Bench, bench, and more bench is what New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman added right before the non-waiver trade deadline.
Will Cashman’s last minute moves help the team down the stretch?
Let’s hope so, but for now, we might as well get to know the two new Yankees hitters.
Other than adding Cleveland Indians pitcher Kerry Wood to help the bullpen, Cashman added fellow Indians outfielder Austin Kearns and Houston Astros first baseman Lance Berkman.
Austin Kearns is hitting .272 with eight home runs and 42 RBI, while stealing four bases in 84 games this season.
Kearns primary role is as the fourth outfielder, but he also brings another right-handed bat to the lineup.
Kearns is used to playing everyday and is very useful anywhere on the field, but watch to see him play against lefty pitching.
It will help Curtis Granderson, who is becoming an almost automatic out against lefties.
Five-time All-Star Lance Berkman will primarily fill in as the Yankees designated hitter and sometimes first baseman to give Mark Teixeira the day off.
Berkman is 34 years old and is known as “The Big Puma."
Berkman has been with the Houston Astros his entire career, so he's excited to play for a team that is contending. Berkman is hitting .245 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI in 85 games this season.
Collectively, there are negatives for both Kearns and Berkman.
The two players are both very familiar with being on the disabled list.
Kearns and Berkman are almost worse than Yankee virus Nick Johnson. From knee to elbow, there has been a lot wrong with both men since day one, which brings many reasons to worry.
Nick Johnson, who replaced 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, has been on the disabled list since early May with no return in site. This might go down as one of the dumbest moves Cashman has ever made, but that is for another time.
Kearns is almost 30 and Berkman is 34, so neither is a youngster anymore.
After watching Berkman replace Tex at first against the Rays on Sunday, his defense left me absolutely uneasy.
Even though the Yankees lost 3-0, Berkman’s lack of skills were the reason for two of the runs scored. One was a ball over his head, and the other a textbook scoop up that Tex would have made without question.
Kearns also got right in the mix at the plate, but he was more a disruption because he did nothing to benefit the team.
Understandably, it takes a few games to start to feel like you are part of a team but if only Yankees fans could see it that way.
I am staying optimistic as experts, fans, and even the Yankees haters over at ESPN.
Everyone has praised what Cashman did for the team by picking up Kearns, Berkman, and Wood (who I will tell a tale about in another post).
The saying does still go, “Age Before Beauty” and the Yankees seem to have this as their unofficial team motto still.
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