Second base is one of positions where the Yankees have a long-term solution. Everyone here should know who it is. But for those few naïve fellows, it Robbie Cano don’tcha know! He is here, and here to stay for a very, very long time. He brings very good defense and some of the best offense in the league.
Cano is on pace to hit about 30 homeruns. Also, he is one point behind Justin Morneau in batting average and seventh place for the American lead for RBIs. Clearly, he is one of the most elite batters in the league.
So let’s get to a more debatable topic. Who should be the backup? Currently both Ramiro Pena and Kevin Russo fill that position, but neither of them are having great success.
Both Russo and Pena are obviously not producing. Their defense hasn’t been spectacular either, especially considering that is supposed to be Ramiro’s specialty.
On the offensive side of ball, Pena has never hit. There is a very real possibility that this is his real hitting abilities. It seems as though Ramiro would hit closer to .230 or something like that, but it would surprise few if it what he’s showing. If so, there is no room for him on the bench or for the future. Sure, he usually has a great glove at short, but no glove will save a bat that hits below .200. Right now, Pena has no place on the team, especially with his more average defense.
Russo is producing just slightly more, though not a significant difference. Quickly becoming a fan favorite in his first few games for a clutch hit, he disappeared just as quickly. His stats in the minors suggest that he will be able to hit decently in the majors, as a backup. It would seem that Russo should be able to manage a batting average of at least .250, which is fine. While his defense isn’t as good Pena’s usually is, it is more than passable and his ability to play a wide variety of positions only helps his case. If I were Girardi, I would keep him, hoping he figures out the hitting thing.
In the Minor Leagues, there does not seem to be much, if any ready backups. However there are two interesting prospects who are worth mentioning, even though they won’t reach the Bronx this year. Those guys are of course David Adams and Corban Joseph. Let’s have a brief look at them.
David Adams reminds me of Dustin Pedroia. I know, that’s a lofty expectation for a guy far from the major leagues, but he’s a gritty guy with talent and a smaller size. He constantly works on his game and has the ability for high teen home run totals, with the possibility of a 20 home runs. He won’t win a batting title but he won’t hit for an average close to Ramiro Pena.
Corban Joseph, whose name I love by the way, is a offensive threat. His stats don’t jump out, but it’s the minor leagues, look at his game-by-game stats. They are more impressive. Corban’s position could be a topic for debate in the future, but his offense should find him another one. He had always been a personal favorite prospect, but we will just have go wait and see on these guys. Currently in Trenton, there is possibility Joesph could reach the big leagues next year. Should A-Rod have an issue, possibly with his hip, next year, Joseph could get a call. Well since these two guys won’t help the big team this year, let’s look at some possible trade targets.
These guys aren’t going to blow you away, they should be expensive either. The most impressive guy in Ty Wigginton. He is an All-Star this year, and deserves it. He has some offensive skills, isn’t a star, and offers some position flexibility. However he will be expensive because of both his performance and the fact that he is on the division rival Orioles. I wouldn’t even bother trying for him. The O’s are looking for a young shortstop and they like Eduardo NuneZ. I would just hang up, I wouldn’t give up a young shortstop having a breakout year while Jeter isn’t getting any younger. Unless Baltimore wants Pena, just say no!
There are plenty of other guys who will be available and likely only require a bleh prospect. There are guys like Adam Kennedy and Mark Grudzelanek. You can’t expect more and honestly, I don’t want much more. The guy will play once in a blue moon, when Cano needs a day off.
Second base is pretty well covered. Like most positions on the Yankees, they got an Alpha-Dog in Cano. Russo should be able to improve and become a useful backup. Pena could improve and his defense should definitely improve, at least at short. There are two intriguing prospects in David Adams and Corban Joseph. The Yankees shouldn’t rush out to overspend on a bench option for this position, especially since the guy they get won’t add a good bat to be bench. Just stay put, Cano will play almost every inning for the rest of the year, excluding any end of the year rest and an injury.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this edition of State of the Yankees! Join us next time when I will discuss the shortstop situation, which you know will be interesting!