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Friday, March 15, 2013

MY YANKEES: FROM POWER TO SMALL BALL

I’m a big fan of small ball and I’ve written extensively about it here on Bleeding Yankee Blue.  That being said, I understand the importance of power on my New York Yankees and losing Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira to the disabled list removes a ton of power from our lineup.  So, what the hell do we do? We’re going to have to re-invent ourselves, it’s the only way. Trust me, we are just a few short weeks away from opening day, and we're doing a whole lot of nothing.   Pretty soon, we're going to have to start doing something, or you will quickly see a man who doesn't care about losing exhibition games, start to care a helluva lot.  You want to see me angry? Well, let's just hope the Yankees don't get swept by the Sox in the first series of the season.  If we do, I will scream holy hell! But let me not get ahead of myself...

While this isn’t the Yankees Spring training of "doom" as David Brown of Yahoo Sports wrote the other day, read HERE, it’s pretty depressing to see our guys once again dropping like flies and losing... alot.  I’d love to scream from the rooftops that "I told you so.I would love to blame Yankee brass for old broken down players that can’t “do it” anymore, but I can’t.   It's just baseball and luckily for us... it's still Spring training.  Grandy just happened to get clocked on the forearm, a legitimate injury.  Mark Teixeira happened to sprain his wrist getting ready for the WBC.  That in itself is ridiculous, because you have to think that if he wasn’t doing that stupid WBC, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt.  But we can’t go back, so we move on without them for several weeks.

But, what do we do in the meantime? Well, we grind through the spring. We make our cuts and we hone in on the replacements.  That’s all we can do. Most importantly, the power won’t be there, so I’m not expecting to see anyone swinging for the fences and I don’t think we should go that way, especially without Tex or Grandy.  Sure, Kevin Youkilis has a big chance to win over us fans, and if he needs to swing hard, go for it, but there are plenty of players without power in this line up. In fact, we need to open our eyes and see the tools we actually do have. We need to get quicker, we need to be athletic and we need to play alittle small ball, for however long it takes.  And then, as Tex comes back…and as Grandy comes back, we transform into the power house that we can be. 

Now look, it won’t be easy. You'll need to tack on at least 2 to 3 weeks on Grandy’s 10 week sentence and Tex will easily be 3 weeks extra because it’s the Spring and they’ll take their time.  One things for sure though, guys like Melky Mesa and Dan Johnson are clearly going to need to step it up.

(In Photo: Dan Johnson)
Dan Johnson doesn’t have Mark Teixeira power, but he’s got power and some athletic ability around the bag at first base. Unfortunately he's shown us none of it this Spring and it makes me wonder if he's even going to make it through.  Actually, Johnson is better than he's playing. Plus, truth be told, he’s no Tex, but he’s got the ferocity to earn a spot, and prove that he’s a reliable dude in Mark Teixeira’s absence. Will he? Well, it's pretty bad right now... I'm not sure.

Melky Mesa makes be forget all about Melky Cabrera… there, I said it because you couldn’t.  The reality is, this is a special kid.  I like what I’m seeing and I hope the Yankees hang onto this dude.  Read about him in our piece by Rudy Laurens titled MELKY MESA IS MAKING HIS CASE. One thing you need to worry about with him is strikeouts.  That can be fixed because he’s young and while he may be in a routine, little tweaks can fix it.


Throw Melky Mesa in the mix with guys like Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki and you have 3 leadoff guys.  Plus, it's safe to say that Derek Jeter is officially back and things are starting to happen.  And that’s another important part of this puzzle.  Sure, the Yankees are worse off then we were before, but with Jeter brings leadership and where there’s leadership comes the twinkle in a teammates eye that says “I’m playing with the great Derek Jeter. There isn’t room for excuses and there isn’t any reason to quit… these are the Yankees.  

Ichiro did it when he came over to the Yanks from Seattle, a young man like Melky Mesa will do it… and the whole team will follow, veteran or not.  At the end of the day, there is no doom & gloom… just alittle maneuvering, adjusting and playing hard baseball.  Sure, we lose some power right now... but it’s March 15th, not September 15th,  we’re actually a lot better off than you think.

Oh yeah... and Go Yanks!

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