Tuesday, May 24, 2016


On Tuesday night, Alex Rodriguez will come off the disabled list and return to the lineup as the everyday DH. Carlos Beltran, who has been the DH for most of the games in which Alex was out, will likely return to his position in right field. There was a day that Beltran was a Gold Glove caliber outfielder - he won three. But that day has long past, and you can see him struggle with his range when he chases down balls. It raises the question about whether or not right field is the best place for Carlos Beltran. Will the Yankees be forced to decide who will DH - Carlos or Alex?

Alex Rodriguez has not been an everyday fielder since 2013. Last year he took the field in six games - four at third base and two at second base. In total, it was less than 30 innings of work. The strategy behind that is obvious. It lowers the risk of injury and it keeps his energy focused on his hitting. This year, Alex has shown power (he is on pace to hit about 35 home runs and drive in about 80-90 RBI), though he is struggling with base hits (his average is .194). He will probably come around.

Carlos Beltran is having a great year himself. His 2016 slash line (.274/.299/.522) is right about where his career slash line is (.280/.354/.491). Here is the thing, though. Beltran performs much better when he is not in the field. Check it out:

as RF 27 108 102 25 40 11 4 9 .245 .278 .392 .670
as DH 13 56 52 18 42 11 5 17 .346 .357 .808 1.165

It makes the case to say that you want Beltran as the DH as often as possible. The problem, of course, is that you have two such players. Putting Alex out in the field has its own set of landmines. The fact is the Yankees need hitters who can put balls into orbit 30 or more times per season. When two of them have one natural spot in the lineup, that's where the manager and the hitting coach earn their salary.

Don't be surprised if you start to see a 3-way platoon between Rodriguez, Beltran, and either Aaron Hicks or Brett Gardner. Gardner continues to hit consistently at about .250, but Hicks has made a significant improvement. As of May 4, after a horrible start to the season, Hicks has been hitting .267 and been playing well in the field. It's an option to improve the hitting as well as the fielding. Another challenge in a challenging season, where every little bit helps.

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

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