I was thinking about Brad's very timely post yesterday on the Yankees being in need of getting their horses back. His reasoning was dead on and though I have grown sort of emotionally attached to this band of vagabond overachievers, Brad is right that their shelf life is starting to expire. The biggest weakness of this current group of Yankees is their lack of patience at the plate. Wearing down starters is what the Yankees and known for. But that simply is not happening and the weakness has been glaring of late. The Yankees (before last night's no-walk performance against Matt Harvey) have a .290 on-base percentage as a team in May. Brad is correct that the Yankees need Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis to return in the next week or so. But what happens when they do? Who stays and who goes? Both Youkilis and Teixeira are corner infielders. The only current backup outfielder on the team is Brennan Boesch. You would think that he would need to stay. It is easy to point to Reid Brignac and his total lack of offensive skills and peg him as a target. But then you have no backup who can play shortstop behind Jayson Nix. So until Eduardo Nunez (and eventually Derek Jeter) comes back, the sad reality is that Brignac has to stay. That leaves David Adams, Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner. Two of them have to go, right? The only way two of them do not leave is to go with one less bullpen arm, which is not exactly a bad idea since it is plenty crowded out there with eight relief pitchers.
So let's all play GM for a minute. Choose from the following scenarios:
Scenario 1 - Lose a relief pitcher and keep David Adams. Keep Lyle Overbay. The odd man out is Travis Hafner. This allows a rotation of Overbay, Youkilis, Texeira and Adams covering first, third and DH. Kevin Youkilis playing third every day is an injury waiting to happen. Limit the liability to still get him in the lineup as much as possible. Hafner cannot play a position and thus clogs up the DH or the bench with nothing else he can do. Hafner is also a back injury waiting to flare up. The disadvantage of this scenario is that Hafner is much more selective at the plate than either Adams or Overbay and that is a very good asset to have. If the Yankees are not going to start Ivan Nova, then he is the better option to send down as Warren has proven effective out of the bullpen.
Scenario 2 - Keep the relievers and DFA Lyle Overbay and send David Adams to the minors. Overbay has been so likable and such a nice asset on the team that is a shame he would be the guy to go. He looks happy as heck to be playing for the Yankees and has provided some big hits late in games. But Overbay will not sustain his batting average, will have a low on-base percentage and is just a step below Hafner in power. This would force Nix to backup Youkilis at third for the occasional day off which means both Nix and Brignac in the lineup at the same time.
Scenario 3 - Lose a reliever, and DFA Overbay, thus keeping Adams and Hafner. This is similar to Scenario 1 except it is Overbay who goes instead of Hafner.
It is a tough call, is it not? I do not like having to keep Boesch and Brignac, but there is no one else that can back up what they back up. Hafner does not come with a glove. Overbay has never played another position besides first base. Brignac can play all infield positions and even has some outfield experience. Boesch and Brignac are untouchable except to be replaced by other infield and outfield options withing the system or without.
It seems logical that the pool of who leaves when Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis return has to come from two of four choices: a reliever, Adams, Overbay and Hafner. To me, Hafner and a reliever make the most sense to go. I love Hafner's possible power and his patience. But his back is a time bomb and his total lack of versatility makes him the most logical option.
What do you think? Who stays and who goes?