If there’s one thing the New York Yankees learned in 2013, it’s that they better be ready for the unexpected.
It would sure be nice if the fortunes reversed this year and everything went right. But just in case it doesn’t, just where could the Yankees focus as they prepare a Plan B?
In the infield Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira hopefully can bounce back from their injuries. But what if either or both of them have challenges? Where would the offense come from at the infield positions?
The answer could come from a familiar position, second base. But who on the Yankees roster could possibly match the numbers that we have become a custom to there?
The answer is Alfonso Soriano. I can hear the grumbling already. Soriano’s too old. It has been too long since he has played there consistently.
Well, let’s take these one at a time. He covered left field surprisingly well last season. He also had 32 doubles overall and 18 stolen bases, so his mobility certainly isn’t gone.
The last time Soriano played second base regularly was in 2005 for Texas. In 153 games he had a fielding percentage of .972. His career average at second base is .971, very close to his .973 in left field. So from that standpoint, there is not much difference in his performance.
Of course, fielding percentage isn’t everything, but if the Yankees are struggling for offense from the infield at any point, Soriano could provide a spark.
And this is precisely the time for them to find out if he is a viable option. They could give him plenty of action there during spring training to see what they get.
If it works, this would open the door for Brett Gardner in left. Gardner certainly gives them the defense, and with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran in the outfield, there still should be plenty of offensive production out there.
And Gardner has shown that he can make things happen when he gets on base. So this move could wind up igniting the offense in two different ways, if necessary.
Nobody likes to have to resort to Plan B. But after what the Yankees went through last year, they better have one.