Teixeira and Youkilis Desperately Needed

Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis began their rehab assigment in Double A Trenton this morning and it could not come at a better time for the Yankees. When the Yankees were playing great baseball behind great pitching and newcomers like Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, and Lyle Overbay getting the job done, many Yankees fans were saying how they did not want veterans like Mark Texiera, Kevin Youkilis, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez to come back.  That was an insane notion then and it is proving true right now.

The Yankees are now 6-7 in their last 13 games and have scored four or fewer runs in nine of those 13 games, including less than two runs in five of those games. The Yankees have averaged a pitiful 3.7 runs per game in May. You can only ask your starters to pitch great under those circumstances for so long and expect your bullpen to hold every one run lead you give them. Obviously, over the last two games David Robertson and Mariano Rivera each blew a game, but those losses were on the offense for only scoring a combined two runs in those games.

The middle of the order for the Yankees struggling has been the main reason for their terrible offensive output in May. Robinson Cano is only hitting .247/.311/.464/.775 in May and the Yankees need him to carry them like he did in April. Cano is hitting .328/.403/.672/1.075 with 11 home runs in Yankee wins and .235/.261/.341/.603 with two home runs in Yankee losses. That tells you all you need to know. Cano has not gotten much support in May either, as Vernon Wells (.229/.260/.375/.635 in May) and Travis Hafner (.190/.309/.328/.636 in May) have cooled off considerably. When you combine those players not playing well with the black holes the Yankees have at catcher, shortstop and right field, you are not going to score many runs.

It  is obvious that Teixeira and Youkilis are needed. However, as Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues points out, they are coming back at postions where the Yankees have gotten good production. Lyle Overbay and David Adams have held up very well at first and third base. Texiera and Youkilis will be upgrades over them, but their real issues are at shortstop, catcher, and the outfield.

However, they will not be getting reinforcements at those positions anytime soon. Curtis Granderson will be inactive for at least four weeks and will probably take about two more weeks to rehab. Derek Jeter is nowhere near returning and Francisco Cervelli just got the pins out of his hand and has not started to rehab yet. The Yankees made their own bed at these positions in the offseason, as they willing let Russell Martin and Nick Swisher go and did not adequately replace them. Also, they did nothing to upgrade at utility infielder when they knew Jeter was an injury question mark.

The Yankees have a tough roster conundrum with Teixeira and Youkilis coming back. The Yankees are short on outfielders and it will be hard to carry Overbay and Hafner, since between them both they can only play one position. Ivan Nova will probably be the pitcher out of the bullpen sent to Triple A, but who goes with him is the question. The options are to send Brennan Boesch or Adams to Triple A or DFA Overbay. Sending Adams down would be the easy call, since you can always bring him back up, but he would be the best option as a DH against righties at the moment. Boesch is easily the worst player out of the three, but if you send him down than Jayson Nix is your fourth outfielder. You can probably get by like that for a little while, but long term having Nix as your fourth outfielder will not work. That is why Overbay may not be on this team for much longer.

This is not meant to discredit Overbay at all, as he has filled in better than anybody could have hoped for, but people need to pump the brakes on him a little bit. He is only hitting .251/.295/.468/.763, which is not great for a first baseman. Teixeira at his worst does much better than that. Overbay has been a great clutch player for the Yankees this season, but you cannot rely on that to continue. Good “clutch” hitting is more statistical randomness than anything sustainable because it is not really a skill.

For people who say Teixeira isn’t clutch he hit .390/.466/.932/1.398 in late and close games last year, .289/.360./.578/938 in high leverage situations and .285/.370/.646/1.016 in innings 7-9, so that is just a narrative and a fallacy that he doesn’t get any big hits. Unfortunately, if Teixeira starts out slow he will hear about it, but that is just silliness, as Overbay is nowhere near the player Teixeira is and there is a reason he was released by Boston three days before the end of spring training. Once Teixeira proves he is healthy there is not really room for Overbay on the team anymore. Obviously, that is not fair to him, but unfortunately it’s the business and the reality of the situation.  Overbay would be a great option to pinch hit late in games for the catcher, shortstop or Ichiro, but again can you really afford to have Nix as your fourth outfielder for six weeks?

I am really excited to get Teixeira and Youkilis back. It has been frustrating watching bad hitters take bad at bats lately. Unfortunately, like I said before you will still have three terrible hitters batting seventh, eighth and ninth but at least the middle of the order will be more intimidating.  People telling themselves that the Yankees are better off without the veterans hopefullt have seen over the last few weeks why they are dead wrong. What do you guys think should happen when Teixeira and Youkilis come back? What would your roster moves be?

About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on May 29, 2013, in No Category and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. put Adams at shortstop, or can he play outfield? Youk can play 1b, 3b and DH, Tex can play 1b and DH, Adams can play 2b, 3b, maybe SS and can DH. the way teams injury’s are going you need to keep those that can play more that one position, if you let Overbay go, Adams is better player and hitter than any of the utility players. come back Derek!!!!!, Andy, And ALEX. Hafnermay be pressing because he knows Tex and Youk are coming back.

    • Tony, you make a good point about the versatility. Having versatile players is very important not only because the team has a lot of injuries but they also carry a ridiculous 13 pitchers and a DH who can’t play a position. that leaves just 3 bench players, 1 of whom is a Catcher. Adams can hit and he seems like a good enough athlete to handle a corner OF spot or maybe even SS in a pinch. i would be working him out in the OF right now. He has already shown his adaptability & versatility by switching to 3B and doing it well enough to play MLB-quality 3B after just 60 minor lg games there. i think he could be at least adequate in the small RF at Yankee Stadium.

