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The worst case scenario defense

Could the 2014 Yankees Field the Worse Defense in Team History?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The last decade has been a golden era for statistical analysis, and in the last decade, the 2005 Yankees were the worst defensive team on record. And when I say worst, I mean a UZR of -147.7; the second worst team (hello 2006 Yankees!) are only at -80.1.

The key to posting the worst defense in league history is to give 9 players the bulk of the playing time, and to have those 9 all register as average to below league average defensive. Surround those players with backups who are even worse.


C Posada McCann
1B Martinez 1.3 Tex 10.7 (2012)
2B Cano -21.8 Roberts 2.0
3B Arod -2.5 Johnson 2.6
SS Jeter -15.0 Jeter -14.0 (2012)
LF Matsui -5.7 Gardner -0.5
CF Williams -42.5 Ellsbury 10.0
RF Sheffield -29.3 Soriano 7.0 (wait, really?)
1B Giambi -18.6 Beltran -15.3

Now, of course UZR is a counting stat, but I thought it was better to look at how the players did in their most recent season than as a rate; Brian Roberts provides above average defense at second base, but I see no point in talking about his stellar averages when he's accrued so little playing time in the last few years.

Obviously (or hopefully?) this team won't challenge for worst defense of the decade. The upgrade of Bernie Williams' final season to Ellsbury alone could prevent that.

But I'm struck by how much like 2005 the 2014 looks, especially in the infield. Looking over these numbers make me wish again that the Yankees had built a field more like CitiField, with endless expanses of outfield for these fleetfooted outfielders to cover.