Many readers of this blog commented during the winter that they hated the makeup of the bench.
I was quick to shoot them down, pointing out that the Yankees never pinch-hit anyway. I didn’t think it mattered who was on the bench. I remember having a running discussion with people about the backup catcher spot and claiming it just didn’t matter.
Man, was I wrong. This team has bigger problems than Miguel Cairo, Josh Phelps, Wil Nieves and Melky Cabrera. But they are part of the problem.
In retrospect, Brian Cashman didn’t put nearly enough effort into finding better reserves. Part of this, I suspect, was to trim the payroll. But part of it seems to be a belief that it didn’t matter.
Now it does. Robinson Cano looks like a Class AAA player and there’s little choice but to play him because Cairo can’t hit. Posada should get to DH once in a while but can’t because Nieves is helpless with the bat. Cabrera is the best reserve they have and he isn’t very good. Last year, it seems, was a fluke. Phelps is what he is, a AAAA player. Billy Wagner made him look silly yesterday.
For all their resources, the Yankees could have found a veteran player on the bench or used the trades of Randy Johnson and Gary Sheffield to find some quality reserves.
The guy I feel badly for is Joe Torre, who is managing with few options. He has little choice but to run the same struggling players out there because the alternatives are worse.
Torre will take the fall for this before Cashman will. At least Cashman is claiming responsibility. The question is whether it’s too late.