When the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees meet for game one of 162 in the Bronx on April 1, both teams will have a lot to prove. After an abomination of a 2012 season Boston simply needs to get back to respectability. The Yankees need to prove that father time has not caught up with them and that the Blue Jays go for broke orgy of spending is something they can turn back. It’s never too early for a Red Sox, Yankees position by position breakdown.
Let’s get on to the real story. Position by position who’s ready to beat the other down and give their fan base obnoxious bragging right? Strap in. Here we go.
Mark Teixeira vs. Mike Napoli
Rationale: Teixeira’s on a psychological downswing. His most quotable quote, coming last week after a crappy 2012 season in which he was down in every statistically significant category while the Yankees still owe him $90 million through 2016, is revealing. “Agents are probably going to hate me for saying it,” Teixeira was reported as saying by CBS Sports. “You’re not very valuable when you’re making $20 million. When you’re Mike Trout, making the minimum, you are crazy valuable. My first six years, before I was a free agent, I was very valuable. But there’s nothing you can do that can justify a $20 million contract.” Wow. Look like someone is setting expectations early. Additionally, after Teixeira, there is no one on the Yankees depth chart.
On the other hand Napoli has a TON to prove this season and is motivated. After an injury was revealed during a physical followed by a protracted negotiation with Boston resulting in a 1-year, $5 million dollar deal, Napoli will be loaded for bear. His natural Fenway swing and tough work ethic will reignite a hunger he hasn’t had since early in his career. No contest. Napoli takes this.
Robinson Cano vs. Dustin Pedroia
Boston and New York fans can argue about this until the end of time. To me, the value is to the team, not the individual stats, which are nearly a dead heat except for Cano’s better slugging and HR numbers (Pedroia has a better career OBP).
Pedey means more to the Red Sox than Cano does to New York. Take Pedroia out of Boston’s lineup and it’s curtains. New York can still win without Cano. When Pedey had a lapse in leadership during a tough season last year, the team crumbled. He’s the heart and soul of the club. He’ll bounce back this year and have a typical Pedroia year, which puts him a hair’s breath ahead of Cano.
The other guy, Jeter, had an ugly ankle injury in the 2012 playoffs. Given his age, his status may be questionable heading into 2012 but every time Sox fans are ready to throw dirt on Jeter he does it again. This year will be no different. Jeter wins this contest hands down even on a bad day. Oh, and being a sure-thing first ballot Hall of Famer might tilt the scales just slightly in Jeter’s favor.
New York got Youk for 2012 to fill the Alex Rodriguez hole, which by the way is a crater that will not be filled adequately. Even if A-Roid comes back from his recent hip surgery his future is gravely in jeopardy after his name was again recently linked to another PED scandal.
Honestly, for the good of the game, can’t this self-absorbed distraction simply go away?
Bottom line. Youk, after a career of sacrificing his body, is on the downswing and holding on for another payday. Middlebrooks, after a season ending wrist injury in 2012, is by all accounts back swinging a back with authority and is poised to pick up where he left off.
Ichiro Suzuki vs. Shane Victorino
Hold on Red Sox fans before getting your panties all in a bunch. Agreed, Ichiro is the poster child for my aforementioned father time reference. His work ethic and ability to take great care of his body, however, have been keys to a long and productive career. He batted .322 and had a .722 OPS in 2012 while he was his usual stellar self in the field.
Boston’s Victorino, the Flyin’ Hawaiian, has been very good throughout his career but is coming off a subpar year that will greatly improve in Boston but won’t be helped by the fact that he’s essentially playing out of his normal center field position. The only way Victorino edges Ichiro is if Suzuki becomes old all at once, which is highly unlikely.
Curtis Granderson vs. Jacoby Ellsbury
Winner: Ellsbury (by a nose)
Ells will play it a little safer in 2013 to preserve his health but will still have a huge walk year in Boston. Where is the empirical evidence that supports this? I have none. It’s just a gut feel. Ellsbury will hit for average, better power than the past two years and will steal bases again.
Granderson, also in his walk year with New York, slugs for bigger numbers, making both his home run and OPS totals statistically better than Ellsbury, while Ells has a better average and OBP. Granderson is a very solid fielder. When healthy, Ellsbury is an electrifying fielder, getting to and catching balls that the Grandy Man simply can’t run down.
Gomes hits more homers and has a higher OPS and, well, tries really hard in the field. Gomes can’t hit a righty, period. Gardner takes this battle of the nothings.
Francisco Cervelli vs Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Winner: Salty (and company)
With the exception of Salty’s better power numbers and strikeouts, Cervelli and Salty are similar players with essentially the same defensive stats. Boston will win the battle of attrition because Boston’s backups, Ryan Lavarnway and new acquisition David Ross are better than Cervelli’s backups, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine, two players with very little combined big league experience.
And the team winner is…Boston by a nose!
Boston’s and New York’s pitching staffs while be compared in an upcoming article.
Baby, even the losers, get lucky sometimes.
Baby, even the losers, keep a little bit of pride, they get lucky sometimes.
- Even The Losers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers