It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these here at YGY, but as the 2013 season draws near you’ll be seeing this feature much more. As always we implore our community to join in on the discussion and give us their thoughts on the subjects we pose, and if you have a question you want us to discuss, by all means tell us in the comments below. This week’s question pertains to the injuries concerning Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira.
The injury that hurts the most for the New York Yankees is Mark Teixeira. A wrist is a lot tougher to heal than a forearm if you want to go from the medical perspective. As far as on the field goes, the Yankees don’t have a legitimate replacement at first base to compensate for Tex’s now-missing offense as well as his Gold Glove-caliber defense. Fans are quick to get on Tex because of the contract, but I can guarantee you by the end of April, the fan base will be hoping Tex comes back sooner rather than later. Plus, New York has an abundance of OF prospects who can fill in, like a Melky Mesa or a Zoilo Almonte, but they don’t have a first baseman that can fill in anytime soon.
When it comes to losing players, both of these will hurt, but ultimately, I think Tex’s loss will impact the Yankees more. Granderson will be replaced in the field by a superior defensive player in Brett Gardner, even if the offense will be down a tick. Don’t forget, even if the Yankees lose 40 homers (and 200 strikeouts), they might be able to save more with that defensive transition, and be able to tread water with any of the OF options currently in camp until Granderson returns. As for Tex, they will be using Kevin Youkilis — a third baseman by trade – to fill in at first, when his role on the team was actually to fill in at third. The lack of infield depth at first will hurt them more, as now they have to turn to another unknown player or (sigh) Eduardo Nunez to close the gap at third. In addition to losing his offense, the Yankees lose Teixeira’s defense, and that might hurt worse than Granderson.
Teixeira definitely hurts the team more because he is an all-around player. While Granderson provides a ton of pop, his defense is relatively shaky and he can be replaced. Tex on the other hand is a Gold Glove defender, and a constant force in the lineup. Even if Tex does have notoriously bad starts, he makes the team so much deeper as a whole, and it’s almost impossible to find somebody within the system to replace him. Both injuries hurt, but losing Teixeira hurts more.
This is a really difficult question. These two were essentially the same players last season with sub 3.0 WAR and 116 wRC+. The only major difference is Granderson will hit more home runs, but Teixeira will strikeout less. Granderson struck out 28.5% of the time last year in comparison to Teixeira’s 15.8%. The loss of Teixeira is probably more hurtful due to the fact that the team has no one to replace him right away. Granderson’s injury opened up a wide range of options, but with the Teixeira injury I don’t see many options to take over for him.
Tex’s injury worries me much more than Granderson’s. Wrist injuries have a nasty habit of diminishing power, and really, that is much of his value nowadays. Further, his defense makes the entire infield better, just ask Derek Jeter. With respect to Granderson, who doesn’t nearly get enough credit for his power, Teixeira has more tools he provides the ballclub and gives manager Joe Girardi more flexibility in lineup creation as a switch hitter. He was most likely slotted in the cleanup spot to protect Robinson Cano, now that job will likely fall to Youkilis. Overall, with more, younger options to take over in the outfield and only retreads to take over first base duties, Teixeira’s injury hurts the Yankees MUCH more. For those saying, “Yankees should have signed Nick Swisher!” just stop, no one could’ve predicted this.
Tex is the injury that hurts the most. It’s a tougher injury to predict. Will he have surgery at some point or is rest the answer? The Yankees can live with Melky Mesa or Ronnier Mustelier for six weeks. Dan Johnson can’t hold for the fort for two months. They have to go and get someone to play first or third before April 1, period.