Monday, November 18, 2013

Don't Forget About Teix

(Thug life.  Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News)

While the bulk of the early offseason talk has been about the Yankees upgrading offensively in the outfield and behind the plate, it's worth revisiting the huge hit in production the team took at first base last year because of the wrist injury to Mark Teixeira.  Teix played in 15 games this year, 2 fewer than Derek Jeter, and with his .151/.270/.340 slash line and 3 HR/12 RBI included, the Yankees managed only a .229/.292/.397 tripleslash with 22 HR and 83 RBI from the first base position in 2013.  Their 58 total R scored from first were tied for last in MLB.

The bulk of that paltry production came from Lyle Overbay, Teix's temporary replacement who was in over his head once he became the full-time guy.  Overbay isn't expected back in 2014 with the return of Teix on the horizon, but somewhat surprisingly Cash shot down any rumors that the Yankees were looking for insurance at first for next season.  Via Dan Martin of The Post, Cash had this to say when asked about the current first base situation:

“I’m looking for a lot of things, but a first baseman isn't one of them.  I saw Mark recently and he said he was doing well and seems to be recovering nicely. So there’s no reason to think he can’t be a regular first baseman next season.”

Given the time he's spent resting and rehabbing after surgery, Cash is probably right when he says there's no reason to think Teix can't be the everyday first baseman next year.  What he can offer at the plate as the everyday first baseman, however, is up for debate and will go a long way in determining just how potent the Yankee lineup can be.

If Not D-Rob For Closer Next Year, Then Who?

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

With the GM meetings now in the rearview, there's an even busier Yankee offseason to-do list in place.  They need multiple starting pitchers, they still need to re-sign Robinson Cano, they're looking to upgrade at right field, catcher, shortstop, third base, and possibly DH, and they may be in the market for a new closer.  Despite being the apparent in-house favorite after Mo's retirement, Cash stated pretty definitively last week that the Yankees had not designated David Robertson as next year's closer and that they were looking for a more "proven" option on the free agent market.

Putting aside the comments questioning D-Rob's capability of closing and the motivation for making them, there is some sound logic to this plan.  The Yankees are missing 60+ elite-level relief innings from their bullpen with Mo out of the picture and those innings aren't easily absorbed by just signing a rehabbing David Aardsma-type off the FA scrap heap or calling up Mark Montgomery and calling it a day.  The Yankees do need another arm at the back end of their bullpen, and if nothing else, going after a proven closer covers them for the 8th and 9th innings again.  So if it's not going to be D-Rob trotting out to start the bottom of the 9th next season, who else could it be?

Report: Yanks Re-Sign Brendan Ryan (Updated)

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Brendan Ryan have agreed to a new contract,  There are no details yet, but after reports came out last week that a new deal was close and the teams were just waiting on the results of a standard physical it appears as though the Yanks have their first (and maybe only) piece of Jeter insurance in place.

Ryan hit .220/.258/.302 for the Yankees in just 17 games late this past season.  He was worth 0.1 fWAR, mainly on the strength of his defense, and assuming the Yanks don't sign a bigger name to also share the time at short he will most likely be handling the duties on days where Derek Jeter is the DH.  The new deal hasn't been confirmed by any of the Yankee beat guys yet, but I'll update the post as more information comes in.

** UPDATE 3:00 PM- Via Buster Olney, the value of the new deal is expected to be in the $2 million range.  Can't imagine there will be too many bonuses in there to drive that value up significantly. **

40-Man Roster Crunch Could Be Coming

The move hasn't been made yet, but according to a report by Joel Sherman the Yankees are planning to add Double-A right-handers Bryan Mitchell and Shane Greene to the 40-man roster to protect them from next month's Rule 5 draft.  Both guys are part of that gaggle of MiL players who will become Rule 5 eligible this offseason and with Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez sure bets to get added as well, that's 4 spots that will be taken up.

Between this, the spots reserved for arbitration-eligible players, and the anticipation of more spots being taken up by free agent signings, the 40-man could be set to suffer a few casualties before next spring camp.  That's bad news for guys like Chris Stewart and Jayson Nix, Joe favorites who offer little on-field value when compared to others at their respective positions.  Don't be surprised to see either or both of these guys get non-tendered to make room for the new 40-man spots.