Jobu ponders the hot corner debate.
This week we found out that no one really wants to play on the Yankees and, even if they do, the Yankees don’t want anyone to play on their team… I think that’s what’s going on anyway. Despite basically every other team improving, the Yankees have stood by and done basically nothing. They have also watched as basically every player they were “in on” has signed somewhere else. We couldn’t even land Nate Schierholtz? Really? Anyway, we covered this a bit a couple of weeks ago, but nothing has changed. The big question is this: who the hell is gonna play third base?
Let’s first discuss why the Yankees don’t have a third baseman for most of 2013 right now. Alex Rodríguez revealed this week that he is suffering from a tear of his other old man hip (not the old man hip he tore before). A-Rod confessed to being in so much pain that he was taking horse pills to feel better (my words, not his), and had to go to the emergency room during the playoffs. Boo hoo. This actually raises a couple of questions: why was he allowed to play at all if everyone knew he had a torn hip, especially after he showed that he was basically useless at the plate? Something is going on here, and I doubt we’ll ever find out what it really is… well until the next time A-Rod gets lonely for some media attention.
Anyway, with A-Rod done for at least 4-6 months, the Yankees now have a gaping hole at the hot corner to go along with the gaping hole behind the plate and the one in right field. Rumors were running around that former Tampa Bay Ray Jeff Keppinger was their main target, but they let him sign with the White Sox on Wednesday before even making him an offer (allegedly… another rumor says they offered him more than Chicago).
Now, the rumors have been flying all week that the Yankees were in deep talks with the agents for both Mark Reynolds and former Red Sox Kevin Youkilis. Of course there are other teams in on these guys, and some of those teams will actually make offers, so I’m not sure how good it looks for the Yankees to land either guy. Either way though, I figured I would weigh in on the two lugs.
We all know Mark Reynolds, whom my idiot friends and I call Kevin MarkReynolds (Mets fans might get this reference), from his time on the Baltimore Orioles the last couple of seasons. He also spent four seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks as well. The 29 year old corner infielder is really known for coming to the ballpark every day to do two things: Strike out and hit home runs. Unfortunately, sometimes he runs out of home runs. Last year was actually the first time Reynolds didn’t strike out over 190 times, or even lead the league in Ks, since 2007. In fact, he holds three out of the top five single season strike out totals in major league history (four in the top ten too).
Why the hell do the Yankees want this guy? Well, that’s because during those magic moments when he manages to make contact with the baseball, he hits the shit out of it. Over his six year career, he has hit 181 home runs. He has thrice topped 30 homers, including the 44 jimmy jacks he hit in 2009. The boy can hit the ball a country mile, and is well known for his streaky home run ability. As they say, his homers come in bunches. Unfortunately, he hasn’t hit higher than .221 since that monster 2009 season. He does take a lot of pitches, and manages to get on base quite a bit for a guy who can barely get over .200. He’s the Rob Deer of his era.
If you’re familiar with Reynolds, you’re most undoubtedly aware of the other rumored Yankees target. Kevin Youkilis spent the better part of nine seasons with the hated Boston Red Sox. He debuted in 2004 and quickly became a fan favorite because of his gritty play, clutch hitting and ugly goatee. Ok one of those I made up, but it’s only because I hate him so much.
Halfway through the 2012 season, that era came to an end. The Sox had themselves a shiny new third baseman in stud prospect Will Middlebrooks, and Youkilis was sent packing to the Chicago White Sox. The 33 year old had hit .233 in his 42 games with the Red Sox, and he hit .236 in 69 more with the White Sox, so it seems that lack of motivation wasn’t what has steadily brought his production down over the last few years. There’s also the growing list of mounting injuries he seems to suffer every season. If the Yankees are worried about A-Rod’s longevity at the hot corner, maybe Youkilis isn’t the guy they want to invest in, even if it’s a one year stop gap. Youkilis hasn’t played more than 136 games since 2008, and has barely even managed to top 120 games since 2009. The point it, you know he’s going to miss some time with injuries.
That being said, there’s something hilarious about the thought of Youkilis suiting up in pinstripes every day. You know he’s going to destroy the Red Sox in the 18 or 19 games the Yankees play them, which would make the whole deal worth it in my eyes… as long as they have a backup plan for when the backup plan to A-Rod gets hurt too.
The options at third for the Yankees aren’t exactly enticing at this point. They don’t have any real major league ready third basemen in their farm system, unless they decide to let Eduardo Núñez have the job (his defense terrifies me). They’re looking at either bringing back a guy like Jayson Nix (Eric Chavez signed with Arizona on Wednesday), or bringing in a shortstop like Stephen Drew to play out of position. When you look at the options, a one year stop gap of Youkilis or Reynolds isn’t the worst thing in the world…. as long as it’s one year.
Of course, as Jerry Ballgame pointed out to all of us yesterday, they could always ask Jeter to play third and sign someone to play short… I doubt the Captain would do it, nor do I think he’s an ideal third base bat, but crazier things have happened, right?
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