Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why the Wilpon's are a Disgrace to Baseball

Okay, so this is something that has been eating me up inside for a really long time. I am not a Mets fan so this is not a Met fan bitching about their owners, but this is coming from someone who has a problem with the way the Wilpon's run their team, First off, I know there is literally zero chance they sell the team unless Commissioner-Elect Rob Manfred steps in, but there are a plethora of reasons why they are disgrace to baseball and the New York Mets.

The biggest issue is of course, money. They have no money we all know that, but that's their personal fortunes, the team is in New York, baseball's largest market with a small-market payroll. For the past few years they make one minor to major move and then basically pack it in for the rest of the offseason. Last year it was Curtis Granderson who had a horrid year hitting .226 with 20 home runs and only 66 RBI's. I've never been the biggest Granderson to begin with, he strikes out way too much for my liking. I think he'll hit for more power this year but will still hit for a low average and strike out a ton. Enter Michael Cuddyer, a solid player, versatile, and a great clubhouse veteran but he isn't a player who is going to take this team to another level. He also has had trouble staying healthy the past few years.

Basically what i'm getting at is to compete in New York the Mets need to make more of an effort to try in bring players in, in positions of need. i.e. they can tell us till they're blue in the face that Wilmer Flores is going to be their everyday shortstop but we all know he cannot play the position in the big leagues. They could have gotten Stephen Drew for 5 million dollars and there wasn't even an inkling that they were interested. They could have signed Asdrubal Cabrera for one year and 8 million but again not even in the conversation. You cannot field a winning team when you have such glaring holes in high priority positions such as shortstop and the bullpen. We were told that they wouldn't sign anyone to a major league contract in the bullpen this season. So you're telling me they couldn't have gotten Craig Breslow for a few million dollars? They were satisfied with dumpster diving through minor league free agents instead of signing a proven reliever. They've been telling us wait until next year when all of our young pitching is ready. 2014 was supposed to be the year and then Matt Harvey got hurt, okay that's understandable one of the best young pitchers in the game had Tommy John surgery and Zack Wheeler was entering his first full season with Noah Syndegaard starting in AAA Las Vegas. But now in 2015, a healthy Matt Harvey, a Zack Wheeler who had a decent season, Rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom, Bartolo Colon who won 15 games last year and of course Syndegaard, you would think they might actually try and spend some money and try and compete this year. Guess not. Which brings me to Ian Desmond, a personal favorite of mine a one heck a player. The reports from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal among others was that the asking price for Desmond was Noah Syndegaard another top prospect, and the Mets had a similar deal in place for Ben Zobrist but balked at both of them. 

The Mets are a team with window, a great starting staff and a mediocre offense, Zobrist and/or Desmond would make them a legit contender. They wouldn't want to give up their top prospect for a player that has only one year of control left, but when you're a young team on the rise you take chances. You take the chance that Noah Syndegaard could become that ace everyone projects him to be, but he also could become a bust and if the Mets made a serious run in the postseason then giving up Syndegaard would be worth it in my opinion. Now that the Nats have traded for Yunel Escobar there is a possibility that Desmond could be moved and the Mets may be more inclined to deal Syndegaard. My guess is it's not Syndegaard they are worried about, it's Desmond 11 million dollar salary. You decide.

All stats provided by Baseball Reference

Follow me on Twitter- @TheDonnyFinkle

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thoughts on NYY Off season

As my partner Justin reiterated this has been a lack luster start to the off season other than Andrew Miller and Didi Gregorious but it's a good start. I also like Justin Wilson as well, another power arm from the left side. I have a different opinion the David Robertson saga than Justin does.

