I’ve been reading a lot of different things about how awful the Yankees’ defense stands to be this year. Along those lines, this from Jayson Stark:
The most-heard observation about the Yankees this spring: That team could have serious, and potentially fatal, defensive issues. They’re range-challenged in left, in right and at shortstop. They have reliability issues at second. Alex Rodriguez is now a major question on every level. And nobody knows what kind of defensive catcher Jorge Posada is capable of being over the long haul. There are rumblings the Yankees are poking around again on Mike Cameron’s availability.
Okay, I know Jeter isn’t a good defensive shortstop – but believe it or not, according to defensive metrics he actually got better last year. So hopefully the wheels won’t come completely off for at least another year or two. As far as left and right field are concerned, both Damon and Swisher have average to above average range. They’re both capable of playing center in a pinch. Damon has a noodle for an arm, but he certainly has enough range for left field.
Cano was the best defensive second baseman in the league 2 years ago and just about the worst last year. So yes, he is certainly a wild card. But A-Rod, when he returns, should be average defensively and Tex is above average. If Gardner gets the center field spot, he certainly brings plus range to the position.
So if Cano can’t turn it around and Posada struggles, that’s 3 below average defensive players. But Posada will be spelled by Molina, who was the BEST defensive catcher in the league last year. What I’m getting at is that while the Yankees certainly won’t be a great defensive team, I can’t imagine them being a total train wreck.
As for the Mike Cameron rumors, the Yankees would have to be ready to give up on Melky. Gardner’s been playing well enough to deserve a shot, so I don’t know if you bring Cameron in at this juncture. A Cameron for Melky and Igawa deal does make sense though. The Yankees have to pay Cameron a ton for this season, but they can unload Igawa. Milwaukee gets a young centerfielder and a possible 5th starter. Sure, Igawa hasn’t been good for the Yankees, but he would probably stick in the NL.