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.