Bullpen- First off I love the Andrew Miller signing. I think the more high-leverage hard throwing guys coming out of the pen, the better. Guys with power stuff and strikeout secondary pitches like Betances' and Miller's slider screams lights out bullpen to me. Wilson had a 2.08 ERA in 2013 in just over 70 innings and didn't have as good of a year this year with a 4.20 ERA. Mainly because his walk rate went up from 3.4 to 4.5 and his strikeout to walk ratio was about 2 to 1. He is only going into his age 27 season and throws gas from the left side. As Justin pointed having potentially three hard throwing lefties in one pen could be something special. Rothschild is a really good pitching coach and I think he can fix Wilson's control issues and he too will become a huge part of the pen. Now on to David Robertson well, I have to disagree with Justin on this one. They already have Miller in the fold and it didn't seem smart to put 80 million dollars into two relievers when there are a plethora of relievers who are much cheaper on the free agent market. Jason Grilli would be my guy, has closing experience and still has good stuff. Put him in the closer role and let Miller and Betances stay in high leverage situations, that would be the way I think the pen should be constructed. I love DRob as much as the next guy but putting emotions aside, it was not a smart baseball decision to invest that much money in two relievers with so many other wholes to fill on this team.

Shortstop- I understand where Justin is coming from about giving up Shane Greene for Didi Gregorious but they weren't going to get a 24-year old controllable shortstop for nothing. Personally I hate that he is going to the Tigers, I would rather he gone to the DBacks but that's just me. I know he doesn't hit much right now and his defense is spectacular, but I think he can become better offensively. His problem really is he cannot hit against lefties. He has a career .490 OPS against lefties and .743 against righties. I know that it's not that simple but it's start, Cashman plans on platooning him with Brendan Ryan but we'll see how long that lasts. I hope he sticks but if nothing else I think he could be stop gap for a possible acquisition from the island of Cuba. Yoan Moncada. Listed as the best prospect to defect from Cuba since Yasiel Puig and Jorge Soler. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America he has a chance to be a legit five-tool player. There are some concerns as to whether he can play shortstop everyday but that remains to be seen, he is only 19. The Yankees are seen as the favorites to sign Moncada once he is cleared by US Department of Foreign Assets Control. Again, he is only 19 so having Gregorious in the fold makes sense even if they do sign Moncada. Moncada can also play 2B and 3B as well if Gregorious' bat plays with the Yanks.

Starting Pitching- The starting pitching is a huge whole for the Yanks. They need depth which does beg the question why trade some of that depth away? Well, I answered that already. First off, Brandon McCarthy is a must to bring back. I know he had a horrible start to the year with Arizona but once he came to the Yankees he was lights out. Thanks to Larry Rothschild re-introducing his cutter back into his repertoire. There are reports he wants 4 for 48. That's a lot for him considering Fransisco Liriano got 3 for 39 from the Pirates. I would be comfortable bringing him back for something in that range. He was great with the Yanks and loves New York, the marriage seems to perfect to break up. Also they need more than one just starting pitcher with the question marks surrounding Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, Nova, etc. Max Scherzer's name has been thrown out there and of course it's going to. Scott Boras said that Scherzer makes the Yankees have "World Series caliber pitching." Boras is going to the get the Yankees involved and he should it's his job to get the Yankees in the mix to drive up the price. If the asking price is 200 million and that's what he gets I would really like to stay away from that. I like Scherzer obviously he's one of the best pitchers in the game but that's a lot of money over possibly seven years. I also would like to see the Yankees involved in some trades as well for the right pitcher. I really liked the idea of Wade Miley but then the Red Sox swooped him away from me. That type of pitcher would to make a trade for. A guy coming off a bad year but still has promise. Right now I have no idea who that would be, but the Yankees have some prospects now that people like and for the right deal some of them might have to go.

Last but not least, Third Base- Oh well what are we going to do here? Don't get me wrong I love Chase Headley but 4 for 65 is out of the question. If it is in the 3 year range I would do it but I don't think it will be with the Giants turning there attention to Headley full force after losing out on Jon Lester. So that begs the question put Prado at third and let the kids battle it out at second? That's probably whats going to happen. It's win win for me I love Refsnyder, got to see him play against New Britain in April, also like Pirela as well. Pirela is a good utility guy and can play all around so either one at second would be fine by me. As long as the Yankees start giving prospects a chance. I think Refsnyder is ready and it's about time they give him a chance. Pirela regardless should be on the 25 man roster. His versatility alone is why he will be on the 25 man.

Not sure where the Yanks go from here, but I can tell you they are not done yet.

Follow me on Twitter- @TheDonnyFinkle

All stats used were from

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Comments on the Yankees Offseason

Happy Sunday to all! I hope everyone is enjoying your holiday season in this windy, rainy winter so far. I've been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with my family in the past few weeks, and it's nice to see everyone else doing so. But back to business. The Yankees have entered the postseason spectacular (Or Hot Stove, if you will) with a few off-season moves (and non-moves). Here are my thoughts.

  1. I liked the trade for former Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Justin Wilson (besides the fact he has an excellent first name, of course). Trading an injury prone catcher in Francisco Cervelli in his final years of arbitration for a mid-90s throwing lefty under team control for multiple years is something you do every time. Wilson has his control issues; his walk rate inched up to 4.5/9 from 3.4/9 in his breakout 2013 season, but increased his K rate to 9.1/9 from 7.2. Wilson's FIP suggests some bad luck and an improvement to a mid 3's ERA from 4.20 last season and with pitching coach Larry Rothschild's magic of simultaneously improving BB and K rates, I expect him to be an under-the-radar pickup with big dividends, like Boone Logan a few years back.
  2. Having potentially three dominant lefties out of the bullpen is something of a pipe dream. Wilson, top 2014 pick Jacob Lindgren and Andrew Miller could be lethal. Particularly so since all three can get batters out on either side of the plate with pinpoint control and sky high K rates. Lindgren has to be added to the 40-man roster and earn a bullpen spot, but Manager Joe Girardi and Rothschild have to be salivating at the prospect of having such an electric bullpen. Speaking of Miller...
  3. I am just kind of "meh" about Andrew Miller. Sure, he's been electric since moving to the bullpen full time (ERA's trickling downwards of 3.35 to 2.02 since 2012), but should signing a pitcher with half the years of dominance of David Robertson take priority? I'd rather keep the guy the fan base is familiar with. If you're not going to keep the homegrown Robertson, who will they keep? Is Dellin Betances going to walk out the door too? Miller, I'm sure will be a stud, but Robertson should not be out as a result. Are the Yankees going to dump $90 million on two relievers? Probably not.
  4. Who takes over the closer's role? I am pro-signing a 'proven closer' such as Jason Grilli, Sergio Romo or a personal favorite, Casey Janssen to keep Miller and Betances as multi-inning set-up men and making the bullpen even deeper. But I think the Yankees should try installing a familiar face: Shawn Kelley. The initial reaction is: he has his moments where he is hittable like a soft tossing lefty. I know. But, Kelley filled in at closer admirably at the beginning of the season. Kelley's stuff is way too good to be middle relief and he is best suited as a one inning specialist. If the Yankees want to save a couple of bucks, let one of the AAA kids earn a job. You could be looking at this:
      1. Closer - Kelley
      2. Set-up - Betances
      3. Set-up - Miller
      4. Multi-Inning - Warren
      5. Middle Relief - Wilson
      6. Middle Relief - Lindgren
      7. Long Man - Phelps
  5. Why isn't Chase Headley a Yankee? He's a rock solid fit. He's not the .286/31 HR/115 RBI guy from 2012. But, he is absolutely a .265/25/90, switch hitting, rock solid defending third baseman. How many 3B are truly better? Donaldson, Longoria and Rendon? Everyone is comparable at best. You cannot count on just keeping the seat warm for prospect Eric Jagielo. Martin Prado can play third just fine, but he's better at 2B or an everyday super utility guy. Unless the Yankees have a Todd Frazier trade in the works (Jersey boy! Grew up a Yankees fan! Intangibles!), stick with someone who played well in the Bronx. Bring him back.
  6. A-Rod needs to be nothing more than the DH. Period. Stick him there and hope for the best.
  7. I dig the idea of a second base 'competition' between Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder, but 1) Pirela is getting a little too much hype - his ceiling is literally his teammate: Martin Prado - not a bad thing! I'm a big Prado fan! But he would be an awesome UTIL/DH guy. Refsnyder is the long term answer at 2B once his defense gets honed - his bat is ready, but a little more seasoning at AAA would be nice. If Brendan Ryan could be of some use, it'll be helping him defensively learn the position - who better to learn from? Ideally, he starts in AAA with Prado at 2B and once someone gets hurt, Prado moves there and Refsnyder gets the call.
  8. Speaking of Refsnyder; his former hitting coach, Marcus Thames, his now the Yankees Asst. Hitting Coach. I don't care for this trend of hiring assistant hitting coaches (much like I disliked infield shifts being adopted 3 years ago), but Refsnyder raved about him overhauling his swing, which allowed him to hit for more, harder contact. If Thames can have that effect on him, he could be of some use.
  9. The Yankees need to bring in some starting pitching ASAP. Bringing back Brandon McCarthy is a no-brainer and if they can bring in another one via trade or free agency (either a small, shorter contract like a Jason Hammel or a big splash like Max Scherzer), they must do so. Scherzer, Tanaka, Pineda, McCarthy, Sabathia sounds solid!
  10. And to wrap up: the big elephant in the room: the Didi Gregorius trade. My initial reaction and still: terrible. The Yankees need starting pitching, particularly young and not injury prone. Shane Greene fit that bill. And they send him away for a slick defending, no hitting SS. They have one in Brendan Ryan! If Gregorius was any good, Chris Owings would have been in AAA! Chris Owings can hit a little bit - why not go after him? Or if they wanted a 24 year old - why not Starlin Castro? Albeit, he would have cost more, but Greene in a package for a legit SS would not bother me as much. I don't expect Gregorius to hit .300, or 15 home runs. Just be decent. His MLB career suggests otherwise so far. Here's what is going to happen: he's going to stink, get calls for his head, and the Yankees are going to sign Ian Desmond next offseason. So why waste Greene? Prove me wrong Cashman and Gregorius. Prove me wrong.
Thanks for reading! All stats provided by Baseball Reference. Follow me on Twitter @JMFlorio

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jeter's Replacement? Not Who You May Think

This has been a lack luster off season to start off for the New York Yankees. A report from Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News explains that the Yankees were staying away from all of the big free agents this offseason. Recently, Jon Heyman of reported that we shouldn't sleep on the Yanks for Max Scherzer, and our friends at Bleeding Yankee Blue have been all over the Troy Tulowitzki saga. (Check for more info) I'm here to bring my input into what I believe the Yankees should do this offseason.

Out of all the candidates to take over for Derek Jeter the easiest one coming into the offseason was JJ Hardy. Well, Hardy resigned before the offseason even started. Now onto the others, Hanley Ramirez is going to cost way too much for a player who gets hurt way too much.

Asdrubal Cabrera is a possibility. I think he would be a good fit, coming off a trade to Washington midseason. He will cost a draft pick which is always good in my eyes. I just don't know how much he is going to cost. I would imagine something like Hardy got, 3 years, $40 million. Hardy obviously could have gotten more on the open market but stayed with his Orioles on a hometown discount. Cabrera has fallen off the map after year in 2011 where he hit 25 home runs, drove in 92 runs and hit .273. His production had steadily dropped off since then but he is only 28 so it's not a stretch to say that he can still regain that form.

Another big name is obviously Troy Tulowitzki, he is the "Big ticket item" and according to BYB the Rockies "Know what they want" and "It's up to the Yankees as to how much they feel Troy is worth" basically what that means is the ball is the Yankees court. I don't know how I would feel about Tulo being in pinstripes. Yes, he is a great player and one of the top 5 in the WHEN HE'S HEALTHY. That's a big part of it he's only played 130 games or more three times in his career. For me it's a no as a writer looking at it objectively. It's too much money and to big of prospects to give up.

Now, the starting shortstop of the New York Yankees in 2015 (if it were up to me) Jimmy Rollins. You're thinking JIMMY ROLLINS?!?!?! Has he lost his mind? Well it makes more sense than you may think. He hit 17 home runs in 2014 at age 34. He hit only .243 yes, but got on base at .323 clip and he played solid defense. He's only signed through 2015 and he is way cheaper than any of the other options. Rollins is a pro, he's a vet who could handle being the replacement for Derek Jeter. Now, this is all apart of a bigger plan of mine, Sign the Cuban SS Yoan Moancada and have him in AA and maybe AAA to develop so he's ready at some point next year to take over. The Rollins deal works if they sign Moancada and even if it doesn't, it's as simple as not giving up the only good prospects they Yankees have really tried to develop, and they're not on the hook for a ridiculous amount of money i.e. Tulo, Hanley, Elvis Andrus.

