Yankee fans who weren’t terribly worried about the crater left in the middle of their infield seemed confident that they could recoup at least some of the lost production by signing Omar Infante. This is not going to happen. But they have a backup plan!
The New York Yankees have reached a deal with free agent second baseman Brian Roberts that will see him earn at least $2 million for one year, reports Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. There are incentives worked into the deal that may raise his salary.
Given an over/under of games played for Jeter and Roberts combined at 162, I’d go under. And that’s not the only issue. Not only is Roberts a 36-year-old who’s played 130 games in the last 3 years, he’s been bad on those rare occasions when he’s been in the lineup. Jeter was a great player, but I’m not sure his prospects heading into the year are a great deal better. Even if you think he can make it through a full season at shorstop age 40 after missing nearly an entire year — a pretty poor bet given the combined precedents — how good will he be? He was a terrible defensive shortstop even before the injury, and he’d have to hit a lot to be playable when he’s likely to be even worse. And while he was very good in his last full season, the two years before that showed substantial signs of decline; you’d have to be one hell of an optimist — or pessimist in my case — to think that at 40 and having missed almost an entire year his 2014 will be more like his 2012 than his 2011. And to add to the comedy, the Yankee backup middle infielder right now is a complete joke, Yuniesky Betancourt without the power. Even at 40 and having no range when he was 30, I suspect Jeter will still be a better defensive shortstop than Nunez.
Unless the Yankees have a trick up their sleeve — and I don’t know what’s left out there at second — it’s unclear what they’re doing. They’re not rebuilding, but as of now they have a team that’s old and would likely struggle to get to .500. Signing Ellsbury but not only not signing Cano but not coming up with an adequate replacement…I don’t see the point of that at all.