The New York Yankees 2013 offense was already slated to hit fewer home runs than they hit last year. With the loss of Curtis Granderson for the first month of the season, there is panic among the fans about how the Yankees are going to score.
After letting Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, and Russell Martin walk, the Yankees lost a combined 96 home runs and 279 RBIs from those players. If you add Granderson’s total to those numbers, they jump to a combined 139 home runs and 385 RBIs. Obviously a gigantic number. The combined batting averages of the players the Yankees lost was .243 (451/1,854), which is why I’m here to tell you there’s no need to be concerned about the Yankees expected reduced power numbers.
For everyone who thinks home runs are what wins championships, consider this stat. The San Francisco Giants hit the fewest home runs out of any team in the league last year with 103, 16 fewer than any other Major League Team. They were 5th in baseball in batting average, the Yankees were 8th. The Giants have also won 2 out of the past 3 World Series, including last season. Since 1996, the Yankees team batting average the year they won the World Series has been over .277. When it’s been lower, they haven’t won. The Yankees won the 1996 and 1999 World Series after hitting under 200 home runs over the course of the season. Their late 90s and early 2000s dynasty was based on a solid pitching rotation, hitting for a high average, and getting clutch hits. The San Francisco Giants have had exactly those elements without tremendous home run totals.
As for replacing Granderson for the first month of the season, the Yankees best move is to stick with what they have. They brought in former Atlanta Brave Matt Diaz, as well as Juan Rivera as backups. Diaz hasn’t been healthy for a few years, but is a career .291 career hitter. It wasn’t too long ago Diaz hit .338 for the Braves. They also brought back Juan Rivera to the team. He previously played for the Yankees from 2001-2003. Rivera is a career .274 hitter. I think manager Joe Girardi riding the hot bat between Diaz and Rivera should keep the Yankees afloat in left field for the first month of the season.
Saying that, there’s no need for the Yankees to make a big move here. Trading for Alfonso Soriano and his $18 million dollar salary would get a lot of people excited, but is completely unnecessary. Johnny Damon wants to come back, is willing to play for the league minimum, and would leave once Granderson returns. I would seriously consider Damon, but Brian Cashman has ruled him out as a possibility. There has also been some small talk about Grady Sizemore coming to New York. With Sizemore, I don’t know if you can trust him being out there and him getting the job done for one month. He hasn’t played more than 70 games since 2008 and didn’t play a single game last season. After his incredible 2008 season of 33 home runs, and 38 stolen bases, he’s done nothing. If Granderson was going to be out until the All-Star break, then I could see bringing in Sizemore and potentially finding buried treasure out of him.
I expect this year’s Yankees offense to be much more dynamic than in years past with several hit and runs, more stolen bases and more clutch hits. I would be shocked to see another playoffs where the Yankees hit .188 as a team, which was the worst ever by a team playing at least 7 games. With the current roster, I love Gardner coming back after playing only 16 games last year, Ichiro playing a full season, Youkilis getting on base all the time, Jeter having doubters again, and Cano being primed for a big year. To all the Yankees faithful concerned out there, the Yankees are back on track to have a team batting average above .277 and contend for number title 28.
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