Thursday, February 25, 2016

Refsnyder taking reps at third base is a no-brainer

The New York Yankees have finally decided to try and utilize Rob Refsnyder wherever he shows he can play.

Rob Refsnyder
Photo: Arturo Pardavilla III via Flickr
It’s been evident for some time that while the Yankees like Refsnyder’s bat and approach at the plate, they were not at all confident in his ability to play second base. He’s gotten better, but when Starlin Castro became available, the Yankees jumped at the opportunity giving up an important piece in the process.

There isn’t a player at spring camp who is a true third baseman other than Chase Headley and that's somewhat concerning for the Yanks. Although Headley played in 156 games last season, he has fought back problems in the past, and it’s possible that the amount of time he played last season adversely affected his abilities down the stretch.

The Yankees initial plan was to use Castro as an occasional replacement for Headley, and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with having multifaceted players on a roster. That thought gave rise to the chance that Refsnyder could take Castro’s place at second base during the days Castro covered for Headley. Further, if Headley was to get hurt, Castro could slide over and Refsnyder takes over at the keystone.

But why not test Refsnyder at third base? Or in the outfield from where he was transitioned to learn second base? Why not give a guy who is a major league ready hitter a chance to find a comfort zone (or more zones) by moving him around the diamond?

The Yankees finally decided Wednesday that they’ll give Refsnyder some reps at third. The outfield was not mentioned and in all honesty, the Yankees are fairly deep there right now, so it’s not a necessity. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s reluctance to test Refsnyder at third base was most likely related to his still learning second base, but manager Joe Girardi must have been convincing in yesterday’s meeting on the matter.

At this point the Yankees need to get everything they can get out of Refsnyder. Who knows, maybe he performs adequately at third and the need to shift Castro around diminishes allowing him to continue to learn second base of which he has played just 38 games after transitioning from shortstop last season with the Chicago Cubs.

Furthermore, the Yankees only increase Refsnyder’s value by showing he can be more versatile. If it works, it helps the team directly and might make it easier to trade him down the line if they need to. At worst, Refsnyder shows he cannot handle the role and he stays at second base. At best, he aids the team by giving them more options on the field and as a potential commodity.

Like I said  no-brainer.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for His baseball commentary has also been published on The Cauldron via Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.