone is so sure he’ll be cut. My guess is the Yankees haven’t even had this discussion yet.

      I say they give him a look again next year.

  • Dale Mohorcic

    Does all of this make A-Rod’s 3 remaining years more attractive to the Yankees?

    • JV

      No. I think Brian Cashman & Co. will do their best Tonya Harding impression before he let’s A-Rod come back

  • Marko

    I would love to see them trade one of their young catchers for a similar 2B, SS, or 3B. They have an obvious glut of high level catching prospects, such as Murphy and Sanchez who should be able to fetch an equivalent infielder. Not sure who that is, but catching is in high demand so it shouldn’t be too hard to pull off. I like Greg Bird coming up in 2015/2016 to replace Tex. And hopefully Dean Anna can develop into a league average player to man 2B for some years.

  • Tim

    The other day I posted to a related article that I believed that Ellsbury, with the move to Yankee Stadium and the favorable right field dimensions, would hit more HR in 2014 than Robinson Cano, moving to cavernous Safeco Field in Seattle. In fact, I said I was “willing to bet”. Someone named “The New Guy” offered to put up $100 on this bet, taking Cano. You still interested? Because I will accept that bet, on one condition – both players need to play at least 147 games this season, or the bet is null. Assuming that Jacoby doesn’t run into any other Yankee players this year, he should be able to do that just fine.

    You still interested “New Guy”? Let me know.

    • nyyankfan_7

      I’m not the “New Guy” but I’d gladly take that bet.

    • Mr. Roth

      Ellsbury has only played in more than 147 games 2 times in his career, while Cano has only not played in 147 or more games 2 times in his career.

      Most likely outcome: Cano hits more HRs, but Ellsbury doesn’t play enough to qualify. Bet null.

  • vin

    I’m surprised EVERYONE is assuming ARod has played his last game for the Yanks. His contract doesn’t expire until after the 2017 season. That’s 1 year after Teixeira’s.

    Do I think he’s done playing for the Yanks? Yes. However, I’m not sold that it’s a 100% certainty.

    Please note that I’m not saying the Yanks should be banking on a 39 year old, who just took a year off, to provide power and play 3B. His remaining contract seems to be getting lost in the shuffle.

    • TWTR

      It is probably getting lost because it is impossible to project what a 40 year old who will have played 265 games in four years, 189 at 3B, will do.

      And then there is the public relations aspect.

    • mitch

      A couple months ago I thought it was a done deal that he’d never play again, but dropping the lawsuit could leave the door open just a little. Can he avoid controversy until next off season and keep his chances alive? Probably not.

  • Kris

    Am I mistaken in thinking that they are getting ARod back next season? He’s still under contract unless they buy him out, which is a possibility. With a season off the field to heal up, he could potentially be a 25+ HR hitter and solve at least one problem in the infield.

    • Slugger27

      25+ homers? is that a joke?

  • Dan

    I really don’t think having Gardner and Ellsbury on the team makes them desperate for more power. You figure for the next few years they’ll have at least 3 25+ HR guys (McCann, Tex, and Beltran). They could get lucky in a few places (it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Ells hit 20). They don’t need power to win the world series. Tino Martinez led the ’98 Team with 28 HRs.

    I don’t want to get into an argument that the reason they’ve won one world series since 2000 is because they relied too much on the long ball (and no question I’d rather have had that problem last year than that anemic lineup). But it’s no secret that homerun droughts do happen; and they can happen at the most inopportune time (usually when facing the best pitchers, like in the playoffs).

    With Gardner and Ellsbury and the guys they will have in the next few years they’ll have the potential for a deep, circular lineup. A lineup of guys who can get on base, and move guys around, and put the pressure on pitchers and catchers and the defense. Of course, I’d love to have more power (like 1 more 25+ homerun guy going forward); but it’s definitely not a necessity for this team to win a world series.

