The New York Yankees have struggled recently in losing five of their last six games. Injuries and inconsistency have reigned over the team, contributing to their current slump and resulting in the club sitting 5 1/2 games back in the standings. If their current trend continues, the Bronx Bombers may find themselves out of contention by the middle of August.
Should that occur, the team may want to give at least two players a closer look with the future in mind.
First baseman Mark Teixeira is right at the center of the New York Yankees struggles in 2012. Typically a slow starter, “Tex” has taken “slow” to a new extreme as his April struggles have continued throughout May. The 32 year-old is currently hitting .228 with only five home runs in 145 at-bats, setting him on pace for the worst season of his career. In fact, since 2008 Teixeira’s batting average and OPS have steadily declined. Instead of his struggles being the exception to the rule, they have become the norm.
It may be time for the New York Yankees to give a good, long look at 29 year-old Steve Pearce. The Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees first baseman is hitting .315 with 8 HR and 22 RBI, and he is fourth in the International League in both slugging percentage (.557) and OPS (.965). Given the way Teixeira’s statistics are trending, and the fact that New York Yankees backup first baseman (and current starting right fielder) Nick Swisher may be too expensive to keep for next season, this year would be a good time to see if former Pittsburgh Pirates Pearce can produce at the big league level for an extended period of time.
Hey, it can’t hurt!
One player who has been called up, and may require a serious look is 25 year-old pitcher DJ Mitchell. Recalled on April 29th, the right-hander has seen limited playing time, appearing in two games and yielding one earned run in 2 2/3 innings pitched from the bullpen. While at Scranton, the hurler was 3 – 1 with a 2.75 ERA and had struck out 33 in 36 innings. If he can pitch that way at the MLB level, Mitchell will secure himself a spot on the active roster (and possibly the rotation) in 2013.
Again, given the current trials and tribulations of the team in 2012, it would not hurt the New York Yankees to start giving some of the more talented players in the minor leagues a longer look with the intention of building the team for the future.