This is the one position where the Yankees will downgrade dramatically. Going from the best hitting second baseman in the game, Robinson Cano, to a platoon of Kelly Johnson, the oft-injured Brian Roberts, and maybe Dean Anna or Eduardo Nunez is going to hurt. Cano is a career .309/.355/.504 hitter with tremendous durability and Hall of Fame potential. Having a second baseman with the defensive chops to play the position while hitting like a first baseman is a huge competitive advantage. Kelly Johnson will most likely be the first option this year assuming Alex Rodriguez isn’t suspended. Johnson is a slightly above league average hitter throughout his career with a huge outlier season in 2010 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is a Joe Maddon-type of player as he can be plugged into various lineup spots and play multiple positions. Johnson would be very valuable coming off the bench in various roles but could be a league average hitter (and player) in full-time duty.
Brian Roberts, on the otherhand, is the anti-Cano in terms of durability with only 192 games played the last 4 seasons. Roberts was an excellent hitter with Baltimore and it felt like he hit 2 doubles every time he played against the Yankees. At 36 years old Roberts has lost a step and can’t really maintain high BABIPs. Additionally, his doubles-power is sapped. So despite maintaining decent strikeout (14.6%) and walk rates (8.1%) the past four years, it is hard to see him being even a league-average hitter. Kelly Johnson doesn’t really have a platoon split (a reverse one, actually) and Brian Roberts is a switch hitter so it would be interesting to see how they would be deployed if Alex Rodriguez isn’t suspended. The drop from Cano to the aforementioned collection of players could be on the order of 30 runs on offense especially if Rodriguez’s suspension is upheld, Kelly Johnson moves to third, Brian Roberts gets hurt, and Dean Anna or Eduardo Nunez is pushed into action.