  • jeremy

    Disagree entirely with the premise that Ellsbury is a defense-first CF who won’t hit for much power.
    Not sure what people are looking at when they say Jacoby Ellsbury’s 2011 is an outlier.
    Simply put, NO, it’s NOT an outlier – not in any meaningful sense of the word. Obviously, it was an outlier numerically/statistically speaking. Obviously. This means nothing. For it should be just as obvious to anyone who has watched him play that 2011 is a fair representation of his INNATE talent level. That’s the player the Yankees signed IF he is healthy.

    • TWTR

      I agree that he has that potential, but until he hits for power again, it’s still a projection.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        So is saying he won’t hit for much power.

        • TWTR

          Except he has had only one season with more than 10 HR.

          As I said yesterday, I am confident that he will hit at least 20 a year with the YS dimensions, but based on his career, the more likely scenario is for less.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Sorry.

            “I agree that he has that potential, but until he hits for power again, it’s still a projection.”

            Anything you say will happen this year is still a projection. It may be more likely; it’s still a projection.

            I didn’t comment on which I thought was more likely. Your retort should have been what you replied to me, not what you said originally.

            • TWTR

              OK, I will rephrase. A projection that can be made with a greater degree of confidence based on past performance.

              The reason I stated what I had previously said was to indicate that I agree with you.

      • Mr. Roth

        Speaking of projections, ZiPS has him hitting 14 HRs in 119 games, which is about 17-18 HRs if he plays in 150 games.

        I don’t think it would take a miracle for him to hit 20 HRs, but I guess that’s why they play the games.

  • nope

    Whether he hits for power or not, can we all agree that Ellsbury is a solid offensive ballplayer? This is the first time I’ve ever heard him referred to as a “defense first” outfielder.

    • Mr. Roth

      I totally agree with this. When I think of a defense first player, I think of a guy like Brendan Ryan. Certainly not a guy who had an OPS+ of 114 last year.

    • Wicomico Pinstripes

      Most definitely.

      113 wRC+ .343 wOBA to go along with swiping 52 bags in 56 attempts last year. I’d say that’s pretty damn solid. He’s just so good defensively(12.9 UZR/150) and doesn’t hit for a ton of power that he’ll almost always be seen as a defense first player.

  • Darren

    AROD AROD AROD AROD AROD

    Unless the Yankees are willing to eat 80% or more of his contract, why the hell would ARod agree to a buyout? The ONE thing we absolutely know about him is that he LOVES the spotlight. What better way to get all the attention he wants and more than to try and make a triumphant return next year.

    And why the HELL would the Yankees pay him $50mm to NOT play? Girardi handled the PR headaches just fine and so can the team. If anything, they’d want to see what he has left before cutting bait.

    So, ARod at 3rd, Tex and 1st and re-sign Roberts after he has a comeback year. Now all we need is a shortstop.

    • In Rod We Trust

      THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

      Suck it Haters

    • Kosmo

      there is a very real possibility Arod will be NYs starting 3B in 2015. Yanks could also look to sign Headley with Arod seeing time at DH. If Asdrubal has a bounce back season in 2014 NY will look to sign him.

  • Dirk Diggler

    Getting power production from certain positions is such a false premise. And power is overrated, and the front offices are catching on — i.e. Gardner vs Cruz and their recent deals.

    How about the Yankees just get infielders who are plus defenders and can get on base at an above average clip?

    Hey Mike, if you want power from infielders how about we roll with an infield with Dan Uggla, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Mark Reynolds next season? That should accumulate to about 0.5 WAR plus Teixiera. Brilliant!

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

      Of course. We all know players who have the audacity to hit the ball out of the park can’t do anything else well.

      • DIrk Diggler

        Mike, my point was moreso talking about the false premise assumes that the Yankees “need” position players with power because they have Gardner and Ellsbury on the same team. That’s not necessarily true.

        But nonetheless Mike, thank you for responding even though we may agree to disagree. And thank you for River Ave Blues, it’s my source for Yankees news and is a daily read for me. One thing we CAN agree on is…GO YANKS.

