I wanted to focus on our Designated Hitter situation, both currently and what it might be after Brett Gardner comes back, and figure out if it is really best to trot out Andruw Jones on a regular basis against lefties. I also wanted to focus on how our current DH production matches Jesus Montero’s production and whether the trade for Pineda was beneficial for us in that regard. Well, sometimes you don’t always get what you want. Michael Pineda will be out for a full year, but let’s just assume that Pineda wasn’t diagnosed with a labrum tear and he, in fact, is healthy. Well, if you use your imagination I guess sometimes you can get what you want.
Let’s face it; when Gardy comes back, the Yankees are better off with Nunez as the DH, especially if Nunez is eventually going to take over for Jeter. Some of my reasoning is subjective and some is statistics-based. I like to use both types of reasoning because it appeases both former players and statisticians.
Andruw Jones leaves his team out to dry, no matter who he’s playing for. His lackadaisical attitude and demeanor is really wearing thin on me. Watching him destroy a lot of Braves fans’ (including many of my own friends’) hearts over the years has left a bad impression on me. So when we first signed him, I was very skeptical. Can you blame me? He was a journey man after having some of the greatest years seen by a centerfielder. His fall from grace was swift and unforgiving. I’ve seen a couple of games now where that same “I could be doing something better” Andruw appears. It’s only a start. He got his money and it’s time to move on.
Now for a look at some the statistics for the players who have been the Yankee DH along with Jesus Montero’s stats for the Seattle Mariners:
The numbers speak for themselves. While it is a tiny sample, Jones is slowly getting on my nerves. One can say that Jones has a horrid BABIP, but in order for him to improve, he’ll have to put the ball in play. Nine strikeouts out of 30 times he’s stepped to the plate will not help his cause. It’s not farfetched to say that Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, or Eduardo Nunez could step in and do the same thing. I heavily favor placing Jones on the bench and leaving Brett Gardner in the field to face left-handed pitching. While people say the bats could suffer due to the splits, I don’t think Gardy, Chavez, Ibanez, or Nunez could do much worse than Andruw Jones currently is.
I’ve thought quite a bit about what this means for late game scenarios and it’s as simple as this: the Yankees still have a right-handed bat off the bench. And if you thought, “what about a defensive replacement?” shame on you for thinking of Nunez as a defensive replacement. What about pinch running? I think that could take a blow but at the end of the day we’re taking enough blows from Andruw Jones so it’s worth the risk. We still have two left-handed bats moving forward and that would be fine because each has defensive versatility.
As for the Jesus Montero comparison, I think it’s fair to say that the Yankees are ahead there. Again, this is assuming that Pineda is healthy. At a quick glance, Ibanez’s stats are nearly identical with Montero’s. The season has been short but the difference between what the players used as a DH can do and what Montero can do is the former’s ability to give the Yankees different dimensions.
Montero will never be a catcher at the Major League Level. If it hasn’t happened by now, I just don’t see how it ever will. The Mariners are better suited at giving him a glove and sticking him at first base. The Yankees never saw him as an everyday catcher, nor do the Mariners. They hope, but that’s just the optimism speaking. We currently have the ability to utilize the DH in ways that we wouldn’t have with Montero. We fill it with everyday players and occasionally Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and the ever popular Andruw Jones (I imagine the Yankees would not have Raul Ibanez if Jesus Montero was still on the roster). The Yankees currently rotate the DH, thus they are not stuck with a defensive position-less bat, which is an advantage. Of course this would remain an advantage unless Montero becomes Edgar Martinez overnight. Call me crazy, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
By no means is this a knock on Montero, I think it’s more of a statement of what options the Yankees have and what the team needs in a DH right now. The team is old and guys need rest. Speaking of rest, Andruw Jones needs to take a long rest on the bench because his defensive value is horrible and right now, he couldn’t hit a beach ball if he tried.
I think it’s time that we get to see more Eduardo Nunez…offensively of course.