Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Posted by el duque at 7:40 AM
Look at the teams in the post-season. None of them concedes 2B, as the Yankees have done.
This winter, the Evils must decide what to do at 2B, which will in turn dictate the direction of the team. Will they go old, go young, or go Met? Let us consider the options.
1. Sign another old coot, probably to a two or three-year deal. The nominees:
Ben Zobrist, currently 34, switch hitter, who this year batted .276 with 13 HRs. (Previous year, .272 with 10.)
Howie Kendrick, currently 32, bats right, who hit .292 with 9 HRs. (Previous year: 293 with 7 HR.)
Chase Utley, currently 36, bats left, .212 with 8 HRs. (Previous: .270 with 11.)
Asdrubal Cabrera, currently 29, switch hitter, .265 with 15 (Previous: .241 with 14)
These guys represent Cashman's survival formula: Spend on a big name, and if he fails, everybody blames the player, not the G.M. But with the exception of Cabrera, every one of these guys is three years past his sell-date, and Cabrera is a crap shot. The one thing we know is that if the Yankees sign one of these guys, they'll play him - regardless of how bad he is. He'll be the 2B through July, no questions asked.
To me, this would represent another sad, boring, mediocre team. Really, have we endured the last three years to end up with Howie Kendrick?
2. Sign Daniel Murphy of the Mets, and pay him for his 2015 post-season. (This is also known as the Second Coming of Tony Womack option.
If they sign Murphy - currently 30 - one question rises above others: Would they get the Murphy who hit .281 with 14 HR in the regular season, or the post-season superhuman. Because they'll pay for the latter.
The last time they went after a World Series star 2B, old George signed old Tony Womack of the Cardinals. It turned out to be a disaster. But the Yankees might feel they need to steal the Mets' thunder. To sign Murphy could require a five-year deal, because he'd be in the drivers' seat, at the absolute zenith of his negotiating career. Talking about buying high.
This is the plan we should fear the most.
3. Go with Rob Refsnyder (and maybe Dustin Ackley).
Refsnyder will be 25. In 43 at bats, he hit .302. For any other team in baseball, he would be a lock to start 2016 in the Bronx. But why kid ourselves? It's one thing to be cheap. It's another to be stuck in your ways. The Yankee ownership seems to be intermittently both.
We all know the deal, as outlined by Alphonso yesterday: If Refsnyder makes an error in a spring training game, we can kiss him goodbye, and watch the team sign a coot.
As for Ackley, who knows? Cashman really likes him, he's 27, and last year, he hit .231 with 10 HRs. The question is, can he play 2B over a season?
The Yankees this winter are said to be moving their best SS prospects to 2B, a sign that Didi Gregorius will play SS for the next few years. That makes sense. But the team still has no youth option beyond Refsnyder in 2016. These younger guys will be lucky to make Scranton next season.
I still don't know why the Yankees were so reluctant to play Refsnyder this year. Management seemed to have its head up its ass, or was there something else? Cashman recently debunked a theory that Refsnyder projected an entitled attitude during his first brief fling with the Yankees - a story that never made sense. Yet Cashman let the rumor go for more than two months.
Fans wanted to see Refsnyder get a chance, rather than subject him to a second season in Scranton. Yet the Yankees played Stephen Drew, a horror show. They never really gave Jose Pirela the time of day. And Brendan Ryan never offered anything beyond a glove. Joe plays them and plays them and then - poof - here's Refsynder, starting in the Wild Card game?
Much has been written and said about the emergence of Luis Severino and Greg Bird. But neither would have gotten so much as a cup of coffee, had it not been for injuries. The Yankees seem incapable of actually turning a position over to a young player. The notion of Slade Heathcott getting a shot in the OF is beyond our abilities to imagine.
They have no long term plan at 2B. Now, it's time to come with one.