Potential lineup changes to maximize offensive production

So far, the Yanks 2016 offense has been excruciating to watch.  With an electric bullpen and quality starting pitching, the offense has definitely been the ‘Achilles Heel’ of the team through the first fifty-two games. Earlier in the year, Alex Rodriguez made a statement to a reporter saying this offense is capable of scoring five runs a game. With the names that Girardi has at his disposal every night, this lineup is more than capable of putting up five runs per game.  However, the big names in the lineup have not gotten the job done all season and it is time for manager Joe Girardi to make a permanent lineup change.
Picture Credit: Nick Waas | AP
Years ago, it would have been hard to find a bigger Mark Teixeira fan than I was. The Yankees could normally depend on at least 25 home runs and 80 RBI from Teixeira, even though he would get off to rough starts at the beginning of the season. This year it felt different.  It looked like Teixeira lost all his confidence at the plate, and the thirty-six-year-old switch hitter could be counted on. Before his injury, he was hitting a league worst .180, and the Yankee manager still had him batting third or fourth in the lineup.

In addition to this, Girardi also has A-Rod at the number four or five spot, and he just looks old and washed up at this point. Pitchers are challenging him with fastballs right down the middle and he cannot seem to catch up to them.  Most fans think that the only reason Rodriguez is playing is because he is making 21 million dollars.
Picture Credit: Jim McIsaac | Getty Images
Girardi’s job is to put the best lineup out there that will get the job done. If having Carlos Beltran as the designated hitter and Aaron Hicks in right field is the best lineup for the Yankees, then he should not hesitate to go with that. Although I would keep A-Rod in the lineup for the time being, he should not be batting this high in the lineup and coming up in crucial moments in the game anymore.  It is mind blowing to me that Girardi still has these guys at such important spots in the lineup when they are not producing.  

I think the manager should look at making some major changes to this lineup in order for this team to make the postseason again this year. Jacoby Ellsbury has been solid this season as the leadoff hitter, and when healthy he is one of the best players in the game. I would keep Brett Gardner batting second, even though he has been terrible since last year after the all-star break. He is currently hitting .237 on the season, and although he has been hitting well these past few games, he has looked like a lost cause at the plate at times.  But his ability to work the count and draw a walk, or move Ellsbury over when he gets on is important at the top of the lineup

The major change in the lineup I would suggest is having Starlin Castro bat third. Although he has been struggling lately, Castro can definitely excel in this position.  Having Castro bat third, Girardi would have numerous options to manufacture runs. He is a great contact hitter and has shown power at times this season hitting seven home runs. 
Picture Credit: Julie Jacobson | AP
There have been to many instances this year where both the leadoff guys get on base, and the Yankees have failed to score a run. This happened during each of the first two games of the recent Tampa Bay Rays games I attended, and I nearly lost my mind.  They could not push across one run across because the third batter would either pop-out or strikeout.

Having Castro bat third and Beltran bat fourth, would give the Yankees an option of playing small ball and moving the runners in scoring position, before letting Beltran bring them in.  McCann could stay at his normal spot in the lineup batting fifth.

Another move to consider is moving Didi up to the sixth spot. He is quietly hitting .268 this season and has been one of the most consistent hitters on the team.  I have recently flirted with the idea of having Didi bat second in the lineup due to Gardner’s struggles. However, because Gardner can work the count he should stay in the second spot. A-Rod, Rob Refsnyder and Chase Headley should round out the bottom lineup. Lets face it, the old guys are not producing in key spots in the lineup so Girardi needs to shake things up before it is to late.

Another reason I think Castro should bat third in the lineup permanently has nothing to do with this season. However, it has everything to do with the future of this organization. As we look throughout the majors, it seems like every team has that one young player (under 30) that their fans are excited to see and will be excited for a lot more years. With a healthy lineup, Castro has been batting seventh in the Yankees order and I don’t understand why. Even if the Yankees do not make the playoffs this year, they should be pushing Castro for being the face of the franchise in the years to come. But having him bat seventh will not yield the numbers at the end of the year for this argument to be relevant.  And unfortunately, Girardi most likely does not make this switch because he believes in these old players way too much.

So my finalized lineup would end up looking like this:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Starlin Castro 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Didi Gregorius SS
Alex Rodriguez DH
Rob Refsnyder 1B
Chase Headley 3B

Article by: Mavin Saunders
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