Sunday, January 26, 2014

Position Assessment: Second Base

For the first time in almost a decade, the second base position is a question mark as the Yankees are less than one month away from beginning Spring Training games in Florida. Robinson Cano, the most talented second baseman in the league now plays for the Seattle Mariners and will be there for the rest of his career, which will extend for 10 years. Whether the Mariners will regret the contract is to be seen but no ten year deal ends up benefiting the team in the latter portion of the contract. In my opinion, the Yankees lost out on having Cano be a Yankee for life, but the aura of Cano staying in pinstripes for the rest of his career not happening will be something that Robbie will regret after realizing Logan Morrison is his protection in the lineup. The main reason for the Yankees not willing to break the bank for Cano's contract demands was because during the 2013 season, with Jeter and A-Rod out for almost the entire year, Cano's presence in the lineup was not enough to get fans into the Stadium or tuned into YES Network to watch the games. Cano is a quiet presence in personality, and he will not attract people to the Yankees based on talents alone. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are what people come to see and what they turn their televisions on for.

Moving forward, the Yankees have a few internal options for second base after a couple of off-season additions. First, the Yankees recently signed Brian Roberts to play second base, however Roberts has not played a full season since 2009, with a notebook of injuries derailing him from staying in the game as he has not played in more than 77 games in any season since 2009, averaging only 48 games per season in that span. If the Yankees can get the Brian Roberts of 2009 and earlier, they will forget about Cano and the horror show that would have ensued toward the end of that contract. Brian Roberts was a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Yankees and if he is anything close to what he was before injuries began derailing his career, the Yankees will look like the smartest guys in the room. Roberts has the ability to hit 50 doubles and to steal 40-50 bases over the course of a full season. He will be 36 years old in 2014, which doesnt help those ambitions.'

Kelly Johnson was signed earlier in the off-season but he was looked at as more of an Alex Rodriguez replacement in 2014. He has experience at second base, but Brian Cashman has made it clear that as of now Johnson will play third base, that is until Roberts faces another inevitable injury. Finally, the Yankees have Eduardo Nunez, who they still view as a shortstop but he has proven in almost every game that he cannot handle the position on an everyday basis. Nunez would be a serviceable second baseman mainly because of the throws not having to go as far as they would from short or third. 

The Yankees will miss Robinson Cano's ability at the plate and even more so in the field, but given their several options they will find a way, much like they did in their injury-plagued 2013 season when Cano was the only reliable bat in the lineup.

My prediction for Yankees second basemen in 2014: .260 AVG, .320 OBP, 35 Steals, 50 RBI, 12 HR

No comments:

Post a Comment