The Yankees couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Ok, most of them couldn’t. How bad is it? Consider this, Teixeira, Stewart, Youkilis, Wells, Ichiro and Nix all have a sub-.700 OPS. That leaves only Gardner, Cano and Hafner with figures over that for the “regular” lineup and Hafner hasn’t hit since April (1100 OPS in April, .584 in May, .491 so far in June.) Clearly, the magic of April has worn off and the Yankees have huge problems.
Let’s start with the things that won’t get better. Chris Stewart and Jason Nix. I don’t know what the Yankees have to lose by letting Austin Romine play more. At the very least they could evaluate him further with an eye towards 2014. Likewise, I don’t know why Girardi keeps running Nix out there against RHP when Brignac is on the roster. Nix has a .557 OPS against RHP this year, not too far from his career mark of .600. He hits lefties, but righties aren’t his bag. Brignac hasn’t done much better against RHP (.608 OPS in his career) but unless they are going to use him, maybe try Corban Joseph out at SS? Anything is better than seeing Nix hit second with a righty on the mound.
It’s also time to realize that Wells and Ichiro should be a platoon and nothing more. Ichiro has reverted to his pre-September 2012 form and Wells is back to being a fringe bat. But Wells is hitting LHP (.795OPS) and while Ichiro is hitting lefties better than righties right now, its hard to see that continuing.
The Yankees should then consider keeping Hafner out of the lineup, unless the Yankees are at home. He is taking full advantage of Yankee Stadium (.264/.361/.611) but falls to Earth with a thud on the road (.188/.310/.313) The problem is who can the Yankees platoon him with? Maybe run David Adams out there against LHP and Overbay against RHP when they are on the road?
The Yankees have to hope that Youkilis and Teixeira show some offensive ability again and that Granderson heals up again quickly. But beyond that, it’s hard to see how they plug all of these holes. The minors don’t appear to have many solutions. Zolio Almonte is getting on base, but nothing much else. Thomas Neal is hitting well, but he doesn’t have a spot on the 40-man and it is hard to figure out how the Yankees can shoehorn him on there with guys like Cervelli and Pineda due back soon. They have already brought up Romine and Adams and neither one has been the answer so far. Trades are always a possibility, but barring that the Yankees are just going to have to hope for their pitching to hold up. And that is what we expected all along.
UPDATE- 7:05PM More injuries and more roster moves. According to various sources on the internet, the Yankees have put Youkilis back on the DL, sent Adam Warren to AAA and promoted Thomas Neal and Chris Bootcheck from AAA. To make room for Neal and Bootcheck on the 40-man, Nunez was shifted to the 60-day DL and Caesar Cabral was sent outright to AA. As Cabral was a Rule 5 pick, I believe that means he was offered back to the Red Sox, but they declined to take him back.
Wow, it never is simple around here is it? Well, Adams is obviously the third baseman again and Neal is probably going to take some swings against lefties either as a DH or OF. Bootcheck is simply cannon fodder. He is 34 and has spent the majority of his career in the minors. He has been starting at AAA, and is rested, so it will be his job to do what Adam Warren did yesterday if needed. In 10 days, the Yankees can bring Warren back and DFA Bootcheck. (It’s a tough business) That will open up a spot on the 40-man for either Pineda or Cervelli.
So things are different. I don’t think they are better, but they are different.