Tuesday, February 25, 2014


“Who’s on first? I don’t know – third base!

Okay, we have all heard that a million times, one of the greatest comic routines of all time. But that line is starting to make you believe in the Oscar Wilde quote, that life really does imitate art more than the other way around, as you look at who is playing third base for the Yankees.

If you look at the playbook, Kelly Johnson is the guy at the top of the list to take over the hot corner. Can he play third base? We don’t know. As that line of reasoning goes through my head, I do the mental equivalent of Lou Costello letting out a high-pitch squeal of frustration, as this does not look like the best plan possible for the Yankees. In many ways, we are repeating some of the same mistakes we made last year.

We knew that Alex Rodriguez’s injury was going to keep him out for at least the first half of last year. Therefore, we signed Kevin Youkilis to take over at third. Then Mark Teixeira was injured, and Youkilis became the first baseman, before Youkilis had a season-ending injury himself. That left third base to the likes of David Adams, Mark Reynolds, and a cast of characters that made third base look like extended spring training for anyone who could fill the void. Does today’s roster sound familiar?

Maybe you are a Kelly Johnson fan, and you are wondering why I am being so hard on this choice. Don’t get me wrong – I do not dislike the guy. I just wonder why the Yankees would sign a 32-year old with a career .253 batting average and put him at third base where he has only played 16 times in his career. That’s right – sixteen career games at third base. To put it in perspective, Mark Teixeira has played more games in his career in right field (18) than Johnson has at third. To add to the comedy, Tex’s fielding percentage in right is higher than Johnson’s fielding percentage at third. So what am I missing?

What nobody is admitting to is that there is no plan for third base. The guy they signed to be the backup at second if the Yankees could not swing an Omar Infante deal, he is the guy who drew the short straw. It makes you wonder why an organization like the Yankees cannot do better. I know we cannot sign All-Stars to every position, and we have certainly put a few in the outfield, behind the plate, and the starting rotation. However, we should be able to do better than this.

We are all die-hards here at BYB, and we pull for our players. Kelly Johnson is no exception. I will be the first to admit to my error if he turns into a superstar. Nevertheless, the numbers do not indicate that.

The hope here is that he can perform decently. If he hits in the .260 range with good coverage on defense, and I think we dodge the bullet. Otherwise, we may see another rookie experiment or mid-year trade to bring some talent in. Let’s hope for the former.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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