New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has long been known for finding a way to get the Yankees what they need. This year is no exception. He has a knack for identifying players who will excel at Yankee stadium.
So let’s take a look at his four biggest acquisitions this year and see how they have fared so far. Of course, the number of games played is not a big sample, but it is big enough to take seriously. For mathematicians, who like to extrapolate everything, it is big news.
At the top of the list is Travis Hafner. Through Tuesday’s Yankee victory over the Houston Astros, Hafner boasted a .318 batting average with six home runs and seventeen RBI. Oh, sure, he is bound to get tired and see those numbers slip as the season wears on right?
Well, Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi has already thought of that. Girardi has sat Hafner four games. Besides, if he primarily serves as a designated hitter, how much rest does he need anyway?
When Alex Rodriquez returns, Hafner’s DH role may even decrease. This would help keep him rested and, as the mathematicians would say, increase his probability of performing at the same level throughout the season. A Hafner-Rodriguez duo at DH would strike fear in opposing pitchers, assuming that Alex returns to being Alex.
For Vernon Wells, the expectations are no different. Although Wells received more scrutiny when Cashman acquired him, Girardi is sure to handle him with care. Doubters pointed to his decline in offensive production over the last two seasons. But Wells is batting .300 with six home runs and thirteen RBI.
When Curtis Granderson returns, Wells will get more rest. He may even be relegated to a pinch hitter role. So those who predict his offensive demise late in the season, attributing it to fatigue, are premature in their calculations.
Cahman’s other two jewels, Lyle Overbay and Kevin Youkilis were hitting .244 and .266 through Tuesday. But their loads will diminish as well when Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira return. Sure, Youkilis has already gone down with an injury. But a rest early in the season will only result in him storing strength for the end.
So the Yankees have made the right moves once again, thanks to Cashman.