Over his three seasons in New York, Granderson has hit a total of 108 home runs with 43 of coming last year.
Making up that kind of power is not going to happen because according to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, they are determined to find Granderson’s temp internally. This makes sense because the injury happened so early and Granderson should only miss, give or take, 42 regular season games.
The short-term position battle seems to be between veterans Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera, who both inked minor league contracts in the off-season. And perennial prospect Melky Mesa, a 26-year-old that has been in the Yankees system since 2003.
Here are Diaz and Rivera’s stats from 2012, courtesy of baseball-reference.com:
Here are Mesa’s last three minor league season stats, courtesy of MILB.com:
Who could you choose out of these three?
Personally, I voted for Mesa.
The reason is when a team is in need of a short-term alternative picking a player who excels in one or two areas is more appealing than a subpar player with more experience.
Mesa is lighting fast on the base pads, and plays above average defense with a dynamo-throwing arm. Mesa can hit for power bat but he lacks plate discipline, which explains his outrageous number of strikeouts.
If not Mesa, than Rivera as Diaz’s freak palm frond injury (read article about it here) has returned too many times since it happened back in 2006 to trust it won’t again.
Also, Rivera posted a higher RISP in 2012; an area the Yankees majorly struggled in the last two years. And with the Yankees overall loss of power at the plate, the bats have to hit with runners in scoring position because the homers are no longer an option.
Knowing Cashman and Co. any hope of seeing Mesa in the Bronx on Opening Day is slim because unfortunately the guys in charge suffer from an ageist complex.
Overall things could be a lot worse, like trying to replace Granderson’s 40+homers if they lost him for the season.
Bottom line is I never knew I would miss Nick Swisher this much, and so soon.