Health Not All That Ails Yankees

All signs point to Brian Cashman returning as New York Yankees general manager. My feelings about that are mixed. You cannot deny Cashman's overall success over a long period of time, and he did make several key pickups this season to keep the Yankees in contention. On the other hand, his farm system has been not been good enough for awhile and it's clear that the Yankees have to change the way they do things in order to compete in MLB's new world. Cashman has been GM since 1998, which may be too long for anybody. Sometimes you just need a new voice and new ideas.

If the Yankees did try to replace Cashman there's no guarantee they would find someone better. However, a recent Cashman quote is concerning to me.

"I honestly believe if you repeated this season 100 times you would not get this result," Cashman said to John Harper of the New York Daily News

“You’ll see the real Carlos Beltran next year," he said. “And Tex should be much better. His doctor says the first year after wrist surgery is difficult, and the next year is better.

“And (Brian) McCann went through an adjustment period but he had a much better second half. I think that’s more of what you’ll see next year."

That really is not the right perspective to have on this season. The Yankees' Pythagorean record was 77-85, so the case is definitely there to be made that they were a lot more lucky than unlucky. If they had full seasons of Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda perhaps they could have got into the playoffs due to the second wild card and the mediocrity of the league, but it was never a championship-caliber team.

Counting on Beltran and Teixeira to return to middle of the order production is dubious at best. The best case that you can make for Beltran is that he had a 124 wRC+ in April when he was healthy and a 134 wRC+ in June when his cortisone shot was doing its job. Even if his elbow is healthy after surgery, however, you have to wonder what else will give him problems next year at 38 years old.

Teixeira was so bad this year that I do not see how you can be counting on him for much of anything in 2015. I've always been a defender of Teixeira's, but there is no defending what he did in 2014. His horrid second half of the season had him finishing with a .216/.313/.398 slash line. At 35 years old he will never be 2009 Teixeira again, and anybody would sign up for what he did in 2010-2012 at this point.

Joe Girardi saying that the Yankees expect Alex Rodriguez to be their third baseman next year while adding that they will have to evaluate him in Spring Training is also concerning.  Maybe Girardi did not mean as a starter, but the Yankees cannot afford to wait until ST to check Rodriguez out. They cannot assume Rodriguez will be able to play third base on a full-time basis. Chase Headley or Pablo Sandoval would be solid free agent signings for an offense that desperately needs help. The Yankees should not lose out on one of them because of Rodriguez.

The Yankees should not pretend like 2014 was some kind of fluke that just better health will fix if they plan on contending in 2015. The problem is that they may have no other choice than to rely on what they have. They have very little maneuverability to go on another spending spree unless they want to raise payroll, and they have no surefire positon players in the minors ready to produce on the MLB level.