Rivera & Overbay- Two Dull, Worn Out Sides Of The Same Replacement 1B Coin

Despite having a potentially better in-house option in front of them and despite facing an increasingly tricky 40-man roster situation, the Yankees continue to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks in an attempt to find Mark Teixeira‘s temporary replacement at first base.  The latest contestant is Lyle Overbay, 36-year-old lefty swinger who was released earlier this week and gobbled up just as quickly by the Bombers.  Juan Rivera had been getting the bulk of the work at first in the last couple weeks, but the signing of Overbay this late in camp suggests the Yankees weren’t as comfortable with that option as they appeared to be.  Overbay is a natural first baseman, unlike Rivera, and that surely influenced the now defensive-minded Yankees’ decision to bring him in.  Whether or not he’s actually a better option than Rivera?  Well, that’s debatable.

Offensively, the Yankees basically have the same player in both Rivera and Overbay.  Neither hits for much power anymore, at least not based on what Rivera has shown in camp.  This comes with the obligatory “Spring Training stats” grain of salt, but Rivera’s .305/.328/.390 ST slash line isn’t exactly what you would call ideal production from a first baseman.  He’s hitting, sure, and there is something to be said for that.  Those hits just haven’t led to much: 18 in 59 ABs with only 5 doubles and 5 RBI.

Overbay put up a similarly underwhelming line in Boston’s camp (.220/.327/.341 in 41 ABs), albeit in a slightly different way.  He’s always been good at drawing walks (11.3% career BB rate) and continues to display strong pitch recognition skills and patience even without any kind of power to speak of.  He also tends to strike out more than Rivera, but his on-base skills make him a bit more of an attractive offensive option when the lack of power is considered.  I’m using the term “attractive” a bit loosely in this comparison, as neither Rivera (projected .310 wOBA by ZiPS) nor Overbay (.305) are expected to be even average offensive players this season.

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Jeter related ramblings

Happy Friday, all. I hope your week hasn’t been too stressful. Anyway, let’s get down to business. We’re all aware of Derek Jeter‘s injury situation. Opening Day has long been Jeter’s goal, but that now appears in jeopardy. Yesterday, GM Brian Cashman announced that Jeter would no longer participate in Major League Spring Training games; however, he’ll continue to play in Minor League games. As we’ve all heard by now, this is essentially a clerical “just in case.” It allows Jeter to get game action, but also allows the Yankees to retroactively place Jeter on the 15-day Disabled List in case he isn’t ready to go for Opening Day. This all makes me think that they should just place Jeter on the DL now.

The Derek Jeter we’ve all come to know and love is the guy who “shows up to work every day” and just “does his job” (and does it exceedingly well most of the time). Like any successful worker, Jeter is goal-oriented, and in this case, Opening Day readiness is the goal and he’s been steadfast in his determination to reach that goal. That effort is certainly laudable, but is this “toughness” actually a good thing? Being in the lineup on Opening Day is certainly admirable, but if Jeter isn’t field-ready by then, can’t we argue that it hurts the team just as much as–if not more than–it would if he just sat out for the first few games and returned on April 6th? Granted, Eduardo Nunez isn’t going to be any great shakes at short for those few games, but how effective would an injured Derek Jeter be? His range is already limited and now he’s got another year to his name as well as an ankle plate and some screws to match. Wouldn’t it be better to get the DL stint out of the way now rather than in May or June when he’s an absolute statue in the field and possibly unbalanced at the plate?

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Internal Options To Replace Teixeira

Brian Cashman hasn’t decided on replacing Mark Teixeira from inside or outside the organization, but it seems that he’s leaning towards the former. The team has few young internal options at first base, but with Kevin Youkilis‘ versatility at the corners, the Yankees could opt for a third baseman. Guys like Corban Joseph, David Adams, and J.R. Murphy all have limited experience at third, and it’s hard to imagine that their range or glove at the position would suffice for an organization pushing forward a defensive minded team. The Yankees will probably go with an older and safer option.

Dan Johnson– Johnson finally landed his first Spring Training hit yesterday, and now would be a great time to start swinging the bat. Through 2700+ innings at first base, Johnson has shown average range. Offensively, he’s been slightly above average with his career 102 wRC+. The left-handed hitter might not had great contact numbers, but he draws a ton of walks and has no platoon split. He’d be a safe option to directly replace Teixeira’s on base percentage, but he otherwise offers very little upside.

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Time To Trade For An Outfielder

There’s a lot to say about this year’s offseason, but most of it is far from positive. The Yankee front office typically aims for a 95 to 100 win team, but this year it looks like they may barely get to 90. Will it be enough? We won’t know until the season is over, but no AL East team looks exceptionally good. Even with the current roster, most reports have the Blue Jays or the Yankees as favorites. The Yankees usually go above and beyond to put together a team that’ll leave the rest of the division far behind them, Continue reading Time To Trade For An Outfielder

Piecing it Together: Part Three

In my last two pieces talked about building the lineup. To quickly test the potency of these lineups, I ran them through the lineup analysis tool from Baseball Musings. I used the PECOTA and ZiPS projections to get the players’ OBP/SLG. Remember, though, these projected OBP/SLG numbers are NOT split adjusted. Here are the results: PECOTA vs RHP This lineup projects to score 4.874 R/G, which translates to about 790 runs over the course of a 162 game season. PECOTA vs LHP, Rivera Using PECOTA and Juan Rivera as the, DH, the Yankees project to score 4.840 R/G, about 785 Continue reading Piecing it Together: Part Three

Piecing it Together: Part Two

You’ll remember that last week, I mused about the possible lineup construction for the 2013 squad. Let’s revisit the idea of the lineup one more time, with something else in mind. If you’ve read this site, then you’re probably familiar with the Replacement Level Yankee Blog and its CAIRO Projections. The last iteration of them came out on January 28th. What’s nice about the CAIRO splits is that they also include platoon breakdowns; each player has his normal projections and his split projections in the form of wOBA vs. LHP and RHP. Let’s take a look at the lineups I Continue reading Piecing it Together: Part Two

Piecing it Together

For most of the offseason, I’ve lamented the losses of two key batters: Nick Swisher and Russell Martin. By no means are those players superstars, but they were perfect fits for the Yankee offense. Both Swisher ad Martin provided power and patience, cornerstones of the team’s offense for the last two decades. In their places, the Yankees will have players not known for their power or patience. Ichiro Suzuki and a combination of Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli (at least to start the year) will man right field and catcher. While Ichiro may have something left at the plate, the Continue reading Piecing it Together

Yankees Sign Juan Rivera

According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, the Yankees have signed right-handed outfielder Juan Rivera to a minor league contract. The former Yankee will compete with Russ Canzler, Matt Diaz, and Thomas Neal for the current major league right-handed outfield spot this Spring Training. His 106 wRC+ in 2012 against left-handed pitchers is his one positive factor for the team, but on a minor league deal, this signing can’t hurt.

Scouting The Free Agent Market For An Andruw Jones Replacement

Yesterday, we covered the possible left handed DH options for the Yankees in 2013, and today we’ll look at the right handed options. Unlike the possible re-signing situation we have with Raul Ibanez, there is really no chance that Andruw Jones gets an offer to remain in pinstripes. As I pointed out yesterday, both Ibanez and Jones faced a lot of extra playing time in the outfield due to Brett Gardner‘s injury. Both players started the season out on strong notes, but by the time July and August hit, they looked ready for retirement. Up until the All Star break, Continue reading Scouting The Free Agent Market For An Andruw Jones Replacement