What can the Yankees do with a struggling Brian Roberts?

Brian Blanco

Roberts has struggled early. Can he turn things around?

When the Yankees signed Brian Roberts to be their second baseman during the offseason, it was a fairly large gamble. Roberts has been so plagued by injuries, that the last time he played a full season was back in 2009. The Yankees hoped that he would finally be able to stay healthy, and that he might be able to return to the player he was in '09 when he hit .283/.356/.451. So far, Roberts is struggling at the plate more than any other player on the team who has had at least 40 at-bats.

Through 45 at-bats, Roberts is hitting .175/.306/.250 with a .500 OPS and a wRC+ of 62. He has seven hits, eight walks and eleven strikeouts. So far he's been worth 0.1 fWAR. His best game so far came against the Rays on Thursday, when he was a home run short of the cycle. We can hope that means he's finally heating up. Roberts was benched for several days with a lower back strain, and it's possible that he played that way for a few days, which could also have contributed to his early struggles.

What can the Yankees actually do if Roberts shows no signs of improvement? Well, they could cut their losses since he's only signed to a one-year contract for $2 million. I would say that you're kidding yourself if you think this might actually happen, since he brings veteran presents to the table and everything. On the off chance that this did happen, it almost certainly wouldn't occur this early in the season.

Now that Mark Teixeira is back, we could see Roberts riding the bench more frequently. Kelly Johnson's usual position is second base, so he could move there, and Yangervis Solarte could cover third base. Or vice versa. Maybe Roberts is feeling lingering back pain, or some other ailment, and would benefit from a few days off a week. Joe Girardi said that he expects Solarte, Johnson and Roberts to all get fairly regular playing time, but since Solarte and Johnson are hitting much better than Roberts, they might earn themselves more time on the field.

Do you think there's any way that the Yankees would cut Roberts? Or do you think he'll be able to turn things around?

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