Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012 AB4AR Season Review: The Bench

(Who knew this guy was still a threat?  Courtesy of the AP)

With the lineup and bullpen remaining mostly unchanged this season, and the main focus being building up the depth of the rotation, the Yankee bench was once again a last-minute construction job heading into Spring Training.  The team was relatively successful in their 2011 approach of piecing the bench together with some younger internal pieces and cheap veteran platoon players, and they stuck with that approach for 2012.  The biggest loss was Jorge Posada, who retired after his down 2011 campaign, and his power was replaced by a 2-part lefty/righty DH platoon that was also expected to serve as the 2-man 4th outfield spot when older regulars needed a day off.  Combine that with a flexible infield pair and a defensive-minded backup catcher, and things should have been covered.

But as was the case with every other part of the roster, the bench plans were greatly affected by the injuries that befell key members of this year's team.  Once the bench players were forced into regular duty, the depth and flexibility of the group took a major hit.  These were not supposed to be guys that played every day, especially not in the field, and their overall effectiveness did suffer a bit as a result.  But the bench was still plenty effective, with 3 players who hit 14 or more HR, 3 who stole more than 5 bases, and multiple guys who stepped in and played multiple positions.  Take away a few big plays here and there from members of this season's bench, and the Yankees probably don't win the division.

Pay Cut For Mo Makes Sense

(Courtesy of the AP)

I'm sure there were some people who thought, "why the hell would they do that?" when they read or heard about the Yankees preparing to offer Mariano Rivera a new deal for 2013 that included a pay cut from the $15 million he made this season.  Bob Klapisch went so far as to say that Mo "may be insulted" by the first offer in the headline of his story on the situation.  This type of language immediately brings to mind the very tense and public back-and-forth between the Yankees and Derek Jeter a few years ago when they were negotiating his new deal, but I don't believe this negotiation with Mo will go down that same path.  At the end of the day, it's just smart business and a move that makes sense for both sides.