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My Thoughts on Harrison Bader

by Cary Greene

June 7, 2023


Should the Yankees Extend Harrison Bader?

Considering that the Yankees roster is all too often riddled with players that miss too much time due to injuries, the notion of doing a long term deal with a player like Harrison Bader just seems like a bad business decision. Bader, who was acquired by Brian Cashman at last year’s Trade Deadline, has already missed 120 days as a Yankee, due to foot and oblique issues.

Bader is an elite defensive player who hits enough to make him very valuable, so there is little doubt that when he’s on the field, he can absolutely help a ballclub. In only 90 at-bats this season, he’s posted a 1.1 bWAR. An elite defensive center fielder like Myles Straw of the Guardians by contrast, has double the at-bats as Bader (187), but he’s only been worth 0.6 bWAR - mainly because his bat simply doesn’t remotely compare to Bader’s.

There are plenty of reasons that a baseball GM might want to spin the risk-reward roulette wheel every now and again, taking a chance on a player who has a track record of being often injured, but in my estimation, the Yankees should instead be attempting to galvanize the roster with players who aren’t sure bets to miss large chunks of time due to injuries.

As is the case for not just the Yankees, but really for all teams, good health is the first piece towards getting the most out of a roster. Our own Andy Singer did his SSTN Weekly Mailbag, going in depth on the injury related failures the Yankees have experienced in recent times under Brian Cashman’s leadership.

Last season, the Yankees had a whopping 29 players miss a total of 1,563 games, with the Yankees spending 17.5 percent of their payroll ($46.8 million) on the games missed by injured players, thanks to their cumulative in-season injured list which bit deep into their 40-man roster. However, before we raise the Red Cross flag and waive it in surrender, it’s probably best to look at the Yankees injury issues not from a perspective of the Yankees in a vacuum, but rather, I’d challenge writers and fans alike to evaluate the Yankees training staff against the rest of MLB.

The Yankees did seem to be absolutely ravaged by injuries to pretty important players last season, but the results actually show that the 1,563 games that Yankees players missed last season ranked as only the 11th worst in baseball, which placed them in the 65th percentile in league. This means the Yankees injury issues were 15% higher than league average, so while it wasn’t great news for the Yankees, 35% of MLB teams were worse off. Committing resources to Harrison Bader would do little to improve this trend.

17.5% of the Yankees payroll was spent to cover games that injured players missed, which was also very close to the MLB average of 17.3% - so characterizing the Yankees as being unusually snake bitten is a bit off base. Based on the money the Yankees are spending, the medical staff presently would get a grade of C-minus, which represents a very large opportunity for Cashman to improve the process by which he evaluates which players to sign and which ones he elects to pass on. After all, Cashman is the one who is ultimately responsible for putting together such an injury prone roster.

Believe it or not, the teams most negatively impacted by injuries last season were the Reds, Twins, Rays, Cubs, Nationals and Dodgers, Red Sox, Marlins, Pirates and Tigers, who all had worse injury issues than the Yankees did.

Meanwhile, the teams the Yankees played in the expanded MLB playoffs last season were by contrast extraordinarily good at avoiding injuries. Finishing in the first percentile in MLB at avoiding injuries, the Guardians were easily the best in baseball in this department. Their 40-man roster only took a 708 total games missed hit, for which they only wasted a paltry $2.5 million, which was a miniscule 3.8% of their payroll.

Considering that 17.5 percent of the Yankees payroll was hampered by injuries, when you contrast that against a team like the Guardians, it might behoove Hal Steinbrenner ask Cashman to model whatever techniques the Guardians medical staff is utilizing - because Steinbrenner’s payroll is hemorrhaging. In simple terms, the money Cashman is spending to field a team is highly inefficient and it does represent a major opportunity for the Yankees going forward, especially if the goal is to stay ahead of Divisional rivals in this area - like the Blue Jays and Orioles who’s medical staffs both seem to be running rings around the often battered Yankees.

While I respect Harrison Bader’s abilities, the Yankees should pass on committing long term to him. A more prudent move might simply be for Cashman to tap into the Yankees farm system more while perhaps Hal Steinbrenner might also consider spending whatever it takes to fill the roster in with better players where necessary.

Center field is a pretty important position on the diamond and signing Bader long term equates to the Yankees also needing to have a “backup” who they’d be comfortable with giving the lion's share of the at-bats to each season, considering Bader is a virtual lock to miss substantial time.

18 Σχόλια

David Doerfler
David Doerfler
07 Ιουν 2023

Other than last year's draft pick, who do the Yankees have in the minors who have a realistic chance of being a major league player (outfielder)?

Any free agents coming up that are worth considering?

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
09 Ιουν 2023
Απάντηση σε

I agree with Paul on Dominguez as I think he'll be a viable Major Leaguer who will be able to pass as a center fielder early in his career, after which he'll need to move to left field where he's probably best suited. I also think Spencer Jones and to Paul's point, Everson Pierera could both be platoon type 4th or 5th outfielders at some point if all works out in their developments.

Estevan Florial, who's presently raking in Triple-A, can help right now and the Yankees need to promote him for good and do it soon. Yes, he's very strikeout prone but he does a lot right.

I'm not impressed with Cashman's planning this past offseason and I'm less…

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07 Ιουν 2023

The rash of injuries on the Yankees brings this idea to mind: when will baseball adopt the NFL model regarding contracts, i.e., only a portion of a given contract is guaranteed money? I started thinking about this years ago when Cashman gave away the store ($155 million?) on Jacoby Ellsbury who was brittle by the time Cashman signed him and never produced yet continued to collect superstar money. Now we have Carlos Rodon who may pitch for the Yankees...some day. I know, I know. The players union will fight this tooth and nail.

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
07 Ιουν 2023

Woody Allen did say that 80% of success is showing up. On Judge, I get the sarcasm. If he had itallics you could use them but since we don't, it's up the reader to clue in.

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
08 Ιουν 2023
Απάντηση σε

Teams with resources that need some speed and some defense. The Yankees might be one of those teams. Depends on what they think of Dominguez I guess. Who else would be in the picture? Texas? Boston? Detroit? Houston? Minnesota? Maybe a lighter spending team who thinks they can contend like Baltimore (perhaps ready to shift Mullins to left field)? Plenty of NL teams who play small ball might also value Bader.

Point being, center fielders by trade are probably the second most desired positional players, besides shortstops. There's always a market for center fielders who can pick it.

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07 Ιουν 2023

Yankees have more problems than Bader…… two more move to IL today! It’s early June and last nights lineup was scary!

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
07 Ιουν 2023
Απάντηση σε

Stanton will have to step up and carry the load. The truth is that regular season games don't mean that much these days. It's fairly easy for a team like the Yankees to qualify for the playoffs. Will they overtake the Rays or the Orioles - two extremely light spending teams presently ahead of them in the standings? Not sure. But the team should easily be able to stay in contention for a Wild Card Spot with Judge out for 10 days.

Μου αρέσει

07 Ιουν 2023

good thoughts about the desirability of filling the roster with players who don't become injured.

always preferable to have your employees show up every morning ready, willing and able to do their work.

if and when this Judge guy needs time off the team is diminished by his absence

I wonder why the heck they committed a roster spot to him for so many years

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