Clearly the Yankees are in a bit if a malaise right now. They keep finding new ways to lose, despite generally playing well enough to be right in the game. It would seem that the Yankees could use a shakeup – not unlike when in 2005 Cashman stepped in and called up Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano. That was a pretty major shakeup, but of course the Yankees were well below .500 at the time.
They likely don’t need to be all that drastic now – after all, in some ways these close losses are really bad timing as much as anything – but perhaps a small change could change the atmosphere.
The thing is though, there is not much that Girardi or Cashman can really do. In the minors, the player most ready for a call-up is Jesus Montero, but where would he play? He needs to be in the lineup everyday and get some opportunities to catch. It’s one thing to take away Francisco Cervelli‘s playing time, but are the Yankees really ready to part ways with Jorge Posada, even after this past weekend’s drama? Seems doubtful.
Eduardo Nunez has made some pretty terrible plays in the field, but he has pretty good bat speed and has gotten a few big hits. Plus, the mistakes he has made are more mental than physical. It’s hard to get any reliable defensive numbers on a guy with such little playing time, but he seems like his range and arm are both average – at least that would be my evaluation from watching him. So with some repetitions, could he possibly become a more consistent fielder? Maybe, but are the Yankees willing to bench Derek Jeter and find out? Impossible.
So what about shaking up the lineup? Well, Girardi already tried that and Posada almost quit. Both Jeter and Posada should be somewhere in the bottom 3 of the order, but is it worth the drama of making such a move? Swisher could also bat down there, but he’s already batting pretty low.
This is what happens when you lock up a lot of veterans to big money deals when they’re past their prime. It would be nice if Girardi could play around with things some and try to find something that works, but unfortunately there is only so much he can do. In the offseason, everyone wanted the Yankees to do more, but really they should have done less. Cashman always preaches flexibility and the signings of Jeter, and to a lesser extent Rafael Soriano, have compromised that. What if they really had given Jeter a blank check, like many Yankee fans were clamoring for? As is, the Yankees are staring at 3 more years of Jeter at least – not to mention 6 more years of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
For a team like the Yankees, big money deals are inevitable – and not necessarily wrong. They just need to find the balance. As is, they will have to hope that the players right the ship. I think they will, but it would be nice if there was enough flexibility for the team to change things at least a little.