Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Five Yankees That Don't Deserve to Don the Pinstripes

The 2014 New York Yankees (41-42) are a bad team.
They’re not a mediocre team, not a below-average team, nor are they a struggling-for-the-time-being team. They are a cringe-worthy, head-shaking, throw-your-remote-at-the-television, reeking-pile-of-garbage bad team. 

And the only consolation is that the Boston Red Sox are even worse.

Okay, maybe I shouldn't have started writing this immediately after the Yankees lost their fifth straight game, a 6-3 defeat by the Tampa Bay Rays, but the hell with it, I'm going to keep fuming. 

The Yankees have one starter who knows how to pitch, the most miserable, range-less infield in the league, and a lineup so anemic and un-clutch that I have come to expect failure from them, and any bit of offensive success has come as more of a surprise than Aaron Hernandez winning Sportsman of the Year. (Fine, that last one may have been an overstatement.)

It doesn’t matter that the American League East is the weakest division in baseball this year. It doesn’t matter that the Yankees are only 4 ½ games out with half the season left to play. It is far enough into the schedule to feel that this Yankees team isn’t going to have what it takes to make the playoffs.

In fact, this “team” isn’t even worthy of that noun as a description.

The 2014 Yankees have shown to be no more than a collection of overpaid, over-aged, fireless individuals who seem more than happy to collect their paychecks and offer the same tiresome answers game after game about their struggles—something along the lines of “We’ve done it before. We believe we can still do it. Look at the back of our baseball cards.”

Well, it’s more than halfway through the season, and when the new baseball cards are printed by Topps this winter, there’s a strong chance many Yankees will no longer be able to say “look at the back of my baseball card” because the numbers next to the 2014 line won’t be something to fall back on. 

I would love for the Yanks to prove me wrong, but this season seems beyond repair, and all I have to say is: thank God for Masahiro Tanaka. Without this guy, most Yankee fans wouldn’t have a reason to watch this sorry excuse of a New York Yankees “team.”

Of course, none of these words apply to Derek Jeter. He’s a living legend who has worn the pinstripes impeccably and deserves better than this for his for final season. (2015 is going to be something bizarre.)

Being a New York Yankee and donning those pinstripes comes with a certain level of expected performance.

But somehow, there are players that don’t even deserve to be in the Major Leagues putting on the most sacred uniform in all of baseball on a daily basis.

Somewhere, at some Starbucks in Seattle, Robinson Cano is laughing. 

Here are five players that don’t deserve to don the pinstripes:

1. Kelly Johnson (.218, 5 HR, 19 RBI)

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but after watching Johnson blunder his way through the first half of the season, it makes me long for the days of the A-Rod circus. 

We knew Johnson wouldn’t come close to replicating A-Rod’s numbers (diminished as they were). And we knew he would be making a transition to a position (3B/1B) that he had never played before. 

But the power numbers everyone thought he would put up with the short-porch in right field at Yankee Stadium simply aren’t there, and watching this guy field has been downright painful at times.

My Little League first baseman would have made this pick at firstbut not Johnson.

I didn’t expect much from a man named Kelly, but watching him play has been utterly brutal. 

2.  Alfonso Soriano (.225, 6 HR, 23 RBI)

At 38 years of age, you expected a drop in production, but not this much. After jolting the Yankees at the trade deadline in 2013, Soriano’s bat looks slow, his swing looks long, and his pitch recognition has been completely nonexistent. 

The whole world knows a two-strike slider is coming his way—except for Soriano. Alfonso has had some of the ugliest strikeouts in the league this season. This pie chart breaks it down pretty accurately.

3.  Vidal Nuno (2-5, 5.42 ERA)

You know things are bad with the Yankees’ rotation when a guy who was pitching in the Frontier League (the Frontier League?) for the Washington Wild Things as recently as 2011 is getting the ball every five days. 

And every five days, I feel like I’m watching a home run derby. Nuno has given up 15 home runs. His numbers speak for themselves: 2-5 with a 5.42 ERA with only 3 quality starts out of 14.

If and when CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda finally return, or the Yankees make a trade for an arm, you can be sure Nuno will be the first to go. His days donning the Yankee pinstripes are limited. 

4. Yangervis Solarte (.260, 6 HR, 30 RBI)

This career minor-leaguer shot out of the gate with a bang and essentially carried the Yankees offense for most of April and May batting .299 with 6 homers and 26 RBI.

But then he showed why he has been a career minor-leaguer, going through a 10-for-61 (.164) slump in June with no homers and only 4 RBI. 

The Yankees must have read this post, because after writing it, sure enough, Solarte was sent back down to the minors and is no longer wearing the pinstripes. 

Your energy and awesome name will be missed, Solo. 

5. Brian Roberts (.237, 4 HR, 17 RBI)

Everyone knew that Roberts would be no Robby Cano, but I expected more than what Brian has brought with the bat thus far.

His batting average with two outs and runners in scoring position (the situation which has haunted the Yankees all season long) is the worst on the team at a pathetic .148. 

Like his stature, his range at second base is miniscule. If I have to watch one more ball go just over his leaping try, I’m going to personally send him a pair of shoe lifts myself. 

Let’s hope another Rob (ascending Yankees’ Triple-A prospect Rob Refsnyder) takes Roberts place soon enough. 

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