Now that we know Nick Johnson will be out until July due to undergoing wrist surgery, we need to assess the DH situation for the Yankees and determine how they should approach it.
The first choice, the “logical” one so to speak, is for the team to stomach Randy Winn in left (he’s actually hitting well in May (.822 OPS going into last night’s game in a super small sample size) while using a DH platoon of Marcus Thames vs. left handed pitching and Juan Miranda vs. right handed pitching. For some reason, though, Juan Miranda has gotten few PAs since being recalled last week. If he’s not going to be DHing against right handed pitchers, why is he even with the team? Either start using him, or send him back down to Scranton.
The second choice is one that I wasn’t wild about at first, but eventually I came around to it. At this point, it makes sense for the Yankees to call up a third catcher–Chad Moeller in this case–to be the back up catcher and let Francisco Cervelli catch full time while Jorge Posada DHs. Frankie is hitting really well right now and, defensively, he’s the best option behind the plate the Yankees have. At this point in the season, Posada is hitting well enough to justify DHing, so they won’t take much of a hit. It also saves him from catching until Johnson returns. The downside, of course, is that Cervelli isn’t going to hit this well all season. When he cools down, this lineup may not look as strong. If and when this happens, though, option one can be implemented while Posada moves back behind the plate (assuming he’s healthy enough to do so).
Option three is a trade or the free agent market. I’d guess the Yankees wouldn’t pursue this because there are “free” ways to fill in at DH. If they do turn to the markets, though, there’s a few options. Jermaine Dye is one and is probably a better option because he doesn’t require a forfeiture of prospects. Next, there are trade candidates Lance Berkman and Derek Lee. Meh. I like these guys a lot; they’re very good hitters. But, chances are the Yankees won’t want to give up prospects for a partial season of a DH. Taking that into consideration, other teams will probably put up better packages.
Knowing the Yankees, and having a general sense of roster construction, I’d say the Yankees are likely to go to option one because they probably won’t want to keep three catchers on the 25 man roster and don’t want to give up anything of value for not-a-whole-season of a DH. Hopefully, though, the Yankees go with option two. It optimizes catcher defense, doesn’t leave a hole in the offense, and saves Jorge’s aging legs for at least a time.
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