Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sometimes the easiest, most obvious answer is the one right in front you. Despite all the Yankees' troubles this season, they still have a shot at the playoffs. The starting rotation has been decimated, the offense has been lackluster for much of the season, and yet there is still a chance.

Getting the offense going is and has always been the key to this year's Yankees, and a simple lineup change could do wonders. For much of the year, Jacoby Ellsbury has been masquerading as a No. 3 hitter, it's safe to assume that's not what Brian Cashman had in mind when he signed the former Red Sox outfielder to a seven-year, $142 million contract this past offseason.

Brett Gardner -- who is having a career year -- has hit first all season. Followed by Gardner has been Derek Jeter, who in his final season, has been underwhelming at the plate, and that's putting it lightly. This was supposed to be a year-long farewell to Jeter, but his power has been nonexistent.

In August, as the Yankees were trying to catch Seattle and Detroit for the second Wild Card spot, Jeter hit .207 with four extra base hits, while Ellsbury was absolutely on fire. For the month, Ellsbury hit .324/.366/.539 with five home runs, 16 RBIs with five doubles, one triple and 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts.  

Martin Prado and his .466 slugging percentage have fit in nicely at the No. 3 spot followed by Brian McCann, Mark Texiera and Carlos Beltran have made the Yankees offense good enough at this time. Jeter batting second with his inability to hit the ball in the air has just a .312 slugging percentage is unacceptable at this time.

I wanted Jeter's final year to be a great last hurrah as much as the next guy, but he hasn't been the same since he broke his ankle in the first game of the 2012 ALCS. Given Girardi's relationship with the aging star, it's not surprising that he's sticking with No. 2, but that has to stop now.

For 20 years Jeter has professed to not care about personal statistics, if that is the case and there is no reason to doubt his team-first stance, then he should have no problem dropping down to the No. 7 spot in the lineup. This isn't A-Rod dropping to No. 7 by Joe Torre in the 2006 ALCS by any means.

The Yankees need for Jeter to move down in the lineup for the sake of the team. Masahiro Tanaka is on pace to return to the mound later this month to join Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda and surprise additions' Shane Greene and Brandon McCarthy.

Sure, they trail Detroit/Kansas City by four games for the second Wild Card, and they would have to win a game just to get to the Division Series, but the playoffs aren't out of reach.

It's time for Girardi to stop looking at his shortstop like the future first-ballot Hall of Famer that he is, but a 40-year-old with no power, who is no longer fit to hit second for a contending team. It's a cold truth to swallow, but Father Time is undefeated in matters such as these.


Post a Comment