I can say without question that I am concerned about the health of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. I don't consider myself any sort of pessimist, but it's really hard not to be when you have two veterans coming off of seasons where they both managed to play less than 20 games. Also add in the wrinkle that Teixeira has already been experiencing discomfort in his surgically repaired wrist, and it's not unreasonable to have some misgivings. General Manager Brian Cashman does not share those feelings, as his focus is currently elsewhere as you can see in an interview with the New York Post's George A. King III written on Wednesday:
"What happened last year was unfortunate and unexpected,’’ Cashman said. "I have been conditioned to not worry about Derek Jeter. I haven’t deviated from that. Maybe that’s a mistake or the wrong thing but I grew up with that so it’s hard to start worrying about it. He is almost one of those guys you never have to worry about. Last year was shocking.’’
These are candid thoughts shared by Cashman that are definitely supported by the Yankees offseason strategy. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to shore up other areas, but the infield was largely ignored. They're going to take their chances with Jeter and Teixeira and let the chips fall where they may.
Cashman's thoughts on Jeter are somewhat understandable. His injury was more of a freak accident than anything and he has not yet had any setbacks in his training. I would rather he not think of Jeter as an immortal demigod at this stage in his career, but The Captain has that effect on people. Teixeira is the one I have a hard time wrapping my head around. His injury is one that may impact the rest of his career moving forward and prevent him from being anything near the player he was before it occurred. Cashman absolutely should be concerned about Teixeira for this year and every year he's under contract until he shows on the field that he's okay for an extended period of time.
You never assume injuries, so the Yankees could have only done so much to protect themselves since Jeter and Teixeira were inevitably going to penciled in as everyday starters. But the lack of depth in the infield with three injury risks set to be starters is still unacceptable. In the interview Cashman noted that the Yankees have spent all they're going to spend, so if something happens during the season or Spring Training it's going to be a trade or a cheap signing that comes in as a replacement.
I have always been a fan of Cashman's patient, measured approach as a GM. But he needs to realize that an already not particularly good infield is teetering on the edge of being downright terrible. Hopefully, his lack of concern notwithstanding, he'll be able to acquire some talent that could fill in for Jeter or Teixeira if a problem arises. Until then, I'll just opt to do as he has: put my faith in Derek Jeter and cross my fingers for Mark Teixeira.