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The Yankees infield range is “the worst in baseball”

Mar 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

Brian Roberts Getty Images

That’s what a scout tells Jon Heyman:

According to one big-league scout in spring training, the Yankees have to have the least range on the infield of any major-league team. While he’s only in Florida, he seems pretty certain.

“It’s got to be the worst in baseball,” the scout said.

Derek Jeter‘s range hasn’t been great for years, but there was always help on either side of him. Not so anymore, as Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson — or whoever plays third base — are each statuesque in the worst sense of the term as well.

So are they a candidate to sign Stephen Drew? Nope. A source tells Heyman that the Yankees are “tapped out” on money. Which strains credulity, as the Yankees print money more or less. Just seems that they’re not willing to spend any more.

  1. spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    I’m going with Rodinesque.

    • Old Gator - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Rodin. Didn’t he sculpt “Man Crapping Without Newspaper”?

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        Or “The Poet”, actually I prefer “La Belle Heaulmiere”, and I have always pictured you as a cross between Jubal Harshaw and Maxwell Slaughter.

      • Old Gator - Mar 24, 2014 at 7:16 PM

        I think “La Belle Heaulmiere” was the name of my great uncle’s B-17.

      • Gamera the Brave - Mar 24, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        Nope, Rodin (sp.) was the dude with the HUGE wings, that hangs out with that Godzilla guy…

  2. 18thstreet - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    They’ve gotten around this problem before by having a lot of strikeout pitchers.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      In 2013 they were 14th in MLB in K’s, one ahead of 15th place, and middle of the pack Atlanta.

      However, on the bright side, MLB does not employ a clock nor penalizes a team for slowly exiting the field between innings, so the Yankees don’t have that worry.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        Did you really just explain where 14th place is relative to 15th place?

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        If you choose to only read what you want. When you comment under another’s, it is often referred to as a replay.

        And since 18th St., suggested their lack of range might be offset by strikeout pitchers, I reminded him that in 2013 they were 14th, not particularly exceptional, and only 1 strikeout away from midway point Atlanta at 15th.

    • raysfan1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      Previously they had A-Rod and Cano.

      • 18thstreet - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        Has A-Rod been a good fielder lately? Doesn’t feel like he’s had a ton of range. Can someone look this up for me? I’m a lazy man. And I don’t care what the answer is.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        He is going to look like Brooks Robinson after a half season of Johnson.

      • raysfan1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        Regardless, he’s better defensively than Kelly Johnson.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        Hey Raysfan, not that this is monumental or anything, but I am picking the Rays to capture the AL East with 101 Wins, 18 more then second place Baltimore.

      • raysfan1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        I’ll take it!

  3. themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Worst in baseball? No? Really? My IT youth (tattooed lout that he is) tells me that their infield are a “smouldering tire fire” and he quotes one “Crag Calcaterra” as the authority on that. I note that every other team in the AL East has a much better infield, fewer questions with the pitching (save the blue jays who have their own version of a smouldering fire in my opinion. I have their pitching at “smoking pile of autumn leaves” at this point) and better hitting. How is anyone rating The Yankees as anything other than last in the division? Especially as they now seem unwilling to spend?

    • observer82ab - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      What else can they expect? Jeter has a range of maybe 22 feet! Yes, he will once again win a Gold Glove.

    • nyyanksrdbest - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      Yankees pitching is just as good as the Red Sox pitching and is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> than the Orioles pitching

      Matter of fact, Yankee rotation is projected to finish 3rd best in All Of Baseball.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Team (sort it by SP and you will see)

  4. cackalackyank - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    IF Drew is still available on May 1, and IF the NYY infield is as bad as many think,the money will suddenly appear. Letting the infield play nullify the half a billion in contracts they handed out would seem dumb. Even by Cashman standards.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      One advantage the Yanks do have is an incredibly easy schedule early in the Year. So they have a little time to see if the Roberts, Sizemores, Nunez’ and Johnsons of the world will keep them in games.

      They are blessed by playing the Astros, Cubs, and Angels outside their division.

      • cackalackyank - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        That’s a sword that cuts both ways though. If those guys fail during that schedule, then it’s a bad omen of things to come. If they succeed the question will remain how much of that success was due to the quality of the opposition.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        Yep. I have actually come to the decision that it is worse to play an easy schedule first. All teams dream of success, and in April and May reality hasn’t settled in. I would rather play the sub .500 teams later, when they know they suck.

        But maybe this year for the Yanks it is a break, but if they don’t beat those teams, and the infield falls apart, it is going to be a long year, regardless how well the pitching staff does, and that is no guarantee.

  5. tfbuckfutter - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    That scout apparently never saw Jeter throw Jeremy Giambi out at the plate in a playoff game.

    And he calls himself a professional.

    • southpaw2k - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      That play was back in 2001. Sure, it was a fantastic play on Jeter’s part, but if those same exact circumstances presented themselves in 2014, are you trying to claim that Jeter would still be able to make that same play?

      I really doubt it.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        Hi, I’m the point.

        Thank you for introducing me to all your friends.

