Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jeter and Rodriguez Can Only Be Upgrades

As Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez continue their minor league rehab assignments it has becoming increasingly clear how desperate the Yankees are for them to return. The Yankees lost their third straight game yesterday and they only scored one run in each of the three losses.

After four hits only netted them one run against James Shields, the Yankees only got two hit’s the rest of the game. That is how things have gone for the Yankees lately, as they have only one home run over their last 74 innings. Nobody knows what Jeter and Rodriguez will be when they get to the Bronx, but they for sure cannot make things any worse.

Jeter seems set to return for the weekend series against the Twins, while it seems like Rodriguez’s rehab will take a little longer. Rodriguez still has a possible MLB suspension looming for his involvement in the Biogenesis case, but he would likely appeal if that occurred and would be able to continue playing until the appeal is heard.

Obviously Jeter and Rodriguez are big improvements over Eduardo Nunez, Alberto Gonzalez and Luis Cruz. That goes without saying. Yankees third basemen this year have a slash line of .220/.282/.368/.650 with a .289 wOBA and 58 wRC+ and Yankees shortstops have a slash line of .215/.272/.320/.592 with a .245 wOBA and 47 wRC+. That is beyond hideous.

Jeter and Rodriguez as diminished players should be easily able to top those numbers. I would be more concerned about Rodriguez’s hip than Jeter’s ankle because the hip is more of a chronic issue,. Once Jeter’s broken ankle is healed then it’s healed. Obviously, staying on the field will be the biggest key to both Jeter and Rodriguez contributing down the stretch of the season.

Rodriguez’s decline last season was overstated, as his .342 w/OBA and 114 wRC+ both ranked 8th among MLB third basemen. So, he still produced like a top 10 MLB third baseman just last season. Sure, his power numbers were down, but he still had a pretty good season last year and the Yankees would be absolutely thrilled if he were able to put them up again.

Jeter is unlikely to repeat his stellar season from last year, when his slash line was .316/.362/.429/.791 and he posted a .347 wOBA. However, as previously stated, Jeter as a diminished player is a big upgrade over the garbage the Yankees have been throwing out at shortstop this year. Also, the intangibles and leadership that he brings to the table should only help as well.

One thing that Jeter and Rodriguez will bring to this Yankees season is buzz, energy and excitement, which the Yankees have been lacking all season with their egregious offense. Perhaps that energy will light a spark under the current players and the Yankees could go on a run. Maybe Jeter and Rodriguez being fresh will help them catch lightning in a bottle down the stretch of the season. Nobody knows how Jeter and Rodriguez will perform, but everybody knows that the current players at shortstop and third base are certainly not the answers.

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