  2. The Yanks have been downright anemic vs LHP and getting Tex and Youkilis back help them immensley there as they are 2 of the top hitters vs LHP in the A.L.

    Overbay has been tremendous vs RHP hitting .292 with an .886 OPS and that is where Tex has struggled the last few years. Over the last 2 seasons, Tex has hit .231 with a .775 OPS against righties so at least initially, Overbay may still see some time alternating with Tex. But in the long run, it’s teixeira’s job when he is 100%.

    I really like what Adams brings to the team and he can continue to play vs LHP so I’d look to keep him on the roster. The team has dead wood it can cut…..Boesch and at least 1 pitcher. Do we really need a 13-man pitching staff? Nova should go to AAA where he can work on things. Would be great to see if Adams and/or Overbay could play RF because Ichiro is horrendous. Among all qualifying OFs in the Majors, he ranks 61st out of 66 with a .621 OPS and against RHP he’s been even worse with a .189 BA and .538 OPS! If they aren’t going to give Adams or Overbay some time in RF, how much longer can they go before giving Boesch, Mustelier, Thomas Neal or Zoilo Almonte a shot in RF? Ichiro plys good defense and has actually hit well vs LHP (go figure) but a .538 OPS?

    • Did age catch up to Ichiro? He batted over 300 last year after coming to Yankees, I was hoping for the same this year. Waiting on the trade deadline and hoping the men upstairs will look at Fowler, Gonzales, Either, or Stanton, whom ever is available, but I still like Granderson and don’t know if Wells is going to work long term.

    • fishjam, money talks, nobody walks- Youk and Tex will get the majority of the playing time when they return. Hate to say it but Adams looks to be the odd man out, along with Nova. If we haven’t seen Musty, Neal, and Almonte already I don’t think we will see them soon. As the veterans come back less chance for those players to move up. No way is Overbay or Adams playingRF.

      • Nix just blew a double play ball, and cost us 3 more runs, need to give Adams a chance at SS till Jeter gets back, and he can hit, we’ve tried everyone else in the MLB at SS. Maybe he can fill in at RF? Can’t hurt we’ve tried everyone else in the MLB at RF. Boesch still a? Need to bring a young gun up and keep Adams.

        • Tony/Doug – Cashman spoke before last nights game and hinted that Adams would stay up so I’d expect him to be used at other positions. This team is starving for offense so they need to get creative and maybe sacrifice a bit of defense at times. Boesch had a big game and may start to see more playing time over Ichiro. Brignac and a pitcher seem likely to be sent down Friday.

          • yea, maybe Nova? Hope he regains his form and comes back and helps the team like he has in the last two years. Why haven’t they brought up the OF kids to see if they could make it? Stranger things have happened on every other team except yanks. If one did OK, they could always use them for trade bait for proven players, or keep them if the do outstanding, like a JETER did. the farm team had tradability the last 3-4 years and not one of them is worth it this year. Trade for young talent stop letting them go to other teams that are beating our a_ _ .

            • Tony – Nova looked good last night. His velocity was way up in the 95-96 range and he was getting late movement down in the zone. His curve was pretty crisp too….overall best he’s been in a long time. That said, they don’t need 2 long men and with Andy due back soon someone else would need to go down. Nuno would be the likely guy to lose his rotation spot to Andy with either Warren or Nova being sent down tomorrow.

              Buster Olney said he thinks the Yanks should be looking to deal Joba because of all their bullpen depth and the fact that Joba is a FA this yr. if they could somehow get a quality C, SS or RF lets do it but who’s going to give that up to rent an injury prone set-up guy for the rest of the season?

              By the way Tony, welcome to the site. Where you from?

              • fishjam, I agree, the Yanks could trade Joba, Nova, Warren, or Phelps for a quality SS or C. Maybe Joba goes to the Braves for McCann, both are free agents at the end of the year. I am thinking out of the box here, how about McCann and Pastronicky for Joba and Hughes or Warren.

                • I would not like to see Nova, Phelps or Warren traded they are the youth of tomorrow, we need to get younger, and they have the talent, especially Pitching in NY been hard for many, whom have gone down. Either is not getting along in LAD, so maybe. Andy needs to stay healthy and CC needs to find himself.

                  • Nova has the arm and ability, but his mental make-up in questionalble. The Yanks need a shortstop going forward and they may have to give up a good young pitcher to get one. They won’t get one in the draft that will be ready next year.

          • I don’t know about that I can’t really see them going without a backup middle infielder

            • I’m with you Matt but Cashman was hinting they may do it and use Cano and Adams as backup SS.

              I doubt they would do it but I would maybe just go with 11 pitchers. That still leaves 6 guys in the pen – Mo, DRob, Joba, Kelley, Logan and Warren or Claiborne. That would then allow a 5 man bench of Romine, Overbay, Adams, Brignac and Boesch. If Adams can play RF or SS in a pinch you could remove Brignac or Boesch but we will see how it plays. Adams definitely won’t be sent down Friday with Lester on the mound.

          • fishjam, that’s great news!

  3. Fishjam25, I came from NY when I was 3 and lived mostly in so. Fl. the last 60 years, Will always be a Yankee and Giants Fan, till I die.

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