Last night was ugly, and when it was all over, Yankees manager Joe Girardi acknowledged the ugly truth of this Yankees defense. Here’s a snippet from The Associated Press:
(Yangervis) Solarte’s errant throw was the only New York error, but reliable shortstop Derek Jeter made two costly mistakes. Toronto made three errors, two by Reyes.
“It was sloppy on both sides,” New York first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “That was an ugly game to watch. If you’re a fan, you should get your money back.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn’t promising refunds, but acknowledged that his team’s defense had been a problem again.
“That hurts us and at times it’s hurt us during the course of the season,” Girardi said. “It’s something that we clearly need to do a better job of.”
The Yankees cover plenty of ground in the outfield, but the their infield defense has not passed the eye test or the metrics test.
According to FanGraphs, the Yankees defense has been among the worst in baseball, and that surely comes as no surprise. Derek Jeter’s range is limited, Brian Roberts hardly played the previous four years, Kelly Johnson is playing out of position, and Gold Glove winner Mark Teixeira already has five errors, matching his single-season high since 2004 (Jeter too, whose sure hands are perhaps his greatest defensive strength, has made quite a few of his own errors). Even Brendan Ryan — perhaps because of the rust that comes with rarely playing — has not been his old self in the field.
Can’t imagine this has come as a shock to the Yankees.
Outside of Teixeira, the Yankees never seemed to have a particularly good defensive infield. It seemed that way on paper heading into the season, and it’s lived up to that expectation on the field. The Yankees might have to hit enough to make up for the defense, and we all know how that’s gone so far.
Shuffle things around with Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela or Scott Sizemore or Zelous Wheeler? Try to trade for a glove? Give Ryan more playing time?
Unless the Yankees are ready and willing to make a significant change, this is the infield they put in place, and this is the infield they’re going to have to live with.
Associated Press photo