  • Nathan

    Yup, I posted something like this in the Gardner extension post. Seeing as how teams are keeping their young studs, I don’t know how the Yankees plan on procuring the hitters they’ll need.

  • Tim D.

    So let’s say A-Rod comes back next year and the team obviously has to pay and play him, how does that affect going after Headley/Panda/Hanley this offseason? I don’t think the team can rely on him at 3B with his hip injuries. Add in Beltran’s knees, Teixeira’s decline and McCann’s need for a day off and you have one mess of rotating players between the field and DH.

    I still think you must go for a SS and I’m all for Hardy at SS. His OBP and OPS may be low but his defense and power are extremely valuable for a SS nowadays. If I had a choice between this group of FA’s and know that A-Rod’s coming back I think you’d have to take Hardy.

  • stuckey

    “There aren’t many power-hitting infielders out there — only 13 non-first base infielders have had at least 40 extra-base hits in each of the last three seasons — so finding two or three of them won’t be easy in the coming years. The Yankees are going to have to dig up a few guys like that though,”

    As always, I expect better of RAB writers than to constantly go back to this false meme, which is to compare the Yankees present and future infield to Yankees infields of the past.

    That is an irrelevant pursuit.

    Mike Axisa exposes this false premise himself in the ONE paragraph above.

    Power hitting non-1st baseman infielders are disappearing. The league is evolving. The Yankees have to compete with the rest of the league, not their past-selves.

    As others have astutely pointed out already Ellsbury already provides above league average power in CF, which may be further augmented by the move from Fenway to NYS.

    And whatever power deficit Gardner presents in LF is likely counterbalances what we should expect to be well above league average behind the plate for the next few years and hopefully for a long time via Sanchez.

    Arod in this 2nd steroid prime, Tex, and Cano just isn’t going to happen again.

    Bloggers, STOP measuring the present against the past, you should be better than that.

    • Mr. Roth

      If power hitting means 40+ extra-base hits, then Ellsbury fits the mold of a power hitter. In his last 3 full seasons he has 45, 83, and 48 extra-base hits.

      Problem solved?

    • Wicomico Pinstripes

      I agree that power hitting non-1B infielders have started to disappear in recent years, but there are several on the way.

      Bogaerts, Baez, Sano, Correa, Bryant, and Russell are all power hitting non-1B infielders ranked among the top fourteen prospects, according to BA.

      The game may trend back towards these type of players in the next few years.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Power hitting in the minors. Let’s wait to see what they do in the majors.

  • Yankeefan91

    we just need clutch hitting i remember that 98 team we didnt have a player hit over 30 homeruns we need are players to get on base and get clutch hits.

  • dg

    List of recent WS Champs and # of players who hit 20+ HRs:
    2013 Red Sox (2)
    2012 Giants (1)
    2011 Cardinals (3)
    2010 Giants (2)
    2009 Yankees (7)
    2008 Phillies (4)
    2007 Red Sox (3)
    2006 Cardinals (3, plus two players with 19 hrs)
    2005 White Sox (3)
    2004 Red Sox (3)

    • dg

      According to ZiPS, Soriano, Beltran, and McCann are the only Yankees pegged for 20+ HRs in 2014. But Tex hitting 20+ wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination. Ellsbury and Kelly Johnson would be a stretch, but not as crazy as say, Brady Anderson hitting 50 HRs one year.

      • stuckey

        I distinctly remember a Brady Anderson AB that year. He was in the middle of what was just a ridiculous outlier year. He swung on an inside pitch and launch the ball out into right field.

        You could see the shock in his own face as the ball came off his bat and he started out of the box.

        He began to laugh. he couldn’t even believe it himself.

        That may be the record more the singular most PED-influenced season of all time, even eclipsing the Mcwire, Sosa, Bonds years, or Arod’s “magical April.”

      • RetroRob

        Even if Tex’s power is reduced for part of the season because of his wrist surgery, and even if age further reduces some of his skills, I would be quite surprised if Tex still didn’t hit 20+ HRs in 2014 as long as he plays.

