10 Biggest Disappointments for the New York Yankees so Far
At 38-31, the New York Yankees have gotten lucky so far this season. Not often does a ragtag group of veterans past their respective primes come together to win ballgames like they did for the Yankees in April and May.
Unfortunately, June has not been as kind. The team is 7-8 this month after finishing a brutal West Coast trip that saw them go 4-6. A sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics was tough to swallow, but losing a series (2-1) to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim should not sit well with the club.
Disappointment seems to be a trend with the Yankees over the past month or so, but there are some players who have been disappointing since early on. Many of these players have been given countless chances to succeed, but their inconsistencies have prevented them from playing well.
Picking just 10 disappointments for the Yankees was actually pretty difficult. There are multiple players who could qualify as disappointments that did not make the cut.
Being a disappointment for this slideshow hinges on a few different things. On-field production is obviously a key component, as are health and reliability. This list was constructed with those criteria in mind.
*Note: Alex Rodriguez is not included in the upcoming slides. He's deserving of an article all his own.
The Yankees liked what they saw from Ichiro Suzuki over 67 games last season enough to sign him to a new two-year contract over the offseason.
Ichiro has appeared in 63 games this season, and it doesn't appear as if he's lived up to the contract just yet. His .265/.308/.338 line is a far cry from the Ichiro of old and certainly isn't deserving of the two-year pact he signed.
Never known for his power, Ichiro's two home runs, six doubles and two triples are exceptionally low—even for his standards. His 11 RBI have essentially made him useless in the run production category.
He still plays a very good outfield and does have nine stolen bases, so Ichiro isn't completely useless just yet. The Yankees will likely look to keep him in a starting role this season in hopes that he'll improve. If he doesn't, then he could become a very pricey fourth outfielder in 2014.
Mark Teixeira was injured, then returned for a few weeks and now appears to be headed back to the disabled list. Nothing's official yet, but it's probably the best course of action for both the team and Teixeira.
Teixeira was both good and bad in the 15 games he played. He managed to hit three home runs and drive in 12, but hit a putrid .151/.270/.340. Needless to say, this is not what the Yankees expected to happen after he hurt himself in spring training.
Lyle Overbay has manned first base in his stead and, while Overbay hasn't been horrible, there's no replacing Teixeira's production. Offensively, he's a top-10 first baseman. Defensively, there may not be anyone better.
Teixeira's run production will be sorely missed should he hit the DL again, just as it had been for the 54 games prior.
General manager Brian Cashman issued some discouraging words regarding Kevin Youkilis recently, saying that "I'm not planning on him [returning] until they tell me I can plan on him."
That uncertainty, coupled with his poor production when healthy, make his $12 million salary for this season seem like a giant waste of money. He still has time to prove himself, but injuries have debilitated the aging third baseman.
His back issues have likely been the cause of his struggles at the plate. He's hitting just .219/.305/.343 with two home runs and eight RBI in 105 at-bats. That production, even projected over a full season, is not at all worth $12 million.
Even if he finishes the season strong, that salary will make his 2013 season an overall disappointment.
Curtis Granderson has been hit with a spell of bad luck so far this season. He's played in just eight games after breaking his forearm in spring training and breaking his pinky after making his return.
A free agent at season's end, Granderson was certainly hoping to get more out of what could end up being his final season in pinstripes.
He has one homer and one RBI with a line of .250/.323/.393 through those eight games and actually looked as if he was comfortable at the plate. While he may strike out a ton, there's no doubting the fact that his power numbers would have been a welcome addition to an otherwise lackluster lineup.
Granderson doesn't have a lengthy history of injury, so this is likely just a freak coincidence. Regardless, it's disappointing.
Had Vernon Wells been hitting this poorly all season long, he wouldn't be labeled as a disappointment. That type of production was what was expected of the veteran outfielder, so calling it a disappointment wouldn't have been fair.
After starting his Yankee career on a scorching hot tear, Wells' May (.221) and June (.122) have been miserable. He ended April with a .300 batting average and six home runs. His production has gone from incredible to miserable.
Wells wasn't acquired for much over the offseason, and his April surge shows that he at least has something left in the tank. Wells has always had the natural talent to bust out of slumps, but the slump he's been in the past several seasons could just be his average campaign nowadays.
