Switching Things UpPosted: May 17, 2011
There’s no denying it: the Yankees are playing really, really badly right now. And they should probably be happy with where they sit right now three games back in the American League East and tied with the Red Sox. However, wouldn’t it have been better to take advantage of the dreadful starts that Boston and the Tampa Bay Rays got off to? Well, it’s too late now, but now that both teams are playing better, the Yanks need to switch things up a little and get rolling.
Let’s start with the most obvious problem and that is the offense. In the last seven games, the offense as a whole is hitting .228/.310/.353 and only averaging 3.57 runs per game. Not coincidentally, the team has gone 1-6 during this stretch. So what can we do with the offense?
Well, we can start with the obvious and that is to switch people around in the order. Brett Gardner has been playing very well lately hitting .341/.431/.386 since May 1. Maybe it’s time to give him another chance at the top of the order. In doing so you would move Derek Jeter down to the two hole and that means Curtis Granderson would be forced somewhere down to the middle. I’m not too keen on that, but with his hot bat, maybe he could offer a struggling Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, or Robbie Cano protection.
Speaking of which, maybe you switch up the heart of the order by moving Cano up to the three spot or dropping Tex to the five spot. These are just ideas on what is possible, but there are certain things that are going to stay the same. Jeter will stay at the top of the order (at least until he gets his 3000th hit), the 3, 4, and 5 hitters will stay the same (maybe not in that order), and Russell Martin and Jorge Posada will stay in the bottom four of the lineup. However, any change could get things cooking again.
With the recent call up of Hector Noesi, the Yanks are now carrying eight relief pitchers. However, this is ridiculous because Noesi hasn’t thrown a pitch in pinstripes this year in two stints. Let him go back down to Triple A and build up his innings while you bring up a pitcher who can actually help you out. Amaury Sanit looks to have the long relief role under control and with Rafael Soriano possibly heading to the disabled list, who could they bring up instead?
Well, offensively, they can use a player who has been raking with Scranton and has some pop in his bat. I know reading that you thought I was talking about Jesus Montero, but I actually was not. I still think Montero needs to catch everyday down in the Minors. I was actually talking about Jorge Vazquez (JoVa).
If you have been following my weekly Minor League Updates, you probably noticed how well he has been hitting. JoVa is hitting .297/.325./601 with 14 homers and 38 RBI. Sure the plate discipline might not be there and scouts may not think he will be able to cut it long term at the Major League level, but he could be a temporary guy to slide in and provide some power. Other options include Justin Maxwell and Chris Dickerson.
If Soriano does wind up on the DL, the Bombers are going to need another arm to fill in. Based on what I said earlier in this post, they can use a guy who can pitch in the later innings. The few options I can think of are Kevin Whelan, Scranton’s closer who has a 0.89 WHIP, Andy Sisco, a lefty specialist who could be second to Boone Logan, and Ryan Pope, who is just another right-handed arm who has big league potential.
The Yankees are obviously in need of something to energize them. Whether that be shuffling the lineup up, bringing up a bat, or bringing up an arm it is clear that something needs to be done and what that is, will be up to the brass.