Alvaro Espinoza. Oscar Azocar. Bob Geren. These offensive legends combined for over 900 AB for the 1990 New York Yankees. All three posted a wRC + under 67. And still, the team that won a grand total of 67 games featured an offense that was only slightly worse than that of the 2013 Yankees. These current Yankees sport a feeble 86 wRC+ as a team, just barely eclipsing the 85 wRC+ of the ’90 team. It’s the franchise’s second worst mark since 1970. This team is historically inept offensively.
There are more similarities between the two offenses than just their awfulness. The ’90 squad also suffered from absences to incredibly important offensive cogs. Don Mattingly played in only 102 games, and the ones he played in were hampered by a bad back. Dave Winfield managed just 62 PAs before being shipped unceremoniously to California. Jesse Barfield (not unlike Robinson Cano) was the only player that year that managed to both hit well and stay in the lineup with 152 GP and a 128 wRC+. Waiting on injured players to come and lift the offense has shown it may not be an ideal strategy.
But credit to the '90 Yankees, younger players were given the opportunity to replace the production of the missing stars at various points during the campaign. Kevin Maas, Jim Leyritz, Roberto Kelly and Hensley Meullens were all Yankee products 26 or younger that contributed a 95 wRC+ or better that year. They rolled the dice on younger talent, and it ended up being the lone positive in what proved to be a terrible year.
The fact is that the 2013 Yankees are a pretty good team, while the 1990 Yankees are one of the worst in franchise history. But that alone should not make the decision-makers reluctant to make changes to improve this offense. Other than a few select pieces of the everyday lineup, every starter should be vulnerable to getting benched permanently. Or cut. That’s how a terrible offensive team like the ’90 Yankees was treated, and that’s how this team should be treated. In no uncertain terms, just call somebody up already. (Hey, they listened!) Or acquire Giancarlo Stanton for magic beans.
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