Sunday, December 9, 2012

Opening Day Lineup Still Needs Some Work

(Let's see Joe whip up a winning lineup with these ingredients.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

So it's almost 2 weeks before Christmas.  The GM Meetings are over, the Winter Meetings are over, and it's getting close to hibernation time for most teams during the down period of the MLB offseason.  The Yankees have made a few moves, all of them re-signing the key missing parts of their pitching staff, but the position player portion of the roster is still in shambles.  I know this is a theme I've been slowly beating to death since the offseason really kicked into gear, and things have gotten better since the first time I did something like this, but with the events that took place this week it's a theme that is still very prevalent and a situation that's actually gotten worse.

The Yankees will be without Alex Rodriguez until at least mid-summer, they've officially lost Russell Martin as their starting catcher, they still don't have a starting right fielder, and the bench is really nothing more than a collection of backup catchers.  If the regular season started tomorrow, and the Yankees had to field a lineup with what they've got right now, it would be an ugly scene.

1) Brett Gardner- CF
2) Eduardo Nunez- SS
3) Robinson Cano- 2B
4) Mark Teixeira- 1B
5) Curtis Granderson- LF
6) Melky Mesa- DH
7) Chris Dickerson- RF
8) Jayson Nix- 3B
9) Francisco Cervelli- C

SP) CC Sabathia- RHP

I took a few liberties with this, moving Gardner and C-Grand defensively and giving Jayson Nix a spot in the lineup even though he's not currently on the 40-man.  I don't think the Yankees re-signed him with the intention of him not starting the season over guys like CoJo and David Adams, although I suppose the Yanks could also go with Nix at short and Adams at third if they're really that sour on Nunez's defense.  Mesa at DH was just to keep the L/R balance; it could really be anybody left on the 40-man at this point, although all of them are about the same in terms of expected production.

This isn't a lineup that's going to win a lot of games, even if the rotation pitched well.  Kuroda got next to no run support last year when he had Jeter, A-Rod, Swish, and Martin in the lineup.  How much do you think he's going to get with Nunez in the 2-spot and Mesa in a run-producing position?  There's still plenty of time for the Yanks to make moves to improve this lineup and fill out their roster, and eventually they are going to do it.  But remember that there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.

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