Thats basically what I think, not that it matters but I believe it makes a lot of sense to carry out the offseason this way.

All stats were from

Follow me on Twitter @TheDonnyFinkle

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What Could A 2015 New York Yankees Squad Look Like?

It has been literally months since I've posted, so: we're back!

While the 2014 season is only 1/3 of the way through, you can never put enough effort into future teams and what they can look like. This season has dictated some future glaring needs for the New York Yankees: some more stable starting pitching, and - most importantly - a stable, consistent, actually able to play defense infield. The Yankees always have money to burn, but let's take a look at who's coming off the books, and who can be fitting replacements.

Coming off the Books: These players are free agents after 2014:

  • Alfonso Soriano, $19,000,000 (Not all paid by NYY)
  • Hiroki Kuroda, $16,000,000
  • Derek Jeter, $12,000,000
  • Ichiro Suzuki, $6,500,000
  • David Robertson, $5,215,000
  • Kelly Johnson, $3,000,000
  • Brian Roberts, $2,000,000
A total of about $64,000,000 coming off the books. There are some glaring holes, and with some wishful thinking in regards to the current roster (staying healthy and/or productive), the Yankees should be able to fill some current positions relatively easily.

  1. C, Brian McCann
  2. 1B, Mark Teixeira
  3. 2B, Yangervis Solarte
  4. SS, JJ Hardy
  5. 3B, Chase Headley
McCann is going nowhere, neither is Teixeira. Recall the wishful thinking part you just read? Mainly in regards to Solarte continuing to hit. With a weak 2B free agent class and only one decent prospect pushing him (Rob Refsnyder, currently red hot at AA Trenton and destined for AAA Scranton soon), Solarte can hold on to the 2B gig. I really see the Yankees pushing for Hardy and Headley. Hardy and Headley are rock-solid defenders and when at the top of their game offensively, power and batting average threats. Unfortunately, they'll cost about half of the money coming up free. I can see 3/$45 for Hardy and 5/$80 for Headley. SS and 3B do have some intriguing FA's (Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jed Lowrie, Pablo Sandoval, Yunel Escobar all possibilities) but Hanley is a likely Dodgers re-signing, Sandoval's weight is an issue, Escobar is an off the field concern, Cabrera has declined big time and Lowrie is an injury risk. 

  1. LF, Brett Gardner
  2. CF, Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. RF, Zoilo Almonte/Ramon Flores
  4. DH, Carlos Beltran
Gardner and Ellsbury aren't going anywhere for the next few seasons. The free agent OF class is more or less okay: Nori Aoki, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, Mike Morse, Colby Rasmus and Nate Schierholtz as top options. Do the Yankees want to lock up 4 OF in big contracts? Tough to say with a multitude of OF prospects coming through the system. Save some money and let Zoilo Almonte and AAA prospect Ramon Flores battle it out with the loser as the 4th OF.

  1. C, John Ryan Murphy
  2. INF, Brendan Ryan
  3. INF, Dean Anna
  4. OF, Ramon Flores/Zoilo Almonte
Self-explanatory bench. Ryan is under contract. Anna gets a full time bench gig. Murphy slowly works into a regular role as do Flores or Almonte.

Starting Pitching
  1. Masahiro Tanaka
  2. CC Sabathia
  3. Justin Masterson
  4. Michael Pineda
  5. Ivan Nova
Tanaka is a boss. Sabathia's contract says he's going nowhere fast. How the rest of the rotation plays out depends on health and how much money the Yankees dump on starting pitching. The Yankees would have enough for 2 SP's if they do not want to bring back Robertson as a closer. They'll have to add payroll. On the plus side, not many future free agents after 2015: they can shop for 2 seasons. On the downside, Pineda and Nova are no bets for 60 combined starts and 400 innings. They'll have some internal depth with David Phelps, Chase Whitley and Manny Banuelos (again, if all goes well). I prefer Justin Masterson over some other names for the fact that he's cheaper and has more years left than say, James Shields. Max Scherzer and Jon Lester will cost too much for a decent return. Shields and Peavy's arms will probably fall off like Sabathia's. Brandon McCarthy is a bad fit. Josh Beckett is hurt and inconsistent too much. That leaves Hisashi Iwakuma and Jason Hammel as my top two options. Iwakuma would be a nice fit with Tanaka and Masterson up top.

