I want to introduce you to our newest BYB writer. His name is Dan Lucia. Dan is a good guy with the will and want to do well at BYB. So, do me a favor... as a member of the BYB audience... Wish him well.
Dan, thanks for joining us. -- Casey
Over the past few seasons the New York Yankees have had a roster that looked more like a beer league softball team rather than a bunch of athletes in their prime. With aging veterans locked into long term, big money deals, the Yankees were causing their own demise in ways. In the first half of the 2014-2015 off season, GM Brian Cashman made some moves to make the club younger. The additions of Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve have showed a new direction for the team.
One of the story lines I was very curious to see unfold was the second base competition between Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. With the recent re-signing of Stephen Drew however, it appears the two youngsters may have to wait another year.
As we all know, Stephen Drew struggled mightily last season after signing with the Red Sox following the start of the season and then being traded to the Yankees. He had a solid year in 2013 batting .253 with 13 HR and 67 RBI. Although the deal with the Yankees is just for 2015, I would have liked to see the two youngsters battle it out for the starting job.
Both Jose Pirela, 25, and Rob Refsnyder, 23, have had successful minor league careers to this point. Both batted over .300 last year in AAA, adding double digit home runs and 60+ runs batted in. While the minors obviously don’t compare to the show, a player has to succeed at every level to advance and get their shot in the Bigs. These two men have earned their promotions and have taken advantage of their opportunities.
So now the question becomes... when will we see these guys in the Bronx?
I see what Cash is doing though here. He is bringing in a veteran of Drew’s caliber, with his left-handed swing targeting the short porch in right, to assure there's a major league middle infielder on the roster. Gregorius is a young SS and struggled some in 2014 after a solid rookie season in 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Defensive stud, Brendan Ryan, is a top of the line utility infielder with a great glove, but produces minimally at the plate. Ryan, is though, a utility infielder. Not much more. Every team needs a guy like him, but every team also needs offense.
Although Drew was added, that doesn’t mean that Refsnyder or Pirela can’t steal the show in spring training and win the job outright. Joe Girardi has to field the best starting nine he can. If one, or both, do produce during the spring, it does provide a bit of a trade bait possibility for Cashman.
As for now, we have to allow the rest of the off season to play out and the spring training battle to commence. I really like the idea of the Bombers getting younger. They need to if they plan on winning. Let the young men battle for the second base job and if they earn it, terrific. If not they have a couple veterans in Drew and Ryan to fill the void. I like the direction they’re going.
Let the boys earn their jobs. Let the boys play.
Oh, and thanks for welcoming me to the BYB family.
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