  6. aceshigh11 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Heavy cleats of lead fills no baserunners full of dread…
    Stumbling as slow as he can, Iron Butt collapses again…

  7. jolink653 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    So what happens when you add Teixeira coming back and Brendan Ryan getting some pretty significant time at short? Worst in baseball seems like a stretch, especially when the Yankees will bring someone else in to play second if/when Roberts gets hurt

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      First, name a worse one. Secondly, Tex isn’t some GG guy anymore at first. If Ryan is getting significant time at SS, the Jeter Swan Song isn’t going to be pretty, and the Yankee run production will plummet.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      Ryan’s going on the DL for who knows how long. And if you think their is a worse IF in baseball, name it.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM

        their? really? sigh

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Happens to everybody, but yeah it sucks when we do it.

    • buddaley - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      I think part of that article asserted that while Teixeira is reasonably sure-handed, he has no range at all. And as pointed out, Ryan is currently on the DL for an indeterminate time.

      What surprises me is that I don’t think Cashman is either stupid or uninformed, yet he seems not to have learned anything from Boston’s rebuild last year. They had a plan, and while some luck was involved, their success was a product of filling immediate holes with reasonably priced, relatively short term deals to players who had specific skills they needed and making sure to have adequate depth. Cashman resorted to the time-honored Yankee tradition of acquiring stars with big, long term contracts while filling holes and the bench with castoffs rather than solid talents.

      For example, even if you think it imprudent to acquire anyone who might even suggest you are ready to displace Jeter this year, shouldn’t you then be certain to focus on defense at 3B and 2B?

  8. sdelmonte - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    The worst? That’s saying a lot when just across town, the team I root for has the unimpressive Tejada at short, the talented non-second baseman Daniel Murphy at second, and someone with a lot of injuries at first. Then again, David Wright makes up for a few sins. I hope.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Hey, maybe they aren’t GG candidates, but Tejada is average and Murphy tolerable. Hell, I’m not sure Wright alone wouldn’t cover more ground than the Johnson/Jeter duo.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      Hey sdel, La Russa baseball is alive and well in Florida. Tejada is batting 9th, Dice-K 8th.

      • sdelmonte - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        I bet Dice-k gets a hit today, too.

        I have no way to judge if this approach makes any sort of sense. But it sure feels like LaRussian over-managing. Any actual stats out there on this?

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        The is a slight, and I mean slight advantage to LaRussa’s theory, according to the stats I remember.

  9. sportsfan18 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    The Yankees Nose Dive is beginning…

  10. drewsylvania - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    I didn’t realize Woody Johnson was running the Yankees.

  11. nj7733 - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    I have the answer to the Yankees problems but I know they won’t do it. They should make Brendon Ryan the everyday SS and move Jeter to 2nd or preferably 3rd. Ryan has amazing range but admittedly cannot hit. He can bat nine and the yankees offense more than makes up for him. Jeter would make a decent 3rd baseman and Johnson/Roberts could platoon at 2nd. Batting order could be; 1) Gardner, 2) Elsbury, 3) Beltran, 4) Tex, 5) Soriano, 6) Mccan, 7) Jeter, 8) roberts/johnson, 9) Ryan. Offensively they would be fine. Defensively, they could do better but it would be an improvement. Anyways, I am so happy this is Jeter’s last year, I cannot wait until he retires and the best case for the Yankees is he gets injured and is out the rest of the year and does not return.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Start a lefty against that line-up and look for a shutout.

    • cackalackyank - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      Repeating for those that missed the discussion all winter long. Jeter is not moving…especially for his last season. Believe me, before he announced his retirement I was really hoping Jeter would move.

    • chadjones27 - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      I stopped reading after, “move Jeter…”

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      I can’t tell if all this “Jeter Movement” commentary is sarcastic word play on Jeter’s famous lack of range or not. Ether way it doesn’t matter where Jeter plays on the infield. Be it SS, 2B, or 3B he still won’t move.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        I am repeating this, but with time-lapse photography one can discern some minor Jeter movement.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        Its not geologic then? Does he ebb and flow like the tides or is it a seed slowly sprouting type thing?

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        No tidal movement is way too fast. It is more plant like, reminiscent of those 1000 year old scraggly pines on the edge of vegetation zones. Dendritic evidence also supports the photography.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        You mean like in this image where a bike has had a tree grow up around it…

        Jeter slowly grows around the ball and lifts it into the air…

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        Yes but the bike should be older, like one of those big wheel, tiny wheel types, a velocipede.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        Ah, you mean a penny-farthing. Yes. I agree.

      • Gamera the Brave - Mar 24, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        Spud, those velocipedes were friggin’ SCARY in Jurassic Park…

  12. RickyB - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Is it a shock that Heyman is reporting this? And bringing up the possibility of signing Drew, a Boras client? Heyman’s up to his old tricks (shilling for Boras clients) in a new disguise. Not that the Yankees have good range, because there is no questioning the fact that they don’t …

    • chadjones27 - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      I wonder how much “reporting” that GM’s and Managers listen to when making their roster decisions.

