Derek Jeter

The $45-Million Question

Who comes back and plays for the Yankees first in 2013- Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez?

This is now a legitimate question because Derek Jeter has another ankle fracture and won’t be back until after the All-Star Break at the earliest. He took about four months off to heal the original fracture and didn’t really do much for a month after that, so I wouldn’t hold your breath for a July return.

So, Eduardo Nunez is now the everyday shortstop and the Yankees are going to find out if that is a good thing or a bad thing. On the good side, Nunez is playing a lot better defensively this year. On the bad, his bat hasn’t done anything. (Small sample size in both cases.) The problem is, if Nunez flops then what? Nix isn’t going to hit more than Nunez and Gil Velazquez (Scranton’s SS) is a career minor-leaguer who has .246/.308/.329 in 16 seasons in the minors. I don’t think there is any good answer at this point so the Yankees will just have to make do as they have been so far this season.

It’s Getting Ugly

The Yankees took another injury hit today when it was announced that Mark Teixeira will miss 8 to 10 weeks with a wrist injury. That timetable puts him back into the lineup right around the same time Curtis Granderson should return. It’s another blow to a team that does not have the depth to handle a lot of injuries.

Sure, the Yankees weren’t going to re-sign Swisher, who would have been a great player to have right now, but they didn’t have to get to this point. Eric Chavez, a 35-year old player who could play first and third, while really only hitting righty pitching, was allowed to sign with Arizona. Travis Hafner, a 35-year old player who can’t play at all in the field, while hitting only righty pitching, was brought in for roughly the same amount of money. Just in case you were wondering if the Yankees would try Hafner at first now, the answer is still no.

Now, let’s not forget that so far Derek Jeter is only projected to be ready for Opening Day. Phil Hughes has been out for more than 2 weeks and David Robertson felt “tightness” in his pitching shoulder. If I am the Yankees, I drive over to the Dominican WBC Team, kidnap Robinson Cano and put him in bubble wrap for the next four weeks. After that, there are not a lot of positive steps they can take to improve this situation. A panicked trade will most likely hurt more than help, so the Yankees should cross their fingers and hope that someone can step up and show them something. The opportunity is certainly there. But, I leave you to ponder the following Opening Day lineup:

Ichiro-RF

Nunez-SS

Cano-2B

Youkilis-3B

Hafner-DH

Cervelli-C

Gardner-LF

Mesa-CF

Dan Johnson-1B