  1. Closer, David Robertson
  2. Set-Up, Shawn Kelley
  3. Set-Up, Dellin Betances
  4. Set-Up, Adam Warren
  5. Set-Up, Chase Whitley
  6. LHS, Matt Thornton
  7. Long Relief, David Phelps
I predict the Yankees re-sign Robertson. Even with Kelley and Betances able to step in and likely succeed as a closer, and a plethora of relief pitching at AAA Scranton, you stick with the proven commodity. The rest of the bullpen has been rock solid this year and returns next year.

The Yankees can bring in 4-5 free agents with the expiring contracts and get younger, more productive. With the farm system having a better season than last, the Yankees can set themselves up for the future with some solid off-season decisions during the 2014/15 Hot Stove.

Follow me on Twitter @JMFlorio

(Baseball Prospectus was used for a source for upcoming free agents).

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ode to Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter is one of the most well respected players in any sport, of all time. Not just for his greatness on the field, but how he carried himself off the field. This is not an article praising Jeter's greatness in any entity, this is more of a personal reflection on what Derek Jeter and the Yankees have meant to me during my almost 20 years on this earth. This is the opposite of what I have been taught about how to write as a "serious" journalist. I'm going to take off my future sportscaster hat and put on my fan hat for an hour or two. I haven't been able to do that much lately. I have trained myself to analyze every sports situation thoroughly that comes my way. Tonight, it's time to be a 19 year old sports fan and not a student who is scared to death that if everything he writes, tweets, or talks about involving sports isn't perfect that he will not succeed. I was born in 1994, two years after Jeter was drafted and one year before he made his debut. I was named after Yankee great Don Mattingly, so obviously my allegiances to this team goes before birth. Derek Jeter was "The Guy" of my childhood. He was my favorite player and a role model, someone I admired more than anyone. I wanted to be Derek Jeter on the diamond, but once an elbow injury and lack of determination ended my chances at that, I realized I still wanted to be involved in sports. Basically, why i'm writing this I guess. As I grew up there was two constants in my life, the New York Yankees, and Derek Jeter. I could be having the worst day ever and if there was a Yankee game on it made it seemed like nothing else mattered. I first heard the news of Jeter's retirement from my friend Joe Benzi. I got a text saying "NO DEREK DON'T GO" at that moment I knew. I quickly checked twitter and my worst fear had been realized, my favorite player and my role model was retiring after the 2014 season. Admittedly, if I weren't on the way to work, I probably would have started to ball my eyes out. Now I know some of you reading this might think I'm just overacting. "It's not like he died."
"He's just a baseball player."
Some of the responses coming out of your mouth right?. Well as I've illustrated Jeter is more than a baseball player to me. I've tried to be half the man he is. He carries himself the right way, he is confident not cocky, he is a hard worker and puts family first. He is reserved, but when he is needed he will produce. I hope that one day I will have "made it" and by then he will still be involved in the game because being able to interview someone like Derek Jeter is number two on my bucket list. Now I bet you're saying WHAT'S NUMBER ONE?!?!?! Easy, interviewing Don Mattingly. So as I sit here in my basement writing this, I just want to thank Derek Jeter for making my childhood that much better and best wishes in retirement. You have reached the pinnacle of the sports world five times and accomplished so much, inspired millions of kids including myself, and now will be able to have a well deserved summer vacation starting in 2015.

Thank You so much,

Don Matthew Finkle

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why the Yankees Need Stephen Drew....and He Needs Them

