Monday, December 17, 2012

Thinking About The 2013 Batting Order

I know a lot of people are going to say it's way to early to start talking batting orders for next season, what with there still being a solid 2 months left in the offseason and the Yankees possibly being without a couple key members of their everyday lineup when the regular season starts on April 1st.  But I don't see it that way.  Injured or not, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are going to be part of the everyday lineup when they do return, and with the signing of Kevin Youkilis and the pending signing of Ichiro Suzuki, the starting 9 for 2013 is all but intact.

The lineup next year is going to be flush with platoon bats, which likely means a lot more of the lineup juggling that we started to see late last season.  The presence of Youkilis and return of Brett Gardner should bring back some of the classic Yankee "grind it out" at-bat tactics, but the middle of the order has lost some of its luster with the injuries and natural decline of A-Rod and Teix.  Even without a good everyday catcher, there is still the potential for the Yankees lineup to be relatively deep and dangerous next season, but a lot of things are going to have to turn around.  After the jump, check out my preliminary ideas for next season's batting orders.

Is There Any Way I Can Talk Myself Into Vernon Wells?

(I wouldn't be smiling if I had that bad a year in 2012.  Courtesy of the AP)

One of the bigger pieces of weekend news that I touched on yesterday was Ken Rosenthal's report that the Yankees and Angels discussed a possible trade for outfielder Vernon Wells at the Winter Meetings.  The move makes sense for Anaheim, who now has a logjam in their outfield with the recent signing of Josh Hamilton, and in the loosest terms it makes sense for the Yankees, who are still heavy on left-handed hitters, many of them with significant platoon splits, and could use another right-handed power bat to take DH at-bats or spell Ichiro Suzuki in right field.

The problem is that Wells completely sucks now.  Ever since he signed his big contract in Toronto his career has been completely flushed down the toilet, evidence by a .285 wOBA/79 wRC+ season in 131 games in 2011 and a .296/88 campaign in 77 games this past season.  He doesn't walk much, his power has dipped big time in the last 3 years, and defensive metrics paint him as an inconsistent defensive outfielder at best.  Oh, and he's still owed $42 million over the next 2 seasons.  There's seemingly nothing about Wells that looks useful for the 2013 Yankees, but damnit I'm going to try to find something.