9 Jul 2013
Sunday, the Yankees claimed Travis Ishikawa off of waivers from the Orioles. Monday, he was the starting first baseman. In order to make room for Ishikawa, they sent David Adamd down to the minors.
I don’t understand this move for two reasons. First, Ishikawa is a lefty-hitting first baseman. Essentially, he is Lyle Overbay and the Yankees already have Overbay. He doesn’t hit lefties well like Overbay so he offers no help there. I get that the Yankees don’t have a true backup first baseman, but Adams could fill in there and Vernon Wells has been taking grounders there. With Overbay, Ishikawa and Hafner, the Yankees have three lefty hitters who don’t hit lefties well and can offer little positionally flexibility. That’s at least one too many.
Second, why not try something that at least addresses your weaknesses? Thomas Neal got 11 AB’s in the majors, but he has hit in AAA and he can play the outfield corners and first. If you want a backup for first, why not give him a shot?
Ishikawa may prove to be a good pickup, but the odds are against him. In over 800 plate appearances in the bigs he has put up a line of .260/.324/.398. He is going to turn 30 later this season, so it’s hard to see how he would do better than those numbers and those numbers are well below what an average first baseman has put up in 2013. Lyle Overbay has put up a line of .273/.327/.492 against RHP, but only .188/.221/.300 against LHP. He is a clear case of someone in need to a platoon partner. Instead, the Yankees brought in another lefty-weird to say the least.