Thursday, January 9, 2014
YANKEE DILEMMA: WHO'S ON FIRST... AND THIRD?!
Signing Mark Reynolds last year was a no-brainer. When the Cleveland Indians released him the Yankees were quick to pounce. It's a good thing we did too, because I don't want to sit here and even pretend to imagine how the Yankees would have tried to put a Band-Aid on the roster without him. Now it is 2014 and while I hope we don't have the same injury riddled season, we may still need him for an entirely different reason.
Any day now (one can only hope) we will finally hear the ruling on the Alex Rodriguez suspension. Waiting for the outcome is giving me gray hair. If Rodriguez does miss all of 2014 then the Yankees could be in trouble. Right now, there is no ideal candidate to take over at third base. Kelly Johnson could play third base in theory, however he has only played there sporadically for a season and he isn't the ideal everyday player.
Eduardo Nunez has been protected by the Yankees for so long, but he was also thought of as Derek Jeter's backup. Brian Cashman always said that while he can play third his natural position was at shortstop and he could be yesterday's news now that the Yankees have Brendan Ryan for at least the next two years. Let's not forget that Mark Teixeira has his own question marks too.
I see two real possibilities here, one I am more fond of then the other. First would be trading for Ike Davis. The Mets were trying to get rid of him last year and couldn't make it happen. Davis had an impressive 2012. He played in 156 games, had 90 RBI and 32 HR. 2013 was not so kind to him though. He only played in 103 games, had 33 RBI and 9 HR. He isn't know for his superb batting average, but even I think he is a better player than his "Mendoza line" like stats suggest.
He struggled to stay above that line for a good part of 2013. You could tell just by watching him that his struggles were getting to him mentally, so eventually the Mets had to demote him to AAA Las Vegas. It's easy to forget that Davis is still a new kid on the scene. He is still under team control and looking at his stats over the past four years it is hard to find any kind of consistency there. It's a big gamble, and it doesn't give the Yankees as much versatility so I think there is a better option.
I am on the "Bring back Mark Reynolds" train for more than one reason. Several people think I am slightly crazy in my thought process, and sure it may be a little flawed but when I look at who else is available I think he is the best person to fill our needs. It's no secret, I am a big Mark Teixeira fan.
I am hoping that this year he comes back healthy, productive and brings in all of those RBIs he is known for. However, in the event that something happens to him and he gets injured again (pardon me as I hold my breath now as I type), Reynolds is the best replacement. I like him for a few reasons. First, he can be our corner infielder. I would argue that he is probably a better defender as a first basemen then he is at third base, but hey....beggars cant be choosers.
Reynolds could easily fill in for Tex at first or he could just help give someone a day off. If Rodriguez does get the big suspension he can still be an asset at third base. Second, he is durable! Even as a bench player for part of the year he was able to play in 135 games last season so you know he is going to show up everyday ready to play. Third of all, Reynolds has more experience but he also has a pretty consistent track record. He does strike out a lot, but that is to be expected. He also has a .233BA over his career, which is pretty consistent with his batting average every season. He's not going to hit for average, but he will definitely give the Yankees some more "pop" in the bat. Lastly, he gives the Yankees another much needed right handed bat and most of all....he WANTS to be on our team. At this point, I think that is important. We need players who want to be here and be productive. He has already told the Yankees he enjoyed his brief time on the team and wants to come back so it seems like a good idea.
I don't think I can take a repeat to last year's rotating roster. In fact, it may drive me mad. I hope the Yankees jump on Reynolds fast before he gets away. The last thing I want to be reenacting this year is Abbot and Costello's "Who's On First" bit!
--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
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