Patience Hasn't Made the Yankee Lineup Any Better

The Yankees still waiting for offensive help to fall into their lap

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Jan 3, 2013  |  Updated 11:38 AM EDT
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Patience Hasn't Made the Yankee Lineup Any Better

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1-800-HELP-NYY hasn't done the trick so far this offseason.

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If the Yankees are panicking about the lack of offensive help they've brought into the team this offseason, they're doing an awfully good job of hiding it. 

"I'm not afraid of patience," Cashman said Wednesday. "We're ready to rock-and-roll if something makes sense. If not, we're prepared to stand pat."

There's little reason for Cashman or anyone else to be afraid of patience. The Yankees have taken a much more measured approach to team building in the last few years and they haven't seen any significant drop in their ability to win games over the course of the regular season. 

They haven't won or advanced to the World Series in the last three years, which some will see as a sign of failure and other, more enlightened observers will understand is the risk you run by deciding the champion on the basis of a few short series after a 162-game marathon decides the teams that get a shot at the prize. The Yankees have secured their pitching staff, which is not at all insignificant and makes it easier to sell patience on the other end. 

Having said that, we're curious to know what Cashman thinks "makes sense" at this point in time because it is hard to believe there hasn't been a deal on the market that makes more sense than going into the season with Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli at catcher. That's what the Yankees say they are prepared to do and it is a plan that seems unnecessarily risky. 

Stewart has a career OPS of .583 and Cervelli posted an OPS of .657 in Triple-A last season to go along with 562 big league plate appearances over the years that make it clear that 2012 wasn't an aberration. The idea that there hasn't been any free agent or trade acquisition at catcher that makes sense defies belief.

If the Yankees were rolling out one of their vintage lineups, you could easily punt on offense at catcher. But they've lost Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez and Russell Martin, they'll be without Alex Rodriguez for a good chunk of the season and they are relying on rebounds from several older players coming off injuries and/or off years. 

The only new faces at this point are Matt Diaz and Kevin Youkilis, who have their charms but aren't going to cover for what the Yankees have lost all by themselves. The Yankees haven't done anything to find the kind of young, impact bat that they need to serve as the foundation for the offense going forward. 

With the Marlins recently announcing that they'd listen on deals for slugger Giancarlo Stanton, there have been reports of Yankee interest and calls for the team to go out and get him. Those make sense, but it is almost impossible to see a way that the Yankees could pull it off. 

This isn't a salary dump like other Marlins deals. They would be looking for real value in return and the Yankees don't have enough of it to offer Miami. 

Which, in a roundabout way, brings us right back to where we started. The Yankees' fetish for patience would be a lot easier to swallow if they had a farm system producing players capable of filling major roles for the team. 

What they have, though, is a farm system where Eduardo Nunez bench types are what comes to the surface because their patience for the offseason player market far outstrips their patience when it comes to letting young players play their way through rough patches. The last homegrown player to earn a regular role in the lineup was Brett Gardner in 2009 and if he were actually impactful we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Instead of the Stewart/Cervelli idea, the Yankees should promote Austin Romine and let him lose the job because there's at least a chance he'll be an average player this season. That's proactive patience, something the Yankees should deploy a bit more often as they try to shave down their payroll ahead of the 2014 season. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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