        So I’m agreeing, and I don’t think it takes much of a stretch at all.

    • Wicomico Pinstripes

      And their team HRs with MLB rank.

      2013 Red Sox- 178/ 6th
      2012 Giants- 103/ 30th
      2011 Cardinals- 162/ 13th
      2010 Giants- 162/ 10th
      2009 Yankees- 244/ 1st
      2008 Phillies- 214/ 2nd
      2007 Red Sox- 166/ 18th
      2006 Cardinals- 184/ 12th
      2005 White Sox- 200/ 5th
      2004 Red Sox- 222/ 5th

      So, some power hitting teams and some not so much. Teams go about getting to the post-season in many different ways.

  • CJ

    This is the second or third article that I have read now that refers to just 4 infield positions. What about the catcher (McCann)? “Rebuilding three fourths of an infield” should be rebuilding “three fifths” IMO. Maybe leaving out the catcher is intentional based on the context of the term “infielders”?

  • WilYank

    Why do you consider Eric Jagielo “years away”? It seems that other MLB teams manage to bring up college draft picks fast, why can’t the Yanks? It seems that the Yankees let many of their projects rot in the minors rather then let them learn in the Bigs. I remember when Bernie Williams first came up and how “green” he was. Bernie fought through it and turned out pretty well it seemed.

    Well, regardless, Alex Rodriguez will likely return to 3B in ’15.

    • Fin

      Who have the Yankees let rot in the minors? They rushed Hughes and Joba, and very possibly ruined Joba’s career. Since then, the only other prospect they had that was clearly ready to play in MLB was Montero, but they kept him in AAA to hide the fact he couldn’t catch. The Yankees just haven’t had the prospects in the upper levels to help the MLB team, other than relievers and fringe starters.

  • Fin

    I keep hearing people saying they expect A-rod not to be with the team next year. I personally doubt that very seriously. I just don’t see the Yankees eating that money, especially when they have a need at 3b. Honestly, this is also a business and PR crap aside, they are not going to pay Arod 25mil a year, release him and go sign another 3b for 20 mil a year. If Arod is healthy I would bet a very large sum of money he will be the Yankees opening day 3b in 2015.

    • RetroRob

      That’s basically my belief, too, although as I noted above, I think we talk more about this than the Yankees.

      Add in something else. A-Rod creates interest. He sells seats. He increases ratings. Jeter is retiring, so they might be looking for someone to create interest. There are more considerations here than just how A-Rod might help the team on the field.

      As you noted, I am not convinced they’re going to cut A-Rod, eat the 20+ million a year in real money, absorb the $27.5M luxury tax hit, and then go out and sign another player for 15-25M per season.

      I’m not sure he’s coming back, but I believe he is.

      • TWTR

        I wonder if their decision on A-Rod is influenced by how they do on the field. For example, if they win the WS, do they decide that they don’t need another spectacle for ratings?

        I think A-Rod was selectively prosecuted by a sickening hypocrite of a commissioner, but in purely baseball terms, I’m not sure his addition would be in the team’s best interests.

        • RetroRob

          Regarding your first point, that’s why I don’t think the Yankees have had this discussion. They don’t know what they’re going to need come 2015, so A-Rod is an option. So all the media types who keep writing that A-Rod is gone are simply guessing. The Yankees don’t know!

          • Fin

            I don’t see Arod as an option, I see him as a commitment. A very large commitment. I could see the Yankees eating a portion of Arods money if they were able to trade him, I just cant fathom them releasing him and eating all the money remaining. I certainly could be wrong, but I just don’t see Hal, saying I’ve had enough of Arod and I’m willing to sacrifice $60mil to get rid of him. Fans and sports writers maybe able to sacrifice that money, but its coming out of Hals pockets and I don’t see it happening.

  • Bats

    WRONG.

    The Yankee have TeX, Mcann, Beltran, Soriano as power options. Jeter, Ellsbury, and Gardner can also hit for power. What the Yankees need to keep doing is to look for players who can hit for average and get on base. Power will come from that automatically.