The immediate future of my beloved New York Yankees
The season is over for my beloved Bronx bombers, and it didn’t end with a 28th World Series championship.
That makes 3 seasons consecutive seasons that have come in gone since the pinstripers hung another banner.
Most franchises and their respective fan bases would be thrilled with a 95 win season, a division title and a trip to the ALCS.
But not the New York Yankees.
Any season in New York that doesn’t end with a banner being raised and a championship parade is an abysmal failure.
There haven’t been any championship parades in the Bronx since 2009.
One season without a title sucks, two in a row means that something has to be done, and three in a row inspires full blown, all out panic.
But the immediate future for the Yankees is still incredibly bright.
Under the late and legendary George Steinbrenner, the Yankees were the ideal free agent destination for any big name athlete, and nobody was more willing to deal out the necessary cash to a huge talent than “The Boss.”
My good friend Martin (http://nosebleedhooligans.tumblr.com) said earlier today that if Steinbrenner were still in charge, Swisher would be long gone and Josh Hamilton would be a Yankee by the end of the year.
And he is 100% right.
But the current Yankees’ regime is hell bent on cutting payroll by 2014.
So do what I have long since done, and get free agent center fielder Josh Hamilton out of your minds, fellow Yankees’ fans.
That being said, there are plenty of decisions to be made on free agents within the team itself.
In the outfield, Swisher, Ichiro, Ibanez, and Andruw Jones are all free agents, and they have a team option on center fielder Curtis Granderson.
Swisher is a fan and clubhouse favorite, is seemingly always smiling, appears to love being a Yankee, and puts up strong regular season numbers. But Swish bites the big one in the postseason. He has a career .169 postseason average and has never hit higher than .211 in the playoffs as a Yankee. That simply doesn’t get it done in New York, and I will be shocked if Swisher is patrolling right field for the Yanks on opening day. He hasn’t earned the right to return.
Ichiro hit .322 as a Yankee to end the regular season after coming over from Seattle, and at .275 was one of only 3 Yankees that truly swung the bat well in the postseason. The Yankees will offer Ichiro a one or two year deal. I’m sure of it.
I also believe that the Yanks will offer one year deals to both Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones, assuming Lod Voldemort doesn’t walk away from the game to make another run at Harry Potter and the Yanks’ don’t change their opinion of Andruw Jones as a left hander crusher.
And Curtis Granderson will be back after the Yankees choose him over Swisher. His $13 million player option really isn’t that much for a guy that hit 43 homers and the Yanks may give Granderson one more season to improve upon his abysmal .232 2011 batting average before offering the Grandy Man a big deal.
As far as the pitching staff is concerned, Andy Pettite, Hiroki Kuroda, Mariano Rivera, Derek Lowe, and Freddy Garcia are all free agents, and Rafael Soriano has a $14 million player option for 2013.
The Yanks will try to convince Pettite to come back for another year, will make Kiroda an offer, and there is no chance in hell that Mariano Rivera ever pitches for any other team. Where it gets interesting is with Rafael Soriano. Soriano is coming off of a stellar 2011 campaign that saw him pick up the slack nicely after a season ending injury to Rivera. He COULD look to capitalize on that big success via a long term deal to immediately be the closer elsewhere. But there is no doubt that the Yankees want him back, and I think that he likes his role as the long term solution that will be created by Rivera’s retirement. Garcia and Lowe are toast.
In the infield, Eric Chavez and Russell Martin are both free agents. The Yanks love Chavez glove and I have little doubt that they will offer him a deal. But Chavez could potentially get a bigger deal as well as a bigger role on another team, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave. Russell Martin, who despite hitting only .211 in 2011, hit 21 homers and caught 133 games. He is great with the Yankees staff and better defensive catchers are scarce at his price. The Yankees may very well bring him back, but I for one would like to see them take a run at A.J. Pierzynski. A left handed hitter that hit .272 and 27 homers in a stadium in which the right field bleachers are quite a bit further than the short 314 ft porch in the Bronx? Let’s just say, I think he definitely deserves a look.
Now for other concerns…
I am not concerned in the least about Derek Jeter’s age.
In 2012, at age 38, Jeter hit .316, his 15 homers were the most he’s hit since 2009, and his 216 hits were the 2nd most of his career, trailing only the 219 hits he got in 1999 at age 25. Jeter has at least 2 more .300 seasons ahead of him, and a couple of .280’s after that.
Mark Teixeira’s constantly declining batting average is of concern to me, but for my money, there isn’t another player in the league I would rather have take the field at first base.
Robinson Cano is going to get a big extension at some point. Despite his AWFUL postseason, one that for my money was WORSE than A-Rod’s, the Yanks will need that long term guy to step in and prepare to take the reigns of the team as Derek Jeter’s career winds down. One can only hope that Cano eventually plays like Jeter in the postseason…
Now for the biggie…Alex Rodriquez is NOT going anywhere, folks. PERIOD. Get it out of your minds. No team in the league is going to give $30 million a season to a 38 year old third baseman, that is becoming more and more injury proned by the season, and isn’t half the hitter he was as little as 4 years ago, and isn’t a third of the hitter he was 5 years ago. And the current Yankees regime, one that once again, is trying to cut payroll by 2014, is NOT going to pay 50-60% of A-Rod’s salary for him to play against him. We made a mistake when we gave A-Rod that huge deal several years ago, and we are just going to have to pay the price for it. And it’s the same price the Angels will be paying with Albert Pujols in 3 years…love him or hate him, A-Rod will be a Yankee into his 40’s.
Michael Pineda will be back, healthy, and ready to deal to start 2013, and I honestly believe that the Yanks will attempt to relieve themselves of either Joba Chamberlin or Phil Hughes. I believe they would prefer to deal Chamberlin, but because of Joba’s laundry list of recent injuries as well as his incosistency when healthy, Hughes holds the greatest trade value.
Our current roster was built around the dimensions of Yankee stadium, especially our 314 ft short porch in right field. Our lineup is loaded with power hitting pull hitters that are all swinging for the fences, and when they aren’t hitting home runs, they struggle mightily. THAT is what each and every one of us witnessed in the postseason. I would LOVE for us to find a way to rid ourselves of a couple of these power swinging post season choke artists in favor of a few guys who get on base, and run the bases well. But regardless of whether we do that or not, and I don’t believe that we will right away, the next 2-3 years for the New York Yankees are every bit as promising as this season WAS.
We will be right in the AL East hunt all season long in 2013 and will be a threat to win the whole thing if and when we get in.
There is no doubt in my mind.