Mark Teixeira is still rehabbing down in Tampa the sheath in his wrist which protects his tendon that he tore while getting ready for the World Baseball Classic back in March. The rehab is going slow, as it should for an injury with a high likelihood of a setback, but he says it’s going great and expects to be back with the Yankees by June 1st.
That puts Lyle Overbay in an interesting situation because he has been a big cog on this team, but won’t have a position when Teixeira returns. So what exactly will happen with Overbay when Teixeira returns?
He could ride the bench as the Yankees would still need a backup first baseman even with Teixeira back. This is Teixeira, who has gotten hurt just about every year in Pinstripes, after all so insurance wouldn’t be bad either.
The problem is that once Teixeira is back they can only keep him around until Kevin Youkilis comes off the DL too. At that point they would have Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, Overbay, and Travis Hafner and there simply wouldn’t be room for all those players.
If Teixeira and Youkilis are playing first and third the Yankees could potentially use both Overbay and Hafner as the DH, but the problem with that is that both Overbay and Hafner hit righties better than lefties so having both doesn’t make a lot of sense.
So it does become a question of Hafner or Overbay at some point which isn’t an easy question to answer. For one thing Hafner put up video game numbers in April. If he’s healthy this team needs those numbers. Overbay has hit well, though not quite as well as Hafner, and can play the field and play it well. It’s a tough decision, but one that will probably have to be made because it seems hard for them to co-exist.
If they can’t keep Overbay that means he’s got to go which is a funny thing. The Yankees literally got Overbay for nothing three days before the season started. At the time it was thought that they would use him and eventually release him and the idea that they could get anything for him was silly a month and a half ago. He’s posted an .801 OPS since then so he does have some value. Somebody will want him although it’s hard to see anyone spending a ton for him.
Certainly they won’t be able to get a big time prospect. Instead the best they can probably expect a middle reliever or bench piece at best. A shortstop or bench player that can mash lefties would be ideal. It’s going to be difficult to find a good piece, that a team is willing to part with, and one that isn’t going to be directly competing with the Yankees for a playoff spot.
So this may come down to a decision between Overbay and Hafner. The decent bat/glove combo or the potential for video game numbers and no glove. The Yankees must also ask themselves if Overbay even keep up a .800 OPS all season? They need to be sure that Hafner can stay healthy too. This may even come down to who is more tradable — Hafner or Overbay.
Hopefully the Yankees figure out the right move — one where they still get production from the player they keep while also bringing in a useable piece for the player they decide to cut loose. Either way Teixeira coming back could end up having a big impact against lefties by adding his own bat and making somebody else tradable.
• The Yankees are seen as the “most likely landing spot” for Dominican outfielder Leonardo Molina, who is expected to be one of the best players available. Typically IFA’s can be signed on July 2nd, but Molina doesn’t turn 16 until August 1st so he can’t sign until then. He’s expected to get seven figures and the Yankees have just $1.88 million to spend.
• The Marlins agreed to release reliever David Aardsma since they didn’t put him on the major league roster by May 15. He’s going to try to find a major league job after he had a 2.57 ERA, a 7.7 K/9, and a 5.1 BB/9 in 14 innings at Triple-A this season.
• It’s official, there will be hockey at Yankee Stadium next year. Two games actually. The Rangers will play in both one on Jan. 26 against the Devils and a second on Jan. 29 against the Islanders. Neither are technically the Winter Classic.
• Buy Yankees tickets.
Photo credit: (April 12, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America).