Monday, January 16, 2012

Filling the Last Spot on the Bench

In recent years, the Yankees bench has been made up of weak hitters, mostly coming from Scranton-Wilkes Barre. In 2010, their bench featured Ramiro Pena, Francisco Cervelli, Marcus Thames and Eduardo Nunez. They also called many players up from AAA through out the season. Kevin Russo had a brief stint, as did Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis. But the bench was thin. It was lacking impact players who put fear into the eyes of opposing pitchers. Then in 2011, the Yankees upgraded their bench significantly by adding the power hitting Andruw Jones and taking a chance with Eric Chavez. The acquisitions worked in the Yankees favor last year. They have already re-signed Jones to a one year deal, but the final spot on the bench remains vacant.

Eric Chavez was a valuable asset to the Yankees bench last season when he was not hurt. He played gold glove caliber defense at third and even at first base. When Alex Rodriguez went down because of his ailing knee, Chavez stepped up and filled the void at third base in a platoon with Eduardo Nunez. Though Chavez's bat never really lived up to it's potential, there was more he had to contribute defensively. He did get hits in key spots and many of them came against the Red Sox, but his power was virtually non-existent except for homers he hit in a blowout game in Chicago and toward the end of the season in Toronto. Chavez is a very undervalued player who can contribute in a lineup and defensively. Although he is still no longer the healthy player he once was with the Oakland A's, Chavez is a valuable piece that would give the Yankees bench an additional weapon from the left side. Cashman would be foolish to not sign Chavez to fill the last spot on the bench, knowing that A-Rod is coming off of an injury plagued season. The Yankees bench was an overall success in the 2011 season and having the same pieces back in the 2012 season would only make it stronger.

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