  13. scoobies05 - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the rays win the division(although my hope is for my Orioles) no one is winning it by 18 games. that’s crazy talk

    • raysfan1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      Yes, spudchukar’s prediction is pretty far beyond what I expect (although I do think the Rays will win the division), but I enjoyed it.

  14. ez4u2sa - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Hey, what do expect from a club that will finish third in their division if they are lucky? Some farewell tour coming up!

  15. lukedunphysscienceproject - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    Well, last year the Yankees were 3rd overall in fielding and they missed the playoffs by 7 games. So this year they’re trying something different.

  16. unlost1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    just move Soriano to 2nd. LOL

  17. anxovies - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    The Yankee’s ST pitching has been lights out, the hitting is good enough that they have been beating the crap out of everybody else and in Pineda’s last outing he threw 12 ground outs in 6 innings.

    • acepicker4 - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      12 ground outs and a few hard liners right at guys.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:08 PM

      Jeter .114
      Tex .115
      Ellsbury .174
      McCann .243
      Johnson .243
      Beltran .262
      Soriano .265
      Roberts .265

      I would suggest they are going to have to hit better than they have been or they are going to be looking up at all 4 teams in their division.

  18. acepicker4 - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Tanaka, a slimmed down C.C. and Pineda will take them pretty far, defence notwithstanding. As noted in a previous comment, they were 14th in Ks last year. Adding Tanaka and Pineda will put them in the top 10.
    Ellsbury, Tex and Roberts will have to stay healthy (big question mark) and have big years for them to contend though. And I’m not a Yankee fan. Just an interested observer.

  19. Youknowimright - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    My assessment of this post is that spudchuckar is unemployed. Wow buddy that’s a lot of posting. Obsess much about the yanks. Take a walk or read a book for a change. The yanks will be fine. They’re the greatest franchise in the history of team sports for a reason.

    • raysfan1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Real Madrid, having won more championships, would argue that with you.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 24, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        And people accuse the Yankees of buying their titles?

  20. Youknowimright - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Soccer is a ridiculous sport loved by europeans. Yankees are the greatest. Trust me on this devil ray fan.

    • delegator - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:51 PM

      It isn’t easy to be wrong so many times in a single short comment. Kudos!

      • Youknowimright - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        Alright south americans love it as well. My bad. Just because you enjoy people kicking a ball back and forth for 90+ minutes and occassionally shooting on a goal doesn’t make me wrong. Trust me the yankees are the greateast franchise in team sports. Yankees buy the soccer teams the soccer teams don’t put up bids for the yankees.

    • raysfan1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:08 PM

      Your assertion was that the Yankees are the greatest franchise in team sports. In saying so, you included soccer since it is a team sport, regardless of your opinion of it. Soccer remains the most popular sport on the planet–Spain’s La Liga is a major league and has won 32 league championships.

      The Yankees are the most successful franchise in baseball.

      BTW, I still have, and wear, my Devil Rays inaugural season hat and jersey.

      • raysfan1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        Real Madrid has won 32 championships. Edit function needed.

      • Youknowimright - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        Congrats on the d ray shirt. That is solid. I guess I could have cleared this all up by stating that the yankees are the greatest franchise in the history of the universe. Most extateresstrials watch more mlb than pro soccer. I have no facts that support this but I would imagine they would hate soccer since they have short legs. This is based on what I have seen in sci fi movies..

      • raysfan1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Ah, we’re talking science fantasy. Carry on then.

    • rje49 - Mar 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      Actually the whole world, other than the US, loves soccer – for some reason…

      • Youknowimright - Mar 24, 2014 at 7:32 PM

        This is the most factual statement on this board. I don’t get it but people are passionate about soccer.

  21. delegator - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    The funny thing is that the Yankees would probably rather go with an infield that has cement on its collective feet than give the Red Sox a compensatory pick for signing Stephen Drew. I have nothing against Drew, but seeing the Yankees and Scott Boras both be hurt by that attitude is a double win.

    • betterthewholeworldthinkyouafool - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:56 PM

      Another compensatory pick, you mean. Don’t forget about the one Ells cost them.

  22. lazlosother - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    I don’t think it’s the compensatory pick that is bothering them. They signed B.C., J.E., and C.B. They already gave up their picks and signing Drew wouldn’t cost them another. They just don’t want Drew.

  23. observer82ab - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    I can’t believe the Yankee fans thought they were all set to win a World Series! The entire infield has a range of 74 feet total. And old legs in the outfield. LOL.

    • betterthewholeworldthinkyouafool - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      Yes, but if they could just cover the right 74 feet…

  24. sparkyxproof - Mar 24, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Unfortunately I think this Scout is not too far from being wrong. The question is how much of this glaring weakness will show. Some good pitching all year round is capable of hiding this weakness. There was a time when this organization put a priority on defense, you would seldom see a player who came out of the Yankee system who could not field… Its not like that anymore. $$$$$$$$$$

  25. bigmeechy74 - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    And… it doesn’t matter. At all.

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