- Stewart, Chris
- Teixeira, Mark
- Cano, Robinson
- Jeter, Derek
- Youkilis, Kevin
- Suzuki, Ichiro
- Gardner, Brett
- Granderson, Curtis
- Cervelli, Francisco
- Nunez, Eduardo
- Canzler, Russ
The first 8 players form the regular lineup - substitute Cervelli for Stewart if you prefer. The bench includes the backup catcher and a couple of righty bats for the left-handed platoon lineup.
As described in a previous post, the current members of the team project to a 90-win team. The offense projects to be slightly above average. The 2 remaining "open" roster positions could be used to improve the apparently mediocre lineup - one would hope the Yankees will acquire better options than Matt Diaz and Jayson Nix to fill out the roster!
The conventional wisdom is that the Yankees need a right-handed bat; and there's no doubt that's true. However, I would argue that the Yankees badly need a lefty bat too. The reason is that the starting lineup against righty pitchers seems to be something like this:
- Ichiro, RF
- Jeter, SS
- Cano, 2B
- Teixeira, 1B
- Granderson, LF
- Youkilis, 3B
- Nunez, DH
- Stewart, C
- Gardner, CF
There isn't a no-brainer prospect in the farm system to fill this role - perhaps Zoilo Almonte will get a chance, but right now that is more a hope than a plan. There also are no serious trade candidates worth speculating upon. So here are some guys still available on the scrap heap, along with their 2013 Marcels projections:
Thome, Giambi, and Hafner are really just DHs. If the Yankees were inclined to spend a roster spot on that type of player, Hafner is probably the best bet, given his age.
If they want someone who can play the field, that would be Johnny Damon. He was awful last year. However, Damon hit above league average in the previous few seasons, so he might be able to beat his poor projection. But probably I'm just saying this because I like Johnny Damon.
Luke Scott has appeal because on paper he could play the outfield. However, he may also now be just a DH; perhaps because of his injuries, he did not play an inning in the outfield last year, and only 6 games at 1B.
None of these guys are all that appealing; this is why they call it the scrap heap. Aspiring to get lucky with one of these guys is one of the costs of losing Nick Swisher.
So, if you want someone who can play in the field, Damon's worth a shot. If you're content to have a lefty DH, Hafner, Scott, and Thome are all decent candidates. They all have health risks; they all have good potential upside as classic Yankee Stadium sluggers.
Let's say the Yankees sign Hafner. If I add Hafner's projected stats to the 2013 projections, and correspondingly drop the hideous Matt Diaz, the Yankees project to score about 10 more runs. That's worth another win from a Pythagorean expectation perspective, bumping up the Yankees' projected record to 91-71. Of course as the previous post says, let's not take projections too literally; the point rather is that adding Hafner (or someone equivalent like Thome or Scott) improves the Yankees odds of winning the AL East, with no prospect cost. Given the seeming skimpiness of the current lineup, let's hope the Yankees give one of these guys a shot.