The New York Yankees aren’t looking so good these days.
In fact, you could even say that this is a franchise that’s grasping at straws; I suppose desperate is the prevalent word here, and boy, they’re really showing it this spring.
Not that the Yankees are trying to, mind you. In the wake of what could only be called a disastrous spring that has earned the team a list of DL additions worth more in salary than the payrolls of half of the teams in MLB, manager Joe Girardi and his team have said all the right things.
Still, saying the right things and doing them are different stories, and the Yankees are going into 2013 in relatively unknown-territory — bruised, battered and most importantly, they’re going in as AL East underdogs.
Yes, they have the league’s best second baseman in Robinson Cano, and a veritable ace in C.C. Sabathia, but even a triumphant return to from for Mariano Rivera won’t change the fact that 5/9 of the team’s batting order on Opening Day will consist of Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Eduardo Nunez, Travis Hafner, and Francisco Cervelli.
These ain’t the Bronx Bombers, and all the right words about adjusting without power grows more hollow with every injury and every setback to a core player.
The capper may have been the recent additions of Wells, a puzzling move brimming with so much desperation that even the most ardent of Yankees believers would have to admit to doing so.
The team had already acquired Brennan Boesch as a temporary fill-in, after all, and there’s actually a decent chance that Boesch will end up playing well enough to shift Wells back to being an eight-figure salary bench player … if the former’s rib cage injury is healed for Opening Day, that is.
Sounds backwards, doesn’t it? Considering what Wells has done over the last couple of seasons, it really won’t take very much to exceed the former All-Star’s production. If the Yankees are looking to find strength in quantity here, they probably looking for it in the wrong places.
Completing the patchwork solution at first base is Overbay, another former player from the Toronto Blue Jays. Sure, he’ll be an upgrade over Juan Rivera (which is, again, not saying much), but is ill-fitted to be the starting first baseman over an extended period of time.
If Teixeira is out for longer than June, no combination of Overbay, Rivera and Dan Johnson will be enough to fill the hole. Considering that the team obviously had some extra cash to spend in on Wells, you might say that the team could have directed its focus to the more pressing position across the diamond from Kevin Youkilis.
In short, the Yankees have gone from making efficient, prudent moves like signing Boesch and Hafner to wearing their desperation on their sleeves in excess by trading for Wells.
So where do they go from here? The team was clearly not prepared to handle the injury situation of their core players (few teams are), but they can’t just throw in the towel (or money at players) either.
The tug and pull of having high expectations and not necessarily having the roster to accomplish it will be a story all season long in New York, and the Yankees are in the perilous position of being potentially one injury away from their season imploding spectacularly.