Sunday, December 30, 2012

Are The 2013 Yankees Doomed?

So what's been going on lately in Yankee news? Nothing? Really? Well, I suppose it's time to be creative and pull a subject out of thin air.

A lot of fans such as myself have been sitting back and waiting for Ninja Cashman to pull off a big trade. Maybe not a "big" trade, but something along the lines of the Nick Swisher deal he pulled off after the 2008 season. After all, I haven't read anybody that's excited about the outfield of Granderson, Gardner, and Suzuki. I should talk about a deal possibly involving an upgrade behind the plate, but I honestly don't think that's a big deal. I agree with the idea of simply having a strong defensive catcher. Heck, our starting catcher last season put up a batting line of .211/.311/.403, so it's not like we need an all-star caliber player back there to be competitive.

But does the team really need a "big" trade, or something close to it, in order to compete in 2013? To start to answer that question I decided to take the proposed 2013 starting position players, along with the proposed starting rotation, and look at their Wins Above Replacement from Baseball Reference (bWAR) in 2012.

SP1: Sabathia - 3.3
SP2: Kuroda - 5.2
SP3: Pettitte - 2.4 this is his bWAR in 2010, since he only threw 75.1 innings in 2012 due to injury, and didn't pitch at all in 2011
SP4: Hughes - 1.5
SP5: Phelps - 2.0


C: Stewart - 2.9 Stewart only had 157 PA, therefore his bWAR was extrapolated to 500 PA. And I'm using Stewart as he had the highest bWAR among the 3 catching candidates for 2013.
1B: Teixeira - 3.6
2B: Cano - 8.2
3B: Rodriguez/Youkilis - 1.55 I took 1/2 of each player's bWAR in 2012, and adding them up, since ARod may be out half the year and Youkilis would be playing 3B for that half.
SS: Jeter - 2.1
LF: Gardner - 3.7 I'm using his 2011 bWAR, since he missed too much of 2012.
CF: Granderson - 2.7
RF: Suzuki - 1.6
DH: ???/Youkilis - .55 Only uses 1/2 of Youk's 2012 bWAR, as he'll be the primary 3B in the first half of this season. The other half of the DH equation is unknown, so I'm leaving it at "???".



"Yeah, I'm going to need some context here."

The 2012 Yankees weren't as good as I'd hope they'd be, but you can't tell me they were terrible. After all, they did make it to the American League Championship Series. So how did that team do as far as bWAR, looking at their starting position players and starting rotation?

SP1: Sabathia - 3.3
SP2: Kuroda - 5.2
SP3: Hughes - 1.5
SP4: Nova - 0.4
SP5: Garcia - 0.0

TOTAL: 10.4

C: Martin - 1.5
1B: Teixeira - 3.6
2B: Cano - 8.2
3B: Rodriguez - 2.0
SS: Jeter - 2.1
LF: Ibanez - 0.3
CF: Granderson - 2.7
RF: Swisher - 3.5
DH: Chavez - 1.5

TOTAL: 25.4


I get this sarcastic look from my girlfriend quite a bit.

So the 2013 Yankees, assuming the players do as well as last season, have a better bWAR. Okay, but how about the 2012 American League Champion Detroit Tigers?

SP1: Verlander - 7.6
SP2: Scherzer - 4.0
SP3: Porcello - 1.4
SP4: Fister - 3.2
SP5: Sanchez - 2.6

TOTAL: 18.8

C: Avila - 2.2
1B: Fielder - 4.4
2B: Infante - 0.7
3B: Cabrera - 6.9
SS: Peralta - 0.8
LF: Dirks - 2.0
CF: Jackson - 5.2
RF: Boesch - -1.4
DH: Young - -1.2

TOTAL: 19.6


I wanted to say that a good bullpen can help or hinder a team, so not including them in the above numbers is not me disregarding them. It was simply too difficult for me to break down the bullpen into it's most important parts, since not all bullpen members are created equal. And by not including each bullpen member, I don't believe I could accurately put a number on them. But I do want to say that the 2013 Yankees bullpen does look to be a good one. I don't mean to say they'll be "lights out" awesome, but they should be good enough that the difference between their bullpen and any other team's bullpen is not enough to skew the numbers much at all.

I don't mean to say that the Yankees are on their way to the 2013 World Series, but looking at these numbers does make me feel a little bit better about the team's chances of having a successful season. Either way, I'd like to see the Ninja work his magic again.

What About Carlos Lee For The Yankees 2013 DH?

It is no secret that the Yankees need a right handed hitter, a designated hitter, and some power to replace the home runs lost by Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, etc etc etc. I wonder if the Yankees have considered Carlos Lee for their opening. Before you start throwing popcorn at the screen hear me out and let's look at this statistically.

Carlos Lee is a contact hitter who rarely strikes out, something that is overlooked in the day of the long ball in my opinion, with a strike out rate of only 8.0%. To go with this strike out rate is a pretty nice 89.5% contact rate from the right side. Carlos Lee, in a pinch of course, can also play first base and a little bit of left field which makes him much more versatile then say Raul Ibanez was last season, not that I would want Carlos in the field any more then we would have to. Entering his age 36 season (turning 37 in late June) I would also think that he would be willing to accept the one year deal that the Yankees seem to be only throwing out this off season, which makes him make even more sense for the Yankees. Now while I admit that his 2012 season was a horrible season where he only hit 9 home runs between two teams he did play in 147 games, get on base a respectable 60 points higher then his batting average (.264/.332/.365), managed 77 RBIs for two terrible teams the Marlins and the Astros, 145 hits, 27 doubles, and even managed enough outfielders to fall down in one play for him to get a triple. While he will not be a stolen base threat, 3 stolen bases and wasn't caught stealing in 2012, he could really fill out and balance the lineup in the Yankees 6th or 7th slot in the lineup.

Carlos Lee is durable, more flexible then any of the DH options we had last year or could have this year barring a trade, is right handed, can still hit for power regardless of his 2012 numbers, would probably take a one year deal, and would make us one step closer to being competitive in my opinion. This makes too much sense to me at this point in the game. I will note that I am not a fan of having Carlos Lee on the team but he is the best of what is left and would help the team the most in my opinion so I think Cashman should get it done now.