Welcome to YankeeAutopsy. An in depth look at what went wrong (and right) in 2008.
Today we look at the infield.
As of today, guess who has the FEWEST errors in the American League?
The New York Yankees. An amazing stat considering that their defense did not look all that good this season.
1st Base: Jason Giambi. It's time to say good-bye to "Big-G", as they call him. He made more errors this season (9) than any other season in his Yankee tenure. This is the 6th consecutive season he has hit under .275. His strike outs and walks are pretty much on scale with his career average. It's been 7 years, he's 37 and it's time to give "G" his $5 million buy out and move on.
2nd Base: Robinson Cano. Cano had an awful year. His .299 OBP is the lowest of anyone with 500 AB's. His average also took a 40 point drop and is lower in ALL offensive categories from 2007. In the field he is still on line with his career averages, with 13 errors. He has been labeled as "lazy" or "lackadaisical". He is also due $30 million. With all of that, his trade value is down, if the Yankees want to trade him. A "lazy" ballplayer that comes with a big bill, coming off of a sub par season, does not return much. Rumors are he could land in L.A. with his buddy Bowa or in K.C. I think the Yankees will keep him and hope for a rebound season and a better work ethic.
Shortstop: My guess is that Derek Jeter never fully recovered from getting plucked in the hand in May. Like Cano, he is down in almost every offensive category. Jeter got knocked this year for his defense, but his defensive numbers are better than last year. He has the fewest errors among AL shortstops with 100+ starts and is 2nd overall in fielding percentage among AL starting shortstops. Jeter will be the shortstop next season. The ideas of some writers, bloggers and radio talkies that have Jeter moving to 2nd or CF are absurd. Jeter will be the Yankee shortstop for many years to come.
3rd Base: It is hard to knock a guy with 35 home runs and 101 RBI's who's fielding percentage improved from last season. The problem with Alex Rodriguez is clutch time. A total of 5 HR, 5 RBI in in 8th and 9th inning combined. The wider the scoring margin, the better he hits. His 1st inning batting average is .329, 9th inning.275, and in extra innings .200. With runners in scoring position and 2 outs, "A" hit .232 with 4 HR and 21 RBI. This is why he is boo'd. Those numbers are flat out terrible. Most importantly is that for 2009 "A" needs to stay off of "Page 6". His Madonna, poker clubs and strippers escapades need to stop. He embarrasses himself and the Yankees. If he can work that out and now that his messy divorce is over, there is no reason "A" can't return to being the MVP the Yankees invested in.
The Rest: Hopefully, we have seen the last of Wilson Betemit. When Cashman obtained him, he said on WFAN that Wilson was someone they had tried to get for 2 years. I am still trying to figure out why. Morgan Ensberg was brought in this spring as relief for Giambi and A-rod. He did very little and was released. Richie Sexson was picked up off of the scrap heap to try to spark an anemic offense. He struck out 10 times in 28 AB's and was returned to the heap. Shelley Duncan made the team out of spring camp. His job was to play some 1st, DH and PH. He did nothing and was sent to Scranton, never to return. Cody Ransom, a 32 year old journeyman, was brought up as a utility guy. He has shown to be a versatile infielder and would be a welcome replacement for Betemit. Finally there is Alberto Gonzalez, (not the former US Attorney General), who was called up from the minors and got into 28 games filling in for Jeter and Cano before being traded to the Nationals.
Coming up next: The Outfield.