The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

How to rebuild a lineup, Giants style

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Oct 25, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

I don’t think it’s going to happen, but if the Yankees are going to follow the wishes of some corners of their fan base and completely blow up their lineup this winter, they could use the Giants as a guide. Last night, the Giants used a World Series Game 1 lineup that was vastly different from their Game 1 lineup from 2010. In a span of two years, the Giants managed to reassemble their offense almost completely.

Andres Torres CF
Freddy Sanchez 2B
Buster Posey C
Pat Burrell LF
Cody Ross RF
Aubrey Huff 1B
Juan Uribe 3B
Edgar Renteria SS

Angel Pagan CF
Marco Scutaro 2B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Buster Posey C
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Gregor Blanco LF
Brandon Crawford SS

How did the Giants do it?

Build around an elite young player
Not all of these players are new to the roster — more on that in a bit — but the one constant in the lineup is young catcher Buster Posey. The Giants have built their offense around him. The Yankees don’t have a regular position player as young as Posey. The closest thing they have is Robinson Cano, another all-around hitter to keep in the middle of the order.

Don’t give up on a bad year
Pablo Sandoval was on the Giants roster in 2010, but he was out of the lineup because his season numbers were diappointing, especially down the stretch. Sandoval’s star seemed to be dimming quickly, but the Giants held onto him and he’s rebounded in a big way with back-to-back all-star nods. Again, there’s no perfect comparison for the Yankees — not with that combination of youth and performance — but the Yankees did bench Alex Rodriguez this postseason, and unless they can find someone to take on his contract, they might have no choice but to give him another chance.

Open the door to young talent
Edgar Renteria, Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell were the oldest players in that 2010 lineup. Two of them — Renteria and Huff — have since been replaced by the two youngest players in the 2012 lineup. Brandon Crawford was the Giants fourth-round pick in 2008. Brandon Belt was their fifth-round pick in 2009. Who did the Yankees draft those years? David Adams and Corban Joseph in 2008; Slade Heathcott and J.R. Murphy in 2009.

Don’t do it all at once
Huff and Freddy Sanchez are still on the Giants roster, but Sanchez hasn’t been healthy and Huff hasn’t hit enough to see regular time in the outfield corners (he was their Opening Day left fielder this year). Instead, the Giants had had to adjust over time. They made mid-season trades this year to put Hunter Pence in right and Marco Scutaro at second. For the Yankees, a complete overhaul would be next to impossible this season, and they have little choice but to wait and see how Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira respond in the coming years. Right now, the Yankees can’t say for certain what their holes will be two years from now.

Have backups ready (and be willing to use them)
Gregor Blanco wasn’t supposed to be in the mix. He was a backup when the season started, gradually won some more playing time, then became a regular after Melky Cabrera was suspended. The Giants also have Xavier Nady to hit against left-handers. The Yankees were willing to stick with backups for extended periods of time this season — especially Eric Chavez at third — but the most similar Blanco comparison might be Chris Dickerson. Hard to imagine the Yankees would start next season with him as an everyday player, but he’s the kind of guy who could get some platoon starts with a chance to stay that way.

Make smart moves
This one probably speaks for itself, but look at that lineup from 2010. Is there any way that group could get the Giants to the postseason this year? The Giants let Juan Uribe walk away at the end of 2010. They let Cody Ross walk away at the end of 2011. This winter, they swapped Andres Torres (and reliever Ramon Ramirez) for Angel Pagan, who earned just a little less than the other two combined but easily outperformed Torres as the Giants leadoff hitter. It wasn’t a blockbuster, but it was effective. Might be a good place for the Yankees to start.

Associated Press photos




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