New York Yankees: Not Time for Drastic Change, Not Yet at Least

Rich StoweAnalyst IIIMay 3, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01:  Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by his teammate Derek Jeter #2 after his three run homer in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 1, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Derek Jeter stinks offensively this year, plain and simple.  His two best hits have been doubles, but they were ground ball doubles.

Brett Gardner has more home runs than Jeter and Nick Swisher combined, but his OBP is .325 and he's only stolen at a 50 percent success rate in 2011 (4-for-8).

Phil Hughes has zero velocity and it's nothing physical based on recent tests.

Rafael Soriano has an ERA over 6.50 and a WHIP over 1.70.

These facts have New York Yankees fans up in arms yelling for the lineup to be shaken up and I have even seen Jesus Montero-for-Erik Bedard suggestions.  All I have to say is hold your horses.

Yes, there are aspects of the New York Yankees that have fans very concerned.  However, all those fans have to do is look at the standings of the American League East. 

If they do, they'll see that even with all these issues, the New York Yankees sit in first place. They sit three games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays and are 17-9 (a .654 winning percentage) on the season.

Even with Jeter looking like he needs to retire and Gardner looking like last year was a fluke, there's no need to panic.  Not yet at least.  The offense is doing just fine without their contributions, and provided it can continue, there's absolutely no need to make any changes. 

If they weren't winning games and scoring runs, I'd be concerned.  However, if the players mentioned above don't turn it around soon, then Joe Girardi will have to consider making drastic changes such as dropping Derek Jeter far down the order or even using Curtis Granderson as the leadoff hitter. 

I'm sure Brian Cashman is already making plans to trade for some hitter to bring in if the situation calls for it, but that time is not in May.

Yankee fans may be screaming for the lineup to be changed, but who do they suggest gets moved?  Granderson may be doing as well as he is solely because of where he's batting in the lineup and batting behind Posada helps Posada see better pitches. 

Moving Jeter down may only cause whoever he bats behind to get pitched around instead. Right now, Jeter is the one Yankee hitter a pitcher actually wants to face.  The lineup may not be perfect right now, but the Yankees are winning and that's all what matters.

The pitching rotation of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova have been pitching pretty well (or at least getting great run support). It's true that to expect Colon and Garcia to play the whole year at this level is probably asking a lot, but to even suggest trading for a player like Erik Bedard straight up for Jesus Montero  is just plain crazy. 

Yes, Montero's "bad spring" is making even the most diehard Yankees fan wonder if he was over-hyped and if we should get whatever we can for him now.  These people need to just relax a little.  Montero is still the number one prospect in the Yankees' system and he will not be traded straight up for anyone. 

If and when he is traded, it will be as part of a package deal to get the best pitcher available (and that won't be some over-the-hill former ace with major injury concerns or a back-end starter).  Replacing Hughes will be a concern, but as of right now, it's not.

So, just relax Yankees fans.  The team is comfortably in first place, even without offensive production from the top-of-the-lineup, a number two starter in place and MLB's richest set-up man pitching up to standard. 

It could be worse, just look at the Twins or White Sox; they're missing players and have under-performing players and they're 10 games or more back in the division.