We are just two weeks into the season and player stats are beginning to level out. With that said, it’s time to take a look at players the Yankees let move on this off-season versus who they grabbed to replace them. It’s not uncommon for stats to be extremely skewed early into the season, but it is still worth an early glance.
Cano was clearly the largest player the Yankees did not hold onto. He went to Seattle on a 10-year, $240 million dollar contract that left the rest of baseball scratching their heads. He complained about the Mariners’ lineup before the season even started, but that was just Cano learning that he and Felix Hernandez took all of Seattle’s money. On the season, Cano is hitting .278 with no home runs and five RBI through 54 at-bats. He is slugging .315 and owns an OPS of .659, both career worsts by a long shot. It’s early, but for the money he is being paid. Cano should be tearing up the AL West right now.
Hughes was a solid pitcher that never really found his true potential. Hughes has a large frame (6’5, 240 lbs) and can throw in the mid-90s. Unfortunately for him, he was extremely inconsistent. Since 2011, his ERA was 5.79, 4.19, and 5.19 and averaged nearly 10 hits per 9 innings pitched in each of those three years. A lot of analysts blamed it on being in the hitter friendly park in the Bronx. However, 2014 has not brought solace for the 27-year-old. Through 3 starts for his new team, the Minnesota Twins, he has a 7.20 ERA. He’s given up 4 runs in 5 innings in each of his three starts. His strikeouts are up, but so are his walks, leading to his WHIP landing north of 1.65. Again, it looks like the Yankees have made the right choice.
I will be the first to admit that the Yankees messed up Chamberlain. Transitioning between a starter and a reliever for years at a time did not bode well on his psyche. He went from a lights out kid to a below average reliever. He didn’t help himself, getting a DUI and ripping his ankle open on a trampoline. After 2013 it was time for him to go. Chamberlain went to the Detroit Tigers, where he has been ineffective at best. He has appeared in 5 games, pitching 4 innings and holds a 6.75 ERA. Like Hughes, he has a great K/9, but he has a WHIP of a solid 2.0. So long Chamberlain, thanks for hurting the Tigers for us. It looks like sending Phil Coke and Chamberlain to the Tigers was a solid mastermind move by the Yankees front office.
Granderson made Yankee fans forget about him quickly, even though he stayed in town to go to the Mets. After signing with the Yankees kid brother, Granderson said that he heard real baseball fans are in Queens. He didn’t realize that Yankee fans are everywhere, including Queens, and that he was leaving a ballpark that was made almost just for him. Since moving across town he has looked lost at the plate, hitting .167 with a home run and 4 RBI in 48 at bats. He may not hear as many boos as he should. Not because Mets fans are nicer, but because no one goes to the games in Queens. This is more money well not spent.
I know, Chamberlain was not a starter in his final season. These are the three I am comparing to Cano, Hughes, and Chamberlain anyway. Tanaka has had three starts, has an ERA of 2.05, a WHIP of 0.77 and 28 strikeouts. The kid has killed it so far and has made Yankee fans forget Phil Hughes ever existed. Pineda has had three starts of his own. He has an ERA of 1.0, a WHIP of .889, and 15 strikeouts of his own. Is this the same rotation Yankee fans were terrified about a month ago? Pine tar or not, Pineda looks like the pitcher and then some, the Yankees traded for a couple years ago.
Solarte was not a projected everyday player for the Yankees to begin the year, and barely made the 25-man roster. However, he has taken the MLB by storm since. Through 46 at-bats, Solarte is hitting .348 with 7 RBI and 6 doubles. The young man from Venezuela is relishing in his opportunity to play in the bigs, and is looking to stay in the everyday lineup even after everyone is healthy once again. He may not hit 30 home runs like Cano, but he also doesn’t cost $25 million a year.
The Yankees lost three players this off-season that had played a large role for them in the past. By letting them go and loading up on youth, the Yankees are a better team. We will revisit this again near the All-Star break to see how well the moves hold up in the long run.