Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Brian Cashman CANNOT Rely Solely on Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira

The New York Yankees made the postseason for the first time since their 2012 loss in the ALCS to the Detroit Tigers this past season and if the team wants to return improvements will need to be made. Much of why the team made the postseason as the first Wild Card winner in 2015 was the returns of a healthy Mark Teixiera and an effective Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees were flying high until the month of August when Rodriguez’s production, undoubtedly due to fatigue after basically missing the last two seasons with injuries and a suspension, and Teixeira’s health, he fractured his shin and missed the remainder of the season, reared their ugly heads. I’ll say it again, if New York wants to return to the Promised Land in 2016 they absolutely cannot rely solely on the returns of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in the middle of the lineup. 

In 2015 Rodriguez finished with a .50/.356/.486 triple slash playing in 151 games. Rodriguez hit 33 home runs but it was obvious that the fatigue had set in by the month of August. Rodriguez disappeared in the months of August and September slashing just .215/.313/.454 since August 18th. Speaking of August 18th, this was the day after Teixeira fouled a ball off his shin and it was also the day after Teixeira’s season ended. Teix played again on the 15th and 26th of August before ending his season at .255/.357/.548 and 32 home runs in just 111 games. If Cashman thinks he is going to get another productive season like this out of Rodriguez as he creeps towards 41-years old, even as a full-time DH, and a healthy season of 140+ games out of Teixeira, he hasn’t played in more than 123 games since 2011, then the Yankees are in for another long season. 

According to Fangraphs and their Steamer projections system Teixeira is projected to play in 126 games in 2016 and will slash .233/.328/.451 while hitting 27 home runs while Rodriguez projects to hit .240/.335/.415 with 21 home runs in 128 games. To be fair the Steamer projections usually underbid a lot of these projections, the 2015 versions had Teixeira hitting 20 home runs and Rodriguez only hitting nine home runs, but the fact of the matter is this cannot be the middle of your lineup in 2016. The consensus around sabermetric based franchises is that your best hitter is supposed to hit third in the lineup, if Alex is hitting .240 and hits 21 home runs and is the Yankees best hitter in 2016 I think this team is truly in trouble. 

New York won’t have the weak Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays to pick on for at least half of the season this time around. Tampa will be better, they always are, and Baltimore could be better as well even if they lose many of their big free agents. Boston will definitely be better, I have the utmost faith in Dave Dombrowski unfortunately, and the Blue Jays will have full seasons with Troy Tulowitzki and their newly revamped offense in 2016. Aaron Hicks is a nice move that compliments the team and the bench well but if another bat isn’t added somewhere that can help the team I truly worry about this team’s chances in 2016. Another year older, another year out of their primes and another year closer to the twilight's of their careers. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)