After a few months layoff, we're back! Hopefully you enjoyed your holidays with your family and friends. While the weather here in the northeast has been nothing short of miserable, the MLB Hot Stove is keeping us warm here at Florio Facts. Most recently, we have seen the Yankees complete another major deal, signing Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka to a 7 year contract. This comes after fortifying one third of the lineup, with the signings of catcher Brian McCann and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. As it stands today, the Yankees lineup looks something like this:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. DH Alfonso Soriano
  6. C Brian McCann
  7. 3B Kelly Johnson
  8. 2B Brian Roberts
  9. LF Brett Gardner
A remarkable improvement, just on paper, of a lineup which included only Soriano and Gardner at the end of last season and featured the likes of Chris Stewart, Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay and Brendan Ryan in everyday roles. While Johnson and Roberts are no slouches at the plate, the Yankees can still improve their infield with the acquisition of free agent INF Stephen Drew. Drew, younger brother of JD, played the 2013 season with World Series Champions Boston Red Sox. Drew remains, by far, the best infielder remaining on the market and arguably the best after Robinson Cano. The interest by both parties in each other is a hazy mystery, with some writers saying the Yankees are both interested in Drew and not interested. Signing Stephen Drew makes sense for the Yankees and for Drew. Here's why.

  1. Johnson should be a Super Sub: I like the Kelly Johnson signing for his versatility. Joe Maddon played him all over in Tampa Bay last season and Johnson averages about 20 home runs over a full season, which translates well to Yankee Stadium. Kelly Johnson's innings at third base, though, are limited. While he can likely be passable defensively, he's best suited playing around the diamond. At the plate, he's a left handed Mark Reynolds who'll K often, but for a one year deal, low-risk and decent reward. The Yankees would be much better off rotating he, Drew, Roberts, Ryan and Jeter around 2B/SS/3B.
  2. Roberts is no picture of health: Brian Roberts has had a rough go of it since 2010 (almost like Drew himself). Between his bodily injuries and struggling to shake off post-concussion symptoms, he went from one of the elite 2B's in the league to essentially an Orioles cheerleader from the bench. He was able to play 2B everyday August and September last year and put together a .254/6 HR/31 RBI line in 60 games post-AS break. While finally having a normal offseason for the first time in 4 years will help, expecting even 130 games out of Roberts is a long stretch. 
  3. No other options: Brendan Ryan is a bench/late inning/UTIL guy at the most. Eduardo Nunez isn't the answer either. Dean Anna is intriguing, but if he couldn't break through for the offensively starved Padres, he's no guarantee to do it in New York. And no, Corban Joseph and Ronnie Mustelier aren't answers either.
  1. No Internal Threats: See bullet point three, above. All the Yankees top INF prospects are at Rookie Level or A Level. You're not going to see Eric Jagielo in the Bronx anytime soon. Drew will play everyday at either 2B or 3B and likely get a large number of games at SS too to keep Cap'n Jeter healthy.
  2. A Job for Next Year: (This could be #4 above as well) Mark Teixiera is the only guarantee for the 2015 infield. Jeter, Roberts and Johnson have contracts up for next year. Drew would return to his natural SS position with the Yankees trying to push Jeter to DH if he wants to play beyond this year.
  3. Who else is going to sign him? Look around the league. Who will legitimately spend $10-$15 million a year on Stephen Drew to play SS? Boston is a fit, but Bogaerts and Middlebrooks are cheaper, healthier and likely to put up bigger numbers. Houston isn't going to spend that money on offense. Neither is Minnesota. Arizona has too many young SS' as it is. I doubt Cincinnati is going to spend $ with Zack Cozart around. Miami sure isn't spending $ on him. Neither is Pittsburgh or they would have signed him. That leaves the Mets. If the Mets haven't done it by now, they're not going to. 
  4. Drew's 2013 is a mixed bag: He hit righties well, but only hit .196 (.196!!) against lefties. He hits at home, but only .222 on the road. He hits well in Fenway and Camden Yards, but struggled at Yankee Stadium, in Toronto and Tampa. BUT: He hit much better after the All-Star Break, hitting .277 with an OPS .115 higher than the first half. Plus, Drew would likely hit 7th in a standard Yankees line-up; his best stats from 2013? When he hits 7th. 
Drew has a mixed bag from 2013; Sure he stayed healthy, but at the cost of not hitting until the playoff run (a good time to turn it on, I guess) and not hitting lefties. If he doesn't mind playing different positions, the Yankees are the best fit for not only this year, but moving forward. The Yankees need to make two more moves: a veteran RHP reliever and another INF. Stephen Drew qualifies and should be wearing the pinstripes come Spring Training next month.

All stats from Baseball Reference.

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