For every team, there are guys worth keeping and guys that have worn out their welcome. For the New York Yankees, the biggest player to wear out their welcome is Ramiro Pena. Pena has never been what the Yankees expected to be in the majors, hence why he is always in Triple-A. Eduardo Nunez is the second man that comes to mind. While he may have been considered to be Derek Jeter’s successor someday, it just isn’t meant to be. Freddy Garcia has just been there as a back-up option and really, what benefit is it to us to have a man who can barely pitch relief at times, let alone start? The last guy the Yankees can part ways with after this season is Andruw Jones. He’s old, he can’t hit as good as he used to and we just have no use for older platoon players that have no production to offer us, especially when we face major injuries, much like with Brett Gardner. These four men are guys the Yankees should just cut their losses with because not only are there better players out there, but we have players in our farm leagues who need their time to shine as well.
First off, let’s start with Ramiro Pena. Pena really has contributed nothing offensively or defensively in his three years of going between the majors and minors. In his three years, Pena has a .233 overall batting average with two home runs, 32 RBIs and 40 runs. One thing that is somewhat impressive is that he is a base stealer (11 stolen bases overall). 2009 was easily his best year so far, but since then his stats have dropped off completely. He’s 26 and really, if he’s struggling this much in the MLB, he’s never going to be what the Yankees were hoping. So far in 2012, Pena is struggling mightily in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, only batting .229 with one home run and 17 RBIs. Defensively, Pena has a lot of room to improve. He’s committed eight errors inside of 154 total chances, which translates to a fielding percentage of .948. Infield isn’t the easiest place to play, but he should be better considering his experience in the field. At this point, if Pena cannot step his game up, he’s just a waste of space on the 40-man roster.
Eduardo Nunez may be one out of the four players mentioned that will probably get the most support from fans. While Nunez has swung a decent bat during his time in the majors, his defense leaves something, actually a lot, to be desired. When Nunez filled in for Jeter in 2011, he committed 14 errors inside of 161 chances at shortstop. Overall in 2011, he committed 20 errors. Nunez’s bat may be his only redeeming quality for now, but even that’s uncertain. In 2011, Nunez did bat .265 with five home runs and 30 RBIs inside of 309 at bats. Nunez has to improve defensively and at 25, he has some time to do that before the infield starts to become filled with newer players on a consistent basis. Nunez’s struggles not only at shortstop, but at third base are very concerning. The Yankees have other options such as Corban Joseph or David Adams (both who have yet to play at the major league level) if Nunez is unable to brush up tremendously on his defense. A good bat is great and all, but if he continues to make ridiculous errors, the Yankees should look elsewhere.
With the rise of Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes, the rotation has been looking very good. The bullpen has also been very solid and Freddy Garcia has really not been a part of any of it. Garcia started off 2012 horrible, going 0-2 in April with an ERA of 12.51 and was pushed into the bullpen. With how well our bullpen has been doing, it still makes me nervous to see him warm up. Garcia, 36, is by no means young, and it’s pretty safe to assume his best years are behind him. He’s struggled in recent years (granted his ERA was 3.62 last season) and I just don’t see the need to keep him beyond 2012. With Michael Pineda and David Aardsma coming back next year (though who knows how they’ll rebound after surgery) and eventually Joba Chamberlain finding his role in the pen again, there’s going to be no room left for a struggling Garcia. He’s done okay after April, but there’s really no need to keep him after October.
The last Yankee we can part ways with is Andruw Jones. By no means is Jones a bad player, but like Garcia, his best years have come and gone. While noted for his 10 Gold Gloves, his bat has produced less and less as the years have passed. Jones is a good defensive player, but his bat sometimes has a hole in it. The Yankees have been fortunate enough with Gardner gone for awhile that Raul Ibanez has stepped it up in left field, something Jones really has had a hard time doing this season. I never understood making him the DH either, because this year, Jones is batting .185 with runners in scoring position and it’s just really abysmal to keep his bat in the line-up if he can’t come through in the clutch anymore. On the year, Jones is batting .229 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs. Yes, he’s a platoon player, but if he wants to seriously contend for a DH spot or even keep his platoon role, his offensive production must increase tremendously, which I don’t see happening anytime soon.
Are these four players bad? No, but the Yankees have no need to keep them beyond this year. Pena, when given his opportunities, never really created a spark or a ‘wow’ factor that would give him considerable playing time. Even in Triple-A he’s struggling, so if he can’t compete with the guys in the minors, what makes anyone think he’ll turn it around magically in the MLB? Nunez has had many opportunities in his time up here to show the Yankees what he can do in a role that he was supposedly going to inherit someday. However, with those opportunities, Nunez has shown us that he is either not capable of the fast reactions required in the infield, or he’s years away from learning how to play the positions. Garcia and Jones are veteran players who have got to call it quits sooner than later. I understand a guy might have some more baseball left in him, but with the results they’ve been producing in the past few years and even into this year, they aren’t turning it around. There are plenty of others guys the Yankees can choose from to take over these roles, so it will be interesting to see what will happen with these players after the season ends.