Monday, January 7, 2013

WANTED: Designated Hitter

Another area of need for the Yankees, in my opinion, is a designated hitter who would play the position for the majority of the year. Since Alex Rodriguez's return for 2013 is now in question, there will be less need for a revolving DH. It's true that Derek Jeter is coming off surgery, but it is also a forgone conclusion that Derek Jeter is not a designated hitter. He does not hit for power, but rather loops singles and doubles into right field with his Jeterian swing. Mark Teixeira is as good of a defensive first baseman as there is in all of baseball, but his hamstring injury at the end of the 2012 season may be a cause for concern. Even with that, he is still not a great option as a designated hitter. His defense is sparkling and he would be better suited playing that gold glove defense at first base. Lastly, Robinson Cano is just as good defensively at second base as Teixeira is at first. In addition, Cano is entering his age 30 season and plays about 160 games per season, 150 of which are usually started at second base.

Sure, Kevin Youkilis could serve as a part time designated hitter, but he was signed to play third base for the Yankees until A-Rod returns, which could mean that Youk may be manning third base for quite some time. Also, the Yankees do not have a true backup option for Youkilis at third base. Eduardo Nunez will be used strictly as a shortstop and Eric Chavez plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks now. However, utility man Jayson Nix could be an option to spell Youkilis at third base while the newly acquired third baseman plays some games at DH.

Postseason hero, Raul Ibanez has already signed with the Mariners on a one year pact. Also, Lance Berkman has agreed to terms on a one year deal with the Texas Rangers, which leaves the Yankees searching for a DH. As reported by Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees were involved in the Berkman sweepstakes, but either they did not formally offer him a contract or Berkman saw the Rangers as a better option for him. Either way, the Yankees missed the boat on Berkman, who had an MVP caliber season right after leaving the Yankees in 2010.

Eduardo Nunez
The mystery of the Yankees designated hitter remains just that. Brian Cashman and ownership still have time to obtain a DH before the season starts. However, when it comes down to it I have a feeling that Eduardo Nunez may be a strong candidate as the designated hitter despite his lack of power. He is lethal on the base paths and is a good hitter. Is there really a better option for the Yankees, in house?

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