(Courtesy of Robert Sabo/NY Daily News)
The Yankee bench wasn't going to be very good this year. We knew that going in when they started scraping the bottom of the barrel to bring guys like Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz into spring camp to compete for a spot. The whole lotta nothing that the team did to address its holes in the lineup trickled down big time to the bench, where guys who were better suited for part-time roles got forced into everyday duty and there was nobody left to replace them on the bench. Well, nobody who could produce at a replacement level.
It was a non-stop revolving cast of characters on the Yankee bench this year, necessitated by injuries, poor performance, ownership's tight grip on the payroll, and sometimes just the need to have a warm body at a position. If you read the "What We Thought We Knew/What We Learned" post from last week, you know this isn't going to be pretty.
Jayson Nix: 303 PA, .279 wOBA, 70 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR
Chris Stewart: 340 PA, .261 wOBA, 58 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
Luis Cruz: 59 PA, .196 wOBA, 19 wRC+, 0.1 fWAR
Brendan Ryan: 62 PA, .252 wOBA, 51 wRC+, 0.1 fWAR
Zoilo Almonte: 113 PA, .257 wOBA, 55 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR
Chris Nelson: 37 PA, .231 wOBA, 37 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR
J.R. Murphy: 27 PA, .171 wOBA, -4 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR
Alberto Gonzalez: 34 PA, .168 wOBA, -7 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR
David Adams: 152 PA, .243 wOBA, 45 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR
Brennan Boesch: 53 PA, .357 wOBA, 124 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR
Austin Romine: 148 PA, .247 wOBA, 48 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR
Brent Lillibridge: 37 PA, .178 wOBA, 0 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR
Reid Brignac: 45 PA, .123 wOBA, -38 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR
Ben Francisco: 50 PA, .197 wOBA, 13 wRC+, -0.5 fWAR
Eduardo Nunez: 336 PA, .298 wOBA, 83 wRC+, -1.4 fWAR
Told ya. Those numbers tell the tale better than any number of words could. The Yankees barely got anything from their bench in 2013, and the bulk of the value they did get was on the defensive side of the field. Even that value may be a bit overstated, as Stewart was at or near the top of the league in passed balls all year and Nix made more hilariously bad plays in the infield than spectacularly good ones. Eduardo Nunez is an absolute abortion and Romine and Murphy weren't ready to step into the roles they had to assume.
The scariest part of this year's bench disaster is the possibility that all the key members - Stewart, Nix, Nunez - could be back next year. The Yankees will be just as thin at those key positions as they were this year and as of right now they haven't shown any indication that they're abandoning their cheapskate roster filling plan to get under the luxury tax threshold. If they do make changes, it will be hard for them to be worse on the bench next year than they were this year.