Less Than A Stellar Bench

The Yankee’s bullpen and the struggles of Mark Teixiera have been documented day in and day out here in New York City. It is without question that the Yankees need a bullpen arm or two with Chad Gaudin and Chan Ho Park giving up runs at an alarming rate.  Gaudin’s second stint with the Yankees is numbered and I can see him being designated for assignment before the weeks end.

Yankee fans are also desperately hoping that the real Mark Teixeira will come out of hiding. His struggles in April manifested themselves into May and have followed him into June. Teixeira is truly one of the game’s best all-around players and, if he gets his act together in the second half, he really could be a driving force in the Yanks return to the Fall Classic this year.

With so many future Hall-of-Famers and All-Stars in this lineup, the lack of depth on the bench is sometimes overlooked.  The late nineties dynasty had guys like Chili Davis, Darryl Strawberry,  and Shane Spencer, all of whom could put the ball over the fence during any given at-bat and always made opposing pitchers think twice before hurling a ball towards the plate.

Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena, Chad Moeller, and Marcus Thames leave the Yankees with an extremely weak bench.  Moeller is keeping Juan Miranda’s roster spot warm while Jorge Posada gets healthy enough to get back behind the plate.  Pena is a utility infielder who’s roster spot is held solely because he can relieve Derek Jeter at shortstop.  Thames has power and has received a home cooked pie from AJ Burnett this year, however, he has spent most of this season injured and when he’s well enough to play, he’s a liability in the field, not to mention he only has one hit in the last seven games he has played in.  Russo looked like he was breaking out in Citi Field, than came back down to earth. I like Russo’s flexibility because he can play second, third, and the outfield, but his stick is virtually non-existent.

This issue is not unknown to Brian Cashman, a man who has added and subtracted players to create great benches over the years, and I have faith that we’ll see him do it again this season.   It still puzzles me that Jermaine Dye, a former World Series MVP who hit 27 long balls last year, finds himself sitting at home instead of being on a big league roster. I would love to see the Yankees add Dye to the bench. He would get his fair share of at-bats spelling Swisher in right field, being the designated hitter, and pinch hitting late in ball games.

Jay Ferraro is the Executive Producer of Baseball Digest LIVE and Gotham Baseball LIVE.  He is also the Fantasy Editor for Baseballdigest.com as well as a columnist for Baseball Digest Magazine and Assignment Editor for Gothambaseball.com. You can reach him at Jay_Ferraro@Juno.com , follow him on Twitter , add him on Facebook and check out his Official Website.