Saturday, February 27, 2016


We saw this coming for some time, but now it's getting more obvious. In recent days, the Yankees began asking Starlin Castro to start taking grounders at third. It comes within days of the news that the Yankees are also considering Rob Refsnyder for third, It should come as no surprise, given how disappointing Chase Headley was last year with all the errors he racked up. He was third in the American League in errors. But it makes the point to anyone who cares to notice that the Yankees are ready to make changes quickly, and no one is safe from scrutiny.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that the Yankees had options at third base, specifically mentioning that Rob Refsnyder being a viable option for second makes Castro available at third (read THE YANKEES INFIELD IS WIDE OPEN). Based on how they used Refsnyder so far, I can understand why one loyal reader commented: "If they were so high on Refsnyder then why did they go with Drew last year and then go out and get Castro over the winter?"

The simple answer to that question is that they had misguided faith that Stephen Drew would deliver. It seems pretty obvious that they are intent on not making the same mistake again with Headley's defense. The backup plan is set.

The only problem with the backup plan is that neither of those two - Castro or Refsnyder - has a history of good fielding. Refsnyder's 2015 fielding percentage at second base in AAA was .967. That's not great. The major league average last year for second basemen was .985. Castro's  fielding percentage at second last year was .986, but remember that he only played 38 games there. His normal position is at shortstop. The last time he played second before last year was in 2008 in the Arizona Fall League. By his own admission, he is still learning second base, and now he has to learn third base. And before you ask, he played just 43 innings at third at  sub-A level minor league levels, and not since 2008. We should not expect Graig Nettles caliber fielding.

All this leads me to believe that the Yankees really need Headley to step up. I was quite happy when they signed him, thinking he'd be a defensive asset and a clutch hitter. He needs to get back to the Gold Glove fielding he did before last year. Otherwise, as I said earlier, he is not above scrutiny and he is replaceable. Bottom line...the Yankees have two options as backup plans and they will be used if Headley can't deliver.

--Ike Dimitriadis, 
BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon

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