An outfield made of glass?

Yankee spring training has gotten off to a rough start. By now everyone knows that Curtis Granderson will be out until early May with a fractured forearm. That’s a huge loss for the Yankees. Granderson’s 2012 may have paled in comparison to his 2011, but he’s still a critical bat in the Yankee lineup. His absence will be felt immediately.

The most glaring weakness that comes from Curtis’ injury is the loss of power. Granderson’s OBP may be inconsistent, but he’s managed 40+ homers each of the past few seasons. That’s production I’d rather have on the team than on the bench. The Yankees don’t have any substitute on a lineup that was already missing a lot of pop due to injury or players leaving.

But this also means that the Yankees are that much more dependent upon Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki to stay healthy. That’s no small order. Gardner has been injury prone his entire career. Suzuki is 39 years old. The odds that either of them goes down with an injury, leaving the Yankees with not one but two injured starters in the outfield, is not insignificant.

All of this demonstrates just how little room to maneuver the team has under the new austerity budget. As recently as 2012 the Yankees could turn to Raul Ibanez to step in for Curtis and give the team some power while playing the outfield (badly). This year there is no clear internal replacement. Instead, the Yankees will have to hope Curtis suffers no setbacks in his recovery and that Gardner and Ichiro remain healthy. It’s becoming increasingly clear that 2013 will be one of the more interesting, and potentially frustrating, Yankee seasons in recent memory.

One thought on “An outfield made of glass?

  1. Mike I’m not saying they are the mid-thirties versions of 1998 Shane Spencer and Ricky Ledee, but I think Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz have done enough in MLB to combine for at least a decent April-early May.

    What are we talking about here?

    ‘Say Granderson misses the first two months of the season (55 games.) If Rivera and Diaz could somehow, someway combine for .240/.320/.450/.770 with 7 HR and 27 RBI through May, that’s a 21 HR, 81 RBI pace and a slashline Granderson might post up himself only with much higher SLG as he’d most likely hit 3-7 more HR.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think Rivera could post 4 HR and 14 RBI, Diaz 3 HR and 13 RBI in the first 55 games sharing LF or RF to post a combined 7 HR and 27 RBI. If Rivera has a 2 HR 5 RBI game, he’d be only 2 HR and 9 RBI away from holding up his end. If Diaz has a 2 HR 5 RBI game (again, why not?), he’d be only a homerun and 8 RBI away from holding up his end.

    Maybe, hopefully, Granderson doesn’t miss all of May as well as all of April. If Granderson returns on May 16, smackdab in the middle of May, he would miss the first 41 games. I would be thrilled with Rivera and Diaz if they combined for 5 HR and 20 RBI in the first 41 games because that’s a 20 HR 80 RBI pace. Who’s to say if Granderson was healthy, he wouldn’t post 5 HR and 20 RBI through the first 41 games himself? Players can get off to slow starts – see Teixiera most years.

    A 30-24 first third of the season record (90-win pace) is a reasonable minimum goal. If the Yanks won six in a row in this time, they’d need to play only .500 ball in the other 48 games. Why the hell not? Win the rubber game of the Tigers series at Comerica then sweep the bad Indians and win the first game against the Os 4/7-12. Sweep the awful Astros 4/29-5/1 then the anemic-hitting As 5/3-5. Sweep the still bad Royals 5/10-12 then the awful Mariners 5/14-16, I don’t give a !@#$ if the Royals got Shields and the Yanks might draw King Felix, neither are unbeatable (both could dominate the Yanks and their teams could still lose 1-0/2-0/2-1.) That’s three six-game stretches where one of them could EASILY be a Yankees six-game winning streak before June.