Jobu takes a look at the remaining tough decisions the Yankees have to make about their bench players.
So far on the Tough Decisions series, we’ve covered Robinson Canó, Hiroki Kuroda and Curtis Granderson. While those guys are big-ticket free agents, smaller scale free agent departures and arrivals can affect a team almost as much, so let’s group some of the bench guys into one post and see what I think the Yankees should do. You know you’re dying to know what Jobu thinks!
I put Brendan Ryan first because I think he’s probably the most important bench guy the Yankees need to bring back. There, I said it. I don’t know why I have this irrational love for Ryan, but I desperately want him back on this team in 2014. I think it’s because I saw him make several up the middle plays in the same game after he came over from the Mariners. This is something that, as Yankees fans, we haven’t seen in maybe 10 years.
Now, don’t you dare get me wrong, I love Derek Jeter. He is the Yankee that I will probably most identify with as a fan for the rest of my life (Don Mattingly is probably still my favorite though), but his defense leaves a lot to be desired. Also, Jeter is coming off of a completely lost season in which leg troubles limited him to 17 games and sent him to the DL three separate times. That’s a scary proposition. While, at his best, Ryan probably can’t do with the bat what Jeter can do at his worst, I think his glove up the middle will solidify this Yankees team. I’m not saying Ryan should start over Jeter, but one thing is certain for the 2014 season: Jeter is not going to play more than 100 games at short. Even if his body holds up, I guarantee Jeter will be DHing against lefties at least once a week. That’s Girardi’s M.O. as far as keeping veterans healthy, and Jeter’s going to be the only 40-year old SS in baseball. Please come back, Brendan. I don’t want Eduardo Núñez to have that kind of defensive responsibility.
“Kevin MarkReynolds,” as my idiot friends and I laughingly call Mark (you Mets fans should get that joke), is the next guy we’re going to discuss here, because I think he’s the next most important. This really all depends on what happens to Alex Rodriguez in his appeal hearings and his law suits around the world tour (seriously, I think he’s gonna sue Jobu’s Rum next). The Yankees may or may not need another third baseman for the 2014 season, and I think Reynolds might be a good stop gap solution.
Reynolds is another guy I have somewhat of an irrational love for. He’s not particularly good at defense, can barely hit .220 and strikes out 200 times a year, but boy can he hit the ball far. He’s like a modern day Rob Deer, which is kind of great when it’s not making you rip your hair out. Even if ARod doesn’t get suspended for the whole season, He’s going to be gone for 50 games at the very least. He’s also a major health risk, coming off of two major hip surgeries, which means he’s going to have to spend some time at DH too. The Yankees need someone they can plug into the lineup to drive in runs and hit the ball far, and Reynolds first the mold. Also, Reynolds can play first base too (and we even saw him play 2B this past year), which is good insurance in case Mark Teixeira‘s wrist doesn’t make a full comeback. The only issue is whether or not Reynolds feels his career has come to the point where he needs to start taking smaller contracts to be more of a role player rather than an every day guy. I think he has, but I can’t blame him if he decides to go to a team that promises more playing time.
Unlike Reynolds and Ryan (sounds like a slapstick comedy detective team), I actually don’t think Overbay should come back in 2014. It’s not that I don’t appreciate all that Overbay did in 2013; he was great. He should never have been on the team, only getting to the team for three days during Spring Training and making the roster because of Teixeira’s injury, but he was pressed into starting duty for most of the season, and he held up his end of the bargain. He also seems like a good clubhouse guy and plays very solid defense. Unfortunately, I think that, barring injury, the roster crunch will end up getting Overbay. If Teixeira remains healthy, and the Yankees bring back Reynolds, I’m not sure they will need a guy like Overbay in 2014. Maybe, if ARod is gone for the year, and they use Reynolds as the every day third-baseman, they could find a role for Lyle as a backup first baseman and lefty pinch hitter, but it’s hard to say. If it makes sense, roster-wise, I would bring him back though.
This one is, by far, the toughest of these decisions. When they Yankees first got Logan, he was almost a throw-in from the Braves in the Javier Vazquez deal. Four years later, he really blossomed into a big part of the Yankees bullpen. He’s used mostly against lefties, but he’s not really typically effective against lefties more than righties. He’s just been a solid reliever for us. That being said, you don’t sign relievers to long-term deals, especially LOOGYs (even if they aren’t typical LOOGYs). Logan is going to turn 30 years old next summer, and he already had some arm troubles toward the end of this season. I think that, unless they can keep bringing him back on one year deals on the cheap, they should start looking to a guy like Cesar Cabral, who was pretty effective in a small sample last season. Or maybe they can bring back a guy like Clay Rapada, or give former minor league starter Francisco Rondon. You can always find a LOOGY.
The following guys should probably never have been on the team, and then were crappy anyway… or got hurt and were never seen from again. I don’t want these guys back at any cost, even if they’re free.
Youkilis was signed out of desperation after ARod had his second hip surgery and Reynolds signed with Cleveland (ironic, no?). Youk played for like 30 seconds and then his old man back acted up and we never saw him again. Also, having him on the team felt gross anyway, so send him seaworthy.
Hafner helped carry the team through April, slumped horribly after that, and then his ghastly injury history reared its ugly head again and he didn’t come back until September. They really should move on from “Pronk.”
I couldn’t even give these guys their own sections. If I could literally throw them in a dumpster, I would. If either one of these guys is back on the roster in 2014, I might riot. Hughes will get a deal with someone, but I’m starting to think Joba might have to settle for a minor league deal somewhere. He’s the pits.
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