Yankees' fans have grown a little tired of Chase Headley since the third baseman inked a new deal with the team before last season. His constant inability to throw the ball to first base last season was exhausting, and now he's just not hitting. It seems like the yips problem may be better, but his bat has been a pretty huge disappointment.
What will surprise no one is that fans are always looking for the replacement for a struggling player. It doesn't matter how much they are being paid or how completely unlikely it is that the team will bench them, a player who is struggling needs to go in the minds of fans. There are some who will even suggest players who absolutely cannot be sent to the minors without their consent (which they will never give) be sent down just to get rid of them.
The illogical pleas sometimes make sense. We all wanted someone, anyone, to replace Stephen Drew at second base pretty much the entire time he was a Yankee. It didn't matter how it happened, it just needed to happen. In that case, it seemed like there was no reason to believe Drew would ever turn it around. That isn't the case with Headley.
It's often said as a fact that whoever comes to replace the struggling player can't be worse. That is just wholly untrue. Remember when Drew couldn't be worse than Brian Roberts? Oops.
A lot of the clamoring to bench Headley has been centered around Rob Refsnyder. Fans have wanted him to get a chance with the Yankees for quite a while, beginning when it seemed like he could be an easy upgrade over Drew. Everyone seemed to be on that bandwagon except the Yankees, who still had massive concerns about Refsnyder's defensive abilities.
Trading for Starlin Castro in the offseason made it more obvious that the team did not trust Refsnyder as their second baseman for one reason or the other. His bat seemed good enough, but the defense remained a question. They tried to move him to third base in spring training to give him a better chance of making the team. That went disastrously as he took two grounders to the face at the hot corner.
Now that Refsnyder has been sent to Triple-A, he is struggling offensively. His OPS is well under .500, and his offense is one facet of his game that no one has ever needed to worry about until now. Many will claim that the Yankees' lack of faith in Refsnyder is the reason he's struggling, and I'm not sure I buy that. If that is, in fact, the case, then they were right to not trust him with a big league starting job. If one's psyche is so easily damaged, it's going to be difficult to survive under the bright lights of New York City.
Whatever the case may be, Refsnyder is not the answer to the third base problem. He really never was to begin with, even without the added offensive troubles. Headley will be given every opportunity to break out of his funk, and chances are that his numbers won't look nearly this bad in a month or so. Refsnyder's shakiness at third base almost certainly will look the same.
It's true that the Yankees can't expect greatness from Refsnyder at third base in such a short timeframe. Give them some credit for at least trying to find a way to fit him onto their roster. It kind of dispels the theory that the team hates Refsnyder and they are out to ruin him. It seems more like they want to find a way for him to fit that doesn't hurt the team.
Give Headley some time to fix things and he'll probably come around. Maybe not, but he at least has a track record that suggests he's earned some benefit of the doubt. Regardless of what happens, it's probably time to give the calls for Refsnyder a rest for now. He has plenty to figure out on his own, and he needs time to do that at Triple-A.