Just reading about Gary Sheffield’s back flare-up today, I began to wonder – What if something terrible happens to the Yankees this spring, and, either Matsui or Sheffield gets knocked out for most of the season?
Right now, I’m guessing that the Yankees are hoping that both Matsui and Sheffield can play in 155 games each this year – and that means that Bernie Williams gets about 375 ABs as a sometimes-DH and other-times back-up OF. Related, then Andy Phillips gets about 275 ABs this year – and Bubba Crosby chips in about 100 ABs.
But, if either Sheff or Godzilla go down for the year, before the season starts, then Bernie Williams probably gets 485 ABs instead of 375 ABs. And, related, Andy Phillips probably jumbs from 275 to 450 ABs. Also, Bubba Crosby goes from 100 to 350 ABs.
Think about that – you’re losing a full year of ABs from either Sheffield or Matsui and replacing it with 110 ABs from a tired Bernie Williams, 175 ABs from Andy Phillips facing pitchers he should probably sit against, and about 250 ABs more from light-batting Bubba Crosby.
Granted, over the last three years, Matsui and Sheffield have been iron men of sorts. I hope they can do it again this year. Plan B is not looking to sweet to me right now – if they cannot answer the bell everyday.