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Thursday, August 30, 2012

HELLO PEARCE, GOODBYE LAIRD

(In Photo: Steve Pearce left / Brandon Laird, right)

I may be one of the very few to be a little concerned with this signing….or should I re-signing of Steve Pearce (read HERE), but I will debate this anyway. On Monday, the Yankees claimed Steve Pearce from the Houston Astros and I’m not sold. I know there is logic behind it, and I understand it but I still can’t shake this nagging feeling that it isn’t going to pan out the way the Yankees want it to. So you may be asking, “what is the problem here?” and in a nutshell my problem is…..I think the Yankees gave up too much.
The price tag for Pearce was cash and then to make room for him, they designated Brandon Laird for assignment. I’m relieved to see that the Yankees are only giving up a check for him, but I have watched Brandon Laird for years now and I am sad to see him go. I know, the common argument is “he has no future as a Yankee,” and yes….I can see that. The life of a minor league infield prospect is not an easy one with Cano, Jeter, Tex, and ARod standing in the way and realistically, the only playing time on the big stage would come in a bench role or as a fill-in during an injury.

However, Laird has been solid for the Yankees and he has had a long-term job here as opposed to Pearce who was signed in March but then chose to opt out in June when he wasn’t called up. He chose to leave the Yankees and move on.

Didn’t I just mention Yankee infield prospects have limited opportunities? Oh but….one of those opportunities can pop up during an injury. I’m sure you can see where I am going here. I like Laird, and he has been a major contributor to the Scranton team clinching a playoff spot this year and has had some major highlights, and in July he had a .313 BA. We saw Laird last year so he is no stranger to us and while Pearce is versatile….so is Laird.
Both players can play first base, third base, and the outfield. They both can hit for power so they share a lot of the same talents. One difference here is that he has seen playing time as a Yankee. With Tex out with his calf strain, and ARod still working on his rehab, I understand the need for more help, and Laird could’ve been that help, I believe that.
(In Photo: Steve Pearce)
So, why didn’t the Yankees give Laird a shot? Well, in short….Pearce has more success against lefties. I know I have been praising Laird here, but I am not trying to discredit Pearce. Without ARod out there, there has been a noticeable difference with success against lefties, and the Yankees will see a lot of lefties as we go through a long stretch of games within our division. Pearce has proven that he can hit lefties; he has a .490 slugging percentage to back it up.  He does have more major league experience, but not much and he has a higher career batting average at .254 as opposed to Laird’s .190 BA; but is that really fair? Pearce isn’t exactly a veteran, he has only played in 49 games and Laird has shown some improvement this year, his stats prove that. You can’t improve if you aren’t given a shot.

I see both sides to the argument, but if I am good at nothing else in this world, it's playing devil’s advocate. I look at how much our AAA team has changed and had to endure this year. We have signed several big name infielders this year and then cut them, see Russell Branyan, Jack Cust, and his recent demotion of Casey McGehee to the Charleston River Dogs, read HERE.

(In Photo: Casey McGehee)
I understand those names, they were depth but a common theme amongst Yankee fans is that we let go of our farm players too often. Sure, we don’t rant about it too much when we gain a player that is a long-term investment, but I just don’t see Pearce being this kind of player. I worry that Pearce is a short-term rental because I just can’t envision him staying on this team past 2012, plus he's already been a Yankee and he opted out to pursue other opportunities. True, Laird may not have a spot on this team and he will benefit if he goes elsewhere, but if I am giving up a good farm player I want a good return. What makes us think that Pearce won’t share the same fate as the names above, or leave again and if any of these possibilities happen how can that price tag be justified? I’m not sure how to answer this one.

I wish Pearce the best of luck here, I really do. I like it when the Yankees prove me wrong and if they do, I will be the first one to admit it. When it comes to our farm system, I am very protective though.
I already watched Jesus Montero leave and it left a bittersweet taste in my mouth so I don’t want to see the same thing happen here without any sort of payoff. Laird is valuable somewhere, even if it isn’t here. That being said, what’s done is done and it is time to focus on the chase for #28.

Welcome to pinstripes, Pearce…again!



--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ



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