Brian Cashman believed in him enough to make a trade, but he's been very disappointing since his stellar April.
Eduardo Nunez/Chris Nelson/Alberto Gonzalez/Reid Brignac
The Yankees have gotten absolutely zero production from the reserve infielder's spot on the roster. An exorbitant number of players have gotten opportunities to perform, and none have been able to secure the role.
Eduardo Nunez started the season in the role, but his inconsistencies in the field and at the plate made him a liability. His injury gave the Yankees the perfect excuse to pursue other options.
Chris Nelson did no better, tallying just nine at-bats before the Yankees designated him for assignment. Alberto Gonzalez was next in line, but he was ousted after just nine at-bats (and a pitching appearance) as well.
Reid Brignac has held down the position for a relatively outstanding 40 at-bats, though he has just four hits and 17 strikeouts.
It's time for the Yankees to either move on yet again or permanently give the job to a minor leaguer until Nunez is ready to return.
Ivan Nova has simply not been the same pitcher since his breakout 16-4 rookie season in 2011. Last season's 5.02 ERA and this season's 5.16 ERA prove just that.
Nova has been so inconsistent for manager Joe Girardi that he was sent down to Triple-A after returning from the disabled list in favor of David Phelps (who, to his credit, has pitched quite well).
The young right-hander should still have a few more opportunities to pitch in New York, but they may not come this season. Barring a major trade or injury, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Phelps will comprise the rotation, with Michael Pineda offering insurance when he's healthy.
A stint in Triple-A is probably the best for Nova at this stage in his young career. This wake-up call should get Nova working hard on honing his craft as a pitcher who doesn't overpower hitters and works off contact most of the time.
Given his expectations as a regular contributor in spring training, his 2013 has been a disappointment.
Phil Hughes is the epitome of inconsistency. He has great starts and follows them with absolutely terrible ones. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild must have a field day trying to figure out what the problem is with Hughes on a game-by-game basis.
The impending free agent owns a 4.89 ERA over 70 innings. The bloated ERA is a direct result of the 13 home runs he's allowed. Hughes has never been a stranger to giving up the long ball, but he's on pace to allow around 30 home runs—second only to last season's 35.
Yankee Stadium is not friendly to Hughes, who owns a home ERA of 6.52 this season. Hughes may have been a top prospect back in the day, but that ship has sailed—and it may be time for a change of scenery.
His inconsistencies have hurt what could be a promising career. Until he can string several strong starts together, he'll be labeled as a disappointment.
If you're looking for inconsistency and an ego that has fans all over sharing their disgust, then look no further than one-time bullpen savior Joba Chamberlain. Sure, the Yankees hurt his development by never giving him a defined role, but pitching is pitching.
His 5.74 ERA in 15.2 innings is terrible, and his 2:1 SO/BB ratio could stand to improve. His WHIP of 1.787 is so high it's unheard of. Chamberlain, a free agent at the end of 2014 who is eligible for his final year of arbitration following the season, could be gone sooner rather than later.
The Yankees could look to deal him, or they could simply look to designate him for assignment. Either way, his performance doesn't deserve a spot in the bullpen.
His spot could easily be occupied by a much more deserving candidate, Mark Montgomery. Montgomery currently pitches for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but should be able to make the jump to the majors once he returns from the minor league DL.
Shawn Kelley has struck out an impressive 40 batters in 26.2 innings, but his 4.78 ERA leaves much to be desired. It's not a case of allowing too many baserunners, as his 1.177 WHIP is actually respectable.
The problem with Kelley is his propensity to give up the long ball. He's already allowed five home runs, the same number he allowed in 44.1 innings last season with the Seattle Mariners.
His potential to strike batters out will keep him as a member of Joe Girardi's bullpen, but there may come a time where the risk of allowing home runs out of the bullpen stunts his opportunities. In close games, the last thing any manager wants to do is put in a pitcher who can allow the game to be broken open.
Kelley was a decent acquisition for New York, but his inability to keep the ball in the park makes him a liability on the mound—even if he strikes out 13.7 batters per nine innings.