Friday, February 1, 2013

By signing Travis Hafner, the Yankees have deleted the Jeter option at third

OK, OK, stopping spitting, it was just an idea: If events transpired to keep A-Rod from returning, as the Yankees seem to be encouraging in full-throated bliss, one instinctive option would be to move Jeter to the less stressful 3B position. Youkilis would become our DH, and we'd simply need Chico Escuela - the incarnate good-field/no hit infielder - to play SS. Made sense to me.

Obviously, didn't to Brian Cashman's 14-member Data Analysis A-team. Because in the last three days, to virtually coincide with A-Rod's latest public self-debasement campaign, the Yankees have effectively eliminated their options with Jeter. He will play SS this year, bad foot, old age, at all. And as far as I can see - considering the psychological deterioration of Eduardo Nunez as a fielder - there is nobody - nada - to replace Jeter, if he crumbles. Oh, well, there is always the X Games for that blood lust diversion!

Yesterday, we secured Travis Hafner, who is old, beat-up and has never fielded a position, as our DH against righties. Now, you might argue that he'll have to earn his job in spring training. You could also argue that Gandhi invented foie gras. Last spring, the newcomer Raul Ibanez went 2 for the month of March and still came north as the starter. Raul eventually justified the move. Andruw Jones, on the other hand, did not. So which is Travis Hafner?

Almost simultaneously, we signed Juan Rivera, I guess as the RH half of the DH. So now we have two more old, beat up guys, who will platoon at the spot. Wow. I didn't think we could actually get older. But we did!

Three days ago, if the Yankees had opted for a Jeter-at-third solution, here was our lineup:

lf Brett Gardner
3b Derek Jeter
2b Robbie Cano
lb Mark Teixeira
dh Kevin Youkilis
cf Curtis Granderson
rf Ichiro Suzuki
c Francisco Cervelli
ss Short guy who can't hit

Now, we're larded with wheezers who cannot run or cover ground. Youkilis will play 3B -- until he gets injured. He's gotten hurt the last three years.  Our DH will be Hafner-Rivera. That leaves Nunez backing up everybody - infield and outfield - even though he is a candidate for DH.

A month ago I gleefully ridiculed the Redsocks for acquiring a lineup with five catchers. Ever since, they've gotten younger, smarter and more rounded. Now, when I look at the 2013 Yankees, we are a team of DHs: Youkilis, Hafner, Rivera, Jeter (occasionally) and Nunez. Will Ichiro or Teixeira need days off as DH? Tough luck, pals.

Listen: I accept that the Yankees know more about this than I do. I accept that maybe Cashman has something up his sleeve - though it's getting late. But with Youkilis and Jeter playing side by side for an entire season, a tankerload of DP grounders are going to roll into left field. How many times will we watch end-of-inning grounders launch huge rallies? And how many home runs can we hit to match the damage done?

I just don't see how anyone thinks we can go the entire season this old, this slow, this way. And now we have Pronk.


John M said...

"I accept that the Yankees know more about this than I do."

"Well, I'm sure President Johnson knows more about the Vietnam situation than I do."

"If they say Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, I have to believe them. They certainly have more information than I do."

"This guy on CNBC said the Dow is going to 30,000, and he's done a hell of a lot more research than me."

Samy Dangerfield said...

I'm counting on Hafner to be the new Nick Johnson.

I'm taking the Under at 0 games played.