3 New York Yankees Players Trying to Save Their Jobs for 2015
Not everyone's job is safe in the Bronx.
It has been a disappointing season for the New York Yankees, and that has some already looking ahead to next year. Changes are bound to occur in 2015, and rightfully so. The 2014 team has an abundance of issues, which means some modifications are in order.
Some players, like a few of the starting pitchers who have filled in for an injury-plagued rotation, are making the case to keep their jobs come next year. Others, like several underachieving hitters, are doing everything they can to give their jobs away.
For some, the choice as to whether or not they fulfill the same role next season may be out of their hands.
So, who on the Yankees is playing for their job in 2015? Take a look at which players are on the verge of winning back their spots and which are on the brink of losing them.
Greene, like other fill-in starters in a Yankees rotation that has been decimated by injuries, has been a pleasant surprise.
With pedestrian numbers in Triple-A, Greene’s call-up was based on a need for arms and came with little expectations. However, the rookie has excelled, going 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA in eight games (seven starts).
In 43.1 innings pitched, Greene has posted 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings and is holding opposing hitters to a .235 average.
With Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka and David Phelps all missing time this year with various injuries, Greene has really stepped up. He deserves a chance to win a permanent spot in the rotation come 2015.
If all goes according to plan, Sabathia and Nova will be back at full health at some point next season, but as for Opening Day, well, that remains to be seen.
The Yankees are praying Tanaka can avoid Tommy John surgery and pitch again in 2014, but if he does elect to go through with the procedure, he would likely miss all of next year.
It is also likely that Hiroki Kuroda will retire and/or go back to Japan.
Chris Capuano and Brandon McCarthy will both be free agents.
That means there should be one—if not more—open spots in the starting rotation at the beginning of 2015. If Greene continues to pitch the way he has been, his name should be considered when it comes time to fill out the staff.
Since then, Capuano has followed suit alongside other pitchers who were previously fill-ins and no-names such as Greene and McCarthy, surprising just about everyone.
While Capuano’s numbers are not nearly as impressive as the other two's—he has a 0-2 record and 4.15 ERA in five starts as a member of the Bombers—Capuano has been consistent at keeping the team in games.
He has gone at least five innings in every one of his Yankees starts and has yet to allow more than four earned runs.
He has been steady and consistent, and the Yanks could not ask for more considering their injury situation.
Thanks in part to a lamentable Yankees offense and some bad luck, Capuano has yet to pick up a win with New York. The Yankees are just 1-4 in his starts, failing to score more than four runs in each of the losses.
Unlike Greene, Capuano is a 10-year veteran who is undoubtedly overachieving, pitching above the level that has come to be expected of him given his track record. With several other options, it is unlikely that he will be a member of the starting rotation next year.
However, if he maintains his consistency, the Yankees may just be forced to keep him around in one way or another. That, or the lefty could earn himself a decent contract from another club in free agency.
When the Yankees acquired Drew from the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline, his arrival in the Bronx prompted several questions.
Naturally a shortstop, speculation immediately began as to whether or not the 31-year-old would become the heir apparent to Derek Jeter.
However, with The Captain still manning the position in 2014, the Yankees gave Drew the challenge of learning second base—an entirely new position to him—in hopes he would be an upgrade over the deplorable Brian Roberts.
Needless to say, the Yankees were hoping for more out of Drew.
After failing to land a big deal in free agency this past winter, Drew sat out the first few months of the 2014. He signed on with the Sox for the remainder of the season in May, getting a late start to his campaign.
Perhaps the missed time is to blame for the underwhelming numbers he has put up.
In 54 total games, Drew is hitting .170 with four homers and 18 runs knocked in. His numbers as a Yankee are just as poor, as he has gone 8-for-51 with four RBI in 15 games.
If Drew hopes to stay in New York, he best turn things around, and quickly. The Yankees will have other options to choose from when it comes to Jeter’s replacement, as J.J. Hardy, Asdrubal Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez and other notable shortstops will be free agents at season’s end.
With Martin Prado under contract and Rob Refsnyder tearing up Triple-A, the team will have other alternatives at second as well.
The Futures of Others
For some players on this Yankees team, their performance the rest of the way will have little impact on their job security. Instead, their contractual situations—as well as those of their current teammates—will determine whether or not they return to the Yankees in their current capacity.
As bad as Beltran has been, his job is not in jeopardy.
The 37-year-old is easily having the worst year of what has been a terrific 17-year career, batting a measly .233 with a .291 on-base percentage.
But after signing a three-year, $45 million deal this past winter, Beltran is not going anywhere. If he is healthy, he will be in the Yankees' starting lineup come Opening Day in 2015, whether it be as an outfielder or designated hitter.
The Yankees will have to hope this year is just a bad one rather than the start of his decline.
The trade for Headley was a savvy move by general manager Brian Cashman, as it gave the Yankees a strong defensive third baseman who potentially could jump-start the offense for minimal cost.
However, Cashman referred to Headley—a free agent after the season—as a rental at the time of the deal, and it is likely that is all he will be.
With Prado under contract and a certain suspended third baseman slated to come back, the Yankees will have more than enough players capable of playing the hot corner in 2015. Shelling out a big free-agent deal to Headley just does not make sense.
Robertson has been stellar this season, especially considering he is replacing Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in baseball history.
Robertson will be a free agent at the end of the year but has not had any serious talks with the Yankees about a new contract.
That could be because of the emergence of setup man Dellin Betances, who is boasting a 1.46 ERA this season. The two have drawn comparisons to the 1996 tandem that saw Rivera set up and then succeed closer John Wetteland.
What the Yankees will likely do is offer Robertson a one-year qualifying offer.
If he accepts, he will be back taking the hill in the ninth come 2015. If not, the Yankees will be content promoting the cheap and controllable Betances while receiving draft pick compensation when Robertson signs elsewhere.
All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.com and are accurate as of the end of play on August 20, 2014.