Yankees lineup could be downright offensive

I’m going to be honest: until Brian Cashman raised the possibility that the Yankees may be prepared to head to Spring Training with the roster as it stands now, I hadn’t really appreciated how precarious their offensive situation is. I mean, I knew they’d lost a lot of production, of course, but I don’t think it had ever really hit me how much of a liability the offense could be in the (none too far-fetched) worse case scenario. I won’t go so far as to call them “bad,” if only because that’s just setting myself up to fall on my face when Ichiro Suzuki hits 20 home runs, Robinson Cano wins the triple crown, and the team scores 900 runs. But for a team whose front office has taken to reassuring fans that they still spend $200 million on the roster, there’s barely a position at which the Yankees don’t have serious questions and/or limitations with their projected starter.

Consider this lineup:

C- Chris Stewart (career wRC+ of 59!)
1B- Mark Teixeira (116 wRC+ in 2012, the fourth straight year in which that number declined)
2B- Robinson Cano (Arguably the only non-problem, though his sudden problem hitting lefties is worrisome)
SS- Derek Jeter (Had his second best offensive season since 2007 last year, also had ankle surgery)
3B- Kevin Youkilis (102 wRC+ in 2012 was the worst of his career, only 89 against RHP)
LF- Brett Gardner (career ISO of .103. Not saying he’s not a nice player, but if he’s your savior, well…)
CF- Curtis Granderson (2012 marked career worsts in batting average, on base percentage, and strikeout rate).
RF- Ichiro: (Even with that strong performance with the Yankees, his season total wRC+ was a whopping 90)
DH- ??? (You get free offense out of this position, so to speak, and the Yankees don’t even have it filled yet).

So that’s…disconcerting, if you’re a Yankee fan. I’m not saying there isn’t reason for optimism here or anything, and the best case scenario for this lineup is pretty darn good. But right now, just eyeballing it, I think the concerns outweigh the hopes, and the lowest low seems more likely to happen than the highest high. It also makes you appreciate the effect Nick Swisher and Russell Martin had on the lineup just a little bit more. I know we’re all tired of beating that horse, but it probably won’t stop being a storyline unless and until the Yankees prove they won’t miss their production too much.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

9 thoughts on “Yankees lineup could be downright offensive

  1. 2-3 years to reboot….no surprise there. …this a line-up destined to send multiple parts to the d.l.

    • ^ I agree… 2-3 years to clear out old guys, bring up the prospects and land key free agents.

  2. The Steinbrothers are copying the Del Webb/Dan Topping program of the late 50's/early 60's, i.e., deeply cutting expenses in anticipation of a sale.

    The reason for the collapse post-1964 was that by low-balling signing bonuses, they dried up the talent pipeline. The method for that in 2013 is allowing free agents to walk, and not bringing in a ML-level replacement through Free Agency or the System.

    You may want a fall-back plan for your summer.

    • I don't think this is true. For one thing, I don't think they would have sold off YES and committed the team to another 30 years of television rights if they were trying to sell (unless they're going to sell to Newscorp, but that seems unlikely). For another, given the Yankees' brand, I don't think the usual logic of cutting down on commitments really makes much sense. Seems to me that the sort of person likely to buy the Yankees is the sort of person who's going to want to own it as a vanity/competitive project, and isn't necessarily looking for a stripped down roster they have to go about rebuilding.

      • My point was that they were increasing their bottom line by slashing expenses. The Webb/Topping way was far more egregious, since the were destroying the seed corn. Their current apathy to the International market is the closest analogy to the 50s.

  3. How long before Derek Jeter becomes at least partial owner/partner of the Yankees?

  4. The one huge plus about this lineup is all that they bring to offer, Gardner and Ichiro offer a lot of speed, Cano, Tex, and Granderson can hit 100-110 home runs between them three alone, Youk brings some right handed power, Jeter can do all the little things. The problems really lie at catcher and DH. But if Nunez DH's regularly , than you may be looking at a breakout season from him. And this doesn't even factor that a healthy, albeit extremely old A-Rod, may be able to bring something to the table when he returns in late July.

  5. All good points. Bottom line is with the lack of effort to fill the obvious holes in with this roster this team can not match last years record. I am not excited to see this current lineup take the field at all.