Monday, October 7, 2013

What I'd Like To See For 2014: Infield

Last week I wrote that I will be going over what I'd like to see the Yankees do this offseason. Actually, I said I was going to post this in the morning, but as you can see I failed at that. So I hope you aren't too upset with me.

"Where is that post he promised?!?!"

Instead of a big long introduction here, I'm going to get right into it. By the way, remember that I'm not going to assume any trades occur. I'm going by free agency only. At the same time, unlike in last week's introduction to this series, I'm going to be shooting for a payroll below $189 million.

So here we go...

We've talked about the situation with Robinson Cano to death, so I'm not going to go into it again right now. Not to mention the fact that we're going to be talking about him a hell of a lot from now on. Let's just say for now that I see Cano wearing Yankee pinstripes again next season, which settles second base.

Moving on...

On the surface it seems that the Yankees need to find themselves a new third baseman. Unfortunately the list of free agents at that position is less than inspiring, making me lean towards signing Michael Young. Then, like I pointed out in the introduction of this series, I thought about the fact that Derek Jeter just isn't cut out for shortstop any more. But I don't think Jeter should be become a bench player, either. So why not move him to third base, and look at acquiring the shortstop of the future?

There are actually two free agent shortstops that pique my interest... Stephen Drew and Jhonny Peralta. I talked about who I'd rather have in the introduction last Wednesday, but let's take a closer look at each player.

Initially, after looking at their stats, I leaned to Peralta. In their last three years, Jhonny has hit .279/.335/.439 while Drew has hit .242/.320/.401. So Peralta has him beat in every category, including an average of 15 home runs a season as opposed to only 8 for Stephen.

But then I looked deeper at the numbers. Jhonny's 2013 stats before he was suspended are simply not to be believed. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was a very high .379, while his line drive percentage (LD%) was also way out of whack at 29% as opposed to a career average of 20%. So that batting line of .305/.361/.461 this season has skewed things. Peralta's probably closer to the .269/.325/.431 hitter he was between 2011 and 2012, when both his BABIP and LD% were more like the norm.

You also have to take into account that Drew missed the first 73 games of the 2012 season due to breaking his right ankle, so his batting line of .223/.309/.348 that year is most likely an outlier. My expectations for Stephen Drew in 2014 are more along the lines of .250/.325/.420, which is between what he did in 2011 and this season.

Both Peralta and Drew are good fielders at shortstop. Mind you, they aren't going to challenge Brendan Ryan as one of the best fielding shortstops in the game, but they are definitely not in the Eduardo Nunez category over there either. So when it comes to defense it's a wash.

The straw that breaks the camel's back, though, is Biogenesis. The Yankees already have two guys that have been suspended due to being linked with the PED distributing clinic (Cervelli and Rodriguez), and I highly doubt they'd be okay with acquiring another.

Oh, and Stephen Drew is a left-handed hitter, which is always interesting when it comes to playing 81 games at Yankee Stadium.

"Lefties love me."

While I'm a big fan of Brian McCann, and believe the Yankees should look hard at bringing him on board, the team just has too many options at catcher right now. I don't think Cervelli is going to return and put up the same numbers he did in April, but I think he's earned the right to be the starting backstop in 2014. Then there's Austin Romine and JR Murphy who could battle for the backup job. As for Chris Stewart, it's time to part ways. For one, there's just not room on the roster, and secondly, he's not that good. He was brought in for his defense, yet he's had a ton of passed balls this year. It's not like AJ Burnett is throwing to him day in and day out, either. On top of the Yankees already having a viable catching solution in house, paying McCann would likely mean having one of Zoilo Almonte, Ichiro Suzuki, or Vernon Wells as a starting outfielder. That, or the infield could have one of Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix, or Brendan Ryan in it regularly. McCann and one of those guys, or Cervelli and Granderson. I’ll take Cervelli and Granderson.

A back-up first baseman is important as he would play fairly often, since Teixeira will likely need some rest to keep his wrist healthy. That's where my choice for the starting right fielder comes in. You'll read about him in next week's post about the outfield, but let's just say he has experience at first as well.

Whether he's at shortstop or third base, the fact is Jeter can not play everyday. Which is why it's important for the team to have two viable options on the bench to play for him. Those men are Brendan Ryan and Eduardo Nunez.

Catcher - Francisco Cervelli $1.5 million (arbitration 1)
First Base - Mark Teixeira $22.5 million
Second Base - Robinson Cano $25 million (signed for 7 years/$175 million)
Third Base - Derek Jeter $14.375 million
Shortstop - Stephen Drew $13 million (signed for 3 years/$39 million)

So there you go... my 2014 Opening Day infield. I'm sure you're ready to type your comments calling me an "idiot", "fool", or some other less than flattering word. So go for it. Heck, I'm sure a trade or two will go down, which will change my feelings entirely. But as of right now, this is where I'm at.

"I'm going to give this thing a workout telling Bryan how dumb he is."


  1. The Jeter to 3rd move is interesting...are your vales the AAV?

  2. Yeah, sorry I didn't mention that. The numbers are AAV.

  3. The Jeter to 3rd is not a good idea, in my opinion. Oh, he could handle it ok but, that is a power hitters spot not a singles spot!
    We only have 4 spots that need power; Right and left field the other is 1st and 3rd base. Maybe Nunny can play better at 3rd than he does at SS!

    1. If you fill in the other spots with big power bats you can get away with it though. 2nd is not a power spot but if we bring back Cano we have it. catcher is not a power spot but if we bring in McCann we have it. If If If I know but it can be done.


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