Yankees' first-half grades: Offense desperate for the injured to return
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Well, there's Robinson Cano, who leads the club in average (.302), OBP (.386), slugging (.531), homers (21), RBIs (65), hits (107), runs (53) and walks (48). But after that . . . not good. Certainly not enough consistency. The Yankees rank 13th in the AL in HRs (88), OBP (.307) and slugging (.376) and 11th in runs (373). The numbers are an indication the contributions of players such as Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay peaked early in the season. They are desperate for the ASAP returns of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson.
The Yankees rank third in the AL in overall ERA (3.74) and starter ERA (3.96) and fourth in reliever ERA (3.27). The rotation carried the club much of the first two months of the season but experienced hiccups over the final month. The bullpen has been, except for Joba Chamberlain, outstanding. Chamberlain lost the seventh-inning job he held at the start of the season, but Shawn Kelley and rookie Preston Claiborne have teamed up to steady that inning, as has lefty Boone Logan. David Robertson and Mariano Rivera comprise the best eighth-ninth inning combination in the game.
Given the injuries to past Gold Glovers Rodriguez, Jeter and Mark Teixeira, the work of the infield has been solid. Overbay doesn't make the spectacular play as often as Teixeira but mostly makes all the plays he should. Although utility infielders Jayson Nix, Alberto Gonzalez, Luiz Cruz and David Adams didn't produce much at the plate, they've fielded reasonably well. Eduardo Nuñez has five errors in limited time and the Yankees can only hope that isn't the continuation of fielding issues they thought were solved in spring training. The outfield has been mostly average to above average.
Grade: B -
Joe Girardi, about once a week, gets asked if he feels this has been his best managing job, and it's hard to argue it hasn't been. Girardi usually deflects the question, saying "it's about the players." But, even as the injuries mounted and All-Star after All-Star stacked up on the DL, Girardi sent the message, publicly and privately, that "we expect to win," and his club, though stubbing its toe more than a few times, made it to the break 51-44 and in the thick of the wild-card hunt. It's a players' game, as the saying goes, but Girardi should get some credit for a steadying hand and unwavering expressions of confidence.
Frustrated fans wanted GM Brian Cashman to have done something about this offense yesterday, but it's not as simple as declaring "I need a bat," and teams lining up to trade you one. And it certainly isn't simple replacing injured All-Stars, and the journeymen suddenly thrust into everyday-player roles have done OK to this point. Ultimately, Cashman will be judged on what moves he makes before, and even after, the trade deadline and the team's standing at season's end.