10 Jun 2016
I don’t think I have ever seen a depth chart at a single position get decimated in the way the Yankees’ first base situation has been. Let’s recap.
1- Greg Bird, first baseman of the future and the insurance to a Mark Teixeira injury, goes down in the offseason with season-ending shoulder surgery.
2- Dustin Ackley, the new backup first baseman, hurts his shoulder on a slide and has season-ending, shoulder surgery.
3- Mark Teixeria gets hurt and may require season-ending surgery. He might also come back.
4- Chris Parmalee, the guy they invited to camp when Bird was injured and stashed in the minors, gets hurt catching a throw to first. He has a grade 2, hamstring tear, and will probably miss two months.
So first of all, Rob Refsnyder should get an exorcism performed on the first base area. Second, this could be a good development long-term.
The Yankees don’t have a position for Refsnyder. He isn’t good enough at second for them. He took a couple of balls off his face at third and they soured on that idea. His arm hasn’t starred in the outfield. But they like his bat and if he hits, they can figure out ways to accommodate his glove.
Ideally, Refsnyder can become a multi-positional talent. If they can put him anywhere on the field, except catcher, center, and short, that is a huge asset to have. They can tolerate a below-average glove if they can hide it by moving it around the diamond.
And ultimately that is what 2016 should be about for this team- experimenting. See what Refsnyder can do at first, and with the bat. See if Pineda can turn into the pitcher his stuff says he should can be. See if Hicks is worth developing, and if Romine has a bigger future than backup catcher. See what Chapman and Beltran can get you on the trade market, instead of the draft pick down the road.
The Yankees won’t do that unless things fall apart in the next month. Barring that, the best a fan can hope for is last year’s approach- do no harm. The 2016 Yankees could be a lot of things, champions seems the most unlikely. Make sure you don’t mortgage the future to chase an impossible dream.