Monday, November 10, 2014

Chris Young Will Not Bring On The Yankees Apocalypse

The offseason has only recently started, however the fact that the Yankees haven't even been in contention for the postseason for around two months has made some fans antsy.

Were you expecting a picture of an ant?

Yankees fans are notoriously impatient, so they want to see changes made now. Not in January, not at the Winter Meetings starting December 8th, not even during the last day of the GM Meetings that start today and go through Thursday. Yankees fans want a resolution to the team's issues now.

One of the problems the Yankees face is the lack of a true right-handed power hitter. So when it was announced that the team and Chris Young had come to an agreement on a one-year contract, some fans got up in arms over it. They don't believe that Young is the same guy that in 2010 hit 27 home runs for the Arizona Diamondbacks, let alone the same guy that hit .282/.354/.521 for New York in 23 games last season. And to be honest... neither do I.

But the difference between those fans and myself is that I'm far from "up in arms" over the signing. While I understand that injuries happen, and somebody that was supposed to be a backup could very well end up getting a decent chunk of playing time, Chris Young was simply not signed to get regular playing time.

One fear is that when Carlos Beltran gets hurt (yeah, I don't think the word "if" fits), Young will get regular starts in right field. I'm not so sure about that. In fact, if we were to bet on such a scenario, I'd put my money on Martin Prado doing what he did in 2014 and getting the majority of the starts in RF. That would leave second base open for a youngster like Jose Pirela.

"Yeah, you're right... I'll probably get hurt again."

And I'd like to also point out that, outside of the nine regulars for the Yankees last season, nobody had more than 238 plate appearances (Alfonso Soriano), which equates to about 4% of the team's at bats last season. For reference, Brian Roberts had 348 plate appearances (a little under 6%), Ichiro Suzuki had 385 PAs (a little over 6%), and Derek Jeter had 634 PAs (about 10%).

By the way, a couple of notes regarding the four players mentioned in that last paragraph...

  1. Soriano had the lowest OPS+ among players with at least 160 plate appearances for the Yankees in 2014, while the other three had the three lowest OPS+s among the regulars.
  2. They are no longer on the team.
The last thing I want to say, to help bring some fans off the edge, is that Young's contract is not so big that the team will feel they have to keep him around. This isn't like with Alex Rodriguez, who the team would probably cut if it wasn't for the fact that he's still owed $61 million. We don't know what the incentives in Chris' contract are, but even if we assume he's on pace to hit them all by mid-season, we're only talking about a little over $3 million. And last season the Yankees released Alfonso Soriano in July, and he was guaranteed to make $5 million from the Yankees in 2014 (and another $14 million from the Cubs).

There are much bigger moves that have to be made by the team this offseason rather than securing a fourth outfielder. I'm way more concerned that the Yankees will miss out on Brandon McCarthy and settle for somebody like Jason Hammel or Chris Capuano for the Opening Day rotation. Then, will the team have to lean on Alex Rodriguez to play 3B most of the time, as they couldn't get Chase Headley or Pablo Sandoval? If the Yankees don't retain David Robertson then who fills that big hole in the bullpen? And what is going to happen at shortstop, where the only good free agent at that position either can't stay healthy or shouldn't play there in the first place?

"Is he talking about me?"

Unfortunately, we have to be patient during the offseason. Nothing of significance tends to take place until the first week or two in December. It's not what Yankee fans want to hear, but that's the truth.

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