Player A 2015 Steamer Projection- .274/.326/.402, 2.6 fWAR Player B 2015 Steamer Projection- .262/.328/.390, 1.7 fWAR Player C 2015 Steamer Projection- .259/.307/.381, 0.7 fWAR Player D 2015 Steamer Projection- .262/.349/.400, 3.9 fWAR
Player A is Martin Prado, the originally scheduled programming at second base. Players B and C are Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, the rookie tandem now tasked with replacing him. Player D is Ben Zobrist, newly available second baseman/really, really good utility guy. Just wanted to toss this up here to try to push my pro-Zobrist agenda a little more.
Think about it. Prado was written into the starting second base job very lightly in pencil when the roster plans for next year starting coming together. The safe assumption was that he'd play there as much as injuries allowed him to, with third base and right field both looking like they were going to be most in need of his services at some point. That plan got scaled down by the signing of Chase Headley, but the opportunity was always there for Prado to be the floating everyday utility guy and for the injuries that proceeded his floating to open up a spot in the lineup for Refsnyder.
That plan doesn't have to change with Zobrist. It shouldn't. Refsnyder should still be the first player called up if and when injuries force Joe to have to do a roster shuffle. If and when that happens, one of the main guys in the shuffle would be Zobrist, who can play right field as well as left, hold his own at shortstop, and fake it at the infield corners if the situation called for it. Refsnyder's need to work on parts of his game has not gone away. With Zobrist penciled in at second, he can use the low-pressure time in Triple-A to work on his defense and continue to refine his hitting approach. Expectations can be managed (which the Yankees love to do), and the everyday lineup will be better off for it at about half the cost of what the team would have paid Prado.
Of course projections are merely that and are far from the perfect form of statistical analysis, but these projections only support the idea that all the real statistics already prove. Ben Zobrist is a substantially better baseball player than any of the other 3 right now and is much more likely to be the better player by a substantial margin in the near future. His sub-4 WAR number there is mainly the result of an incredibly low defensive projection. He's not the type of player who is going to put the Yankees over the top in 2015, but he would be a tremendous upgrade over the current options and a better version of what the original plan was with Prado. That's worth going after.