Recap: Yankees 6, Tigers 10 – March 23, 2013

Don’t worry, it’s only spring training.
Andy Pettitte pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up 4 runs, striking out 5, and walking 1. There is nothing more to see here than an off-day. He wasn’t actually the problem, it was the 5 ER that Cody Eppley allowed in the seventh without getting one out that sealed the game for the Tigers.
On a higher note, the bats were alive today, as the team managed to produce 14 hits for 6 runs. Eduardo Nunez managed an RBI-single in the third, scoring Chris Stewart, signs that the shortstop isn’t totally useless. Ben Francisco homered in the top of the fourth, doubling the Yankees lead to two. In the top of the fifth, Kevin Youkilis drove in Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez on a double. I hope this is indicative of the kind of production he will be having during the regular season. With the Yankees down 9-4 in the top of the eighth, Ben Francisco went yard yet again, this time for 2 runs.
Not a terrible day for our boys, minus Cody Eppley.


Offensive Woes

Mark Teixeira is out for at least 8-10 weeks with a wrist injury.

This is the first time in my 20 years that I have been concerned about the Yankees’ bats. After news that Mark Teixeira could be out for the rest of the season with a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist, acknowledging the problem can no longer be avoided. A few days ago Cashman signed Brennan Boesch after he was released by the Tigers. He is not a horrible player and good for 15 HR, 50 RBIs, and 450 ABs, but that hardly covers Teixeira’s 40 HR, 100 RBI potential (assuming last year was an outlier for him).

Our likely 1 and 2 spots, Ichiro and Brett Gardner, have both been having a torrid preseason. Ichiro has hit .387/.457/.452 in 11 games and Gardner is right up there with .325/.400/.375 in 14 games. Without Teixeira, Granderson, or even Alex Rodriguex the 3 and 4 spots will be filled with Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano. At this point it looks like our only power hitter is Robinson Cano. Yikes. Cano is easily the best second-baseman in baseball, but the New York Yankees should not have to rely upon a SECOND-BASEMAN as their long-ball hitter. While youngster Melky Mesa has been exhibiting some promise (3 HRs and 9 RBIs this spring), his current .186/.239/.395 is dismal. Juan Rivera has also been hitting reasonably well, posting a .286/.302/.381 over 14 games. If you have been following closely, you may have noticed that four of the five players that I have named so far are outfielders. Unfortunately, I am reasonably sure that Cashman will not be making any moves more earth-shattering than the Boesch signing.

Here is what I expect will be the Yankees’ opening day lineup:
1. Brett Gardner – LF
2. Ichiro Suzuki – CF*
3. Derek Jeter – SS**
4. Robinson Cano – 2B
5. Kevin Youkilis – 3B
6. Travis Hafner***
7. Juan Rivera – RF
8. Brennan Boesch – 1B****
9. Chris Stewart/Francisco Cervelli – C*****
*it’s either him or Gardner in CF, at least Ichiro has an arm
**only because he is Jeter and Cashman would not dare to move him out of the top 4
****I don’t know if he can even play a competent first, but who else?
*****both equally terrible options, Stewart has the defense without the bat and Cervelli has what Stewart has without the defense.

As you can see, this is not the Yankees team that we are used to, but it is important that we remain steadfast and support our boys, if not to prove anything more than we are more faithful than Red Sox fans.

Moving Forward – The Yankees Rebuild (or don’t)

There is a lot of speculation about the Yankees success in the coming seasons and I wanted to provide my perspective.

are undeniably in the deep twilight of the 90s dynasty, which means ownership must commit to one strategy. As of right now, Hal Steinbrenner has made it clear – as well as the uneventful offseason – that the Yankees must get the team’s aggregate salary under $189 million, and I get that. There are three paths that the team could take (well, probably more, but these are the three most likely).

  1. They make it to 2014 with a severely aging roster, only two of whom actually have contracts that extend beyond 2014, and pay to play like the Yankees that we grew up with. This is likely given our history, but Hal’s apparent refusal to imitate his father could easily prevent this.
  2. They demolish for a complete rebuild. This is accomplished with prospects, and good ones. I don’t think the Yankees should trade CC – though it could yield two or more top prospects – the Yankee faithful would have a tough time comprehending the reasoning for it. We tend to be a short-sighted bunch. While CC is pretty much out of the question, I think it would not only be an interesting idea to try to move Teixeira and Granderson, but advisable. Teixeira’s power and production dipped in 2012, as he posted only .251/.332/.475 with just 24 HR and 84 RBIs, but even that paired with his stellar defense is enough to turn a mediocre team into a contender. Either of these deals would require some mix-n-match work with backups, but that comes with a complete rebuild.
  3. The last option is the most likely: they do nothing. We have seen a glimpse of it already, Cashman signed/resigned older veterans (Ichiro, Kuroda, Youkilis), as well as flops like Juan Rivera and Travis Hafner. There has been little to no investment in young talent, which only leave a bad taste of endless dentures and foot cream.

The Yankees need to go big or go young, because right now they are going Mets.

Spring Training – Yankees 4, Cardinals 0


Hiroki Kuroda threw four scoreless innings against St. Louis, while scattering three hits and striking out six. I was skeptical last offseason when we signed Kuroda, but he has been more consistent and effective than I could have hoped.

Brett Gardner continued his torrid spring with one hit in three at-bats and a run scored. Even Kevin Youkilis showed some life, going 1-2 with a solo homerun and a sac fly, good for two steaks. Jeter went 0-2, which is not a big deal, I am simply giving an update.

It’s only spring, but the Yankees are looking less fragile (so far).