2013 Season Wrap-Up: New York Yankees

2013 Season Wrap-Up: New York Yankees
M.D. Wright

The summary on the 2013 Yankees (as our season is over, even if you want to watch the rest of the games) is this:

— Teixeira missed 147 games.
— Jeter missed 145 games.
— Cervelli missed 145 games.
— Rodriguez missed 115 games.
— Granderson missed 100 games.
— The Farm System has been virtually barren for the past decade, every single pitcher is overrated and has underproduced even when they made it to the majors — Phelps being the only semi-decent pitcher they have, and he’s barely a 90 fastball, average offspeed guy.
— Betances is slated to be Chamberlain’s replacement, not the right handed CC that they touted him for years.
— Banuelos can’t stay healthy and was not nearly the pitcher they touted him to be.
— Pineda has not thrown a single pitch in a regular season game in the two years since he was acquired from Seattle.
— Literally everyone in the projected lineup AND platoon has been injured at some point this season: Gardner missed 140 games in 2012 and missed the final 12 of 2013, Cano only missed one game due to the J.A. Happ beaning, but missed a game, the aforementioned 150 HR of production was lost for a combined 650 games.
Kevin Youkilis missed 128 games (which will be 134 when it is all said and done).
Eduardo Nunez missed 92 games.
— Literally every pitcher on the staff — starting rotation AND bullpen — not named Mariano Rivera (ironically, being the oldest player in baseball, and coming off a torn ACL in 2012) was injured at some point this season: Sabathia with a new injury suffered in his last start, shut down for season, Andy had a trap muscle injury, Phelps’ missed two months with a forearm injury, Hughes had a back injury to start the season and went 4-13 with a 5.40 ERA, Kuroda was nicked up twice with comebackers and had a start pushed back, Nova had an issue early in the season, Logan, Robertson, and Kelley were all injured within two days of each other in September.

At the end of the day, this team will finish 86-76 (at best) and were surprising to even break .500. I called 81-81 to start the season. They regressed to the mean. Even having 80% of the missed production, they win 95-100 games and Boston is sweating out the division like Baltimore did in 2012.

They did their best, but the era is over and the Yankees had a nice 20-year run. This team is not going anywhere fast, unless they are completely incapable of getting under the $189 Million threshold and are forced to field an actual MLB team (because the farm players are not good) by going after Tulowitzki to play SS and allowing Jeter to pick up his final year player option and platooning him. There is no way a 40 year old coming off a serious injury is going to hold up over 162 games, and Jeter almost certainly will not play in 2015. Brendan Ryan, for all of his acumen with his glove, is nothing more than what Pat Kelly was for the Yankees when Jeter initially got called up in 1995.

Two-thirds of the team is a free agent, and regardless of the $189 Million mandate, three of those players are retiring and one is certain to yield higher offers than the Yanks will offer (Granderson). Kuroda may go back to Japan as he alluded to last offseason, and the Yanks don’t have any assurances in the starting rotation beyond a greatly diminished (permanently) Sabathia and Nova. They don’t know what they will get from Pineda, Phelps an average (at best) pitcher, and Pettitte is retiring next week. $189 Million or not, the Yankees will either have to “buy” (as everyone else apparently plays for charity, to let Met fans and other Payroll Whiners tell it) a pitcher, or roll with a bunch of subpar farm hands who have proven that they cannot even get it done in AA and AAA in Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, respectively.

Things could end up replicating the 1989-1993 years, when the Yankees were perennially between 65 and 89 wins and racked up draft picks that became these legendary players that we are sending off today. If the Yankees do not draft and develop properly in 2014-2017, they could end up looking worse than the Mets have for most of the past 20 years, as they whiffed on a dozen “can’t miss” prospects that never panned out with them — but often went elsewhere to play well — and then things could become really interesting with the persisting rumors that the non-baseball passionate Steinbrenner sons will sell the team by the end of the decade. The Stadium is half empty most games (and not for the reason that numbskulls who constantly whine about the lack of butts in the seats complain, but because of the “moat” that exists between the Legacy and Delta seats and the rest of the seats, and the five-year plan that many Yankee fans purchased in 2009 and expires this season — with many ditching their PSLs effective September 30). There are fairweather fans, but the reality is that most everyone who populated the old stadium have been priced out, and those who could afford to attend games at the new Stadium have been disillusioned and more focused on the concessions — there is literally every type of food available at the Stadium, and fans spend more time there (especially Legacy and Delta seat patrons, with unlimited “free” food all game, even as secondary ticket buyers, who retain those rights even if they got the tickets for $15 instead of $2,500 per game). The Steinbrenner boys only care about the financial bottom line, not winning, and they run the Yankees as such. That is why selling the team is not outside of the realm of possibilities; as they have squeezed every penny out of ticketholders since the new Stadium opened, and they cannot “buy their way” out of the mess that exists after signing aging players to mindless extensions and receiving diminishing returns from everyone who has a major contract today.

Robinson Cano will be the last player that receives a legacy contract for a long time from the Yankees, and he will not get more than 7 years and $150 Million from the Yankees. The only solace there is that the only team that has the money to pay Cano more is the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they have no interest in a 2B. The Red Sox have sewn up their 2B for “life” and the Angels are content with Howard Kendrick. Cano will be a Yankee lifer, but beyond that, you won’t see any major contracts doled out, outside of trading for a player like Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, which would require the Yankees to give up the four or five prospects who are currently too young to be depended upon in the Bronx, but COULD fetch those types of players.

But that would completely deplete the farm system and set it back 6-8 more years. The picture is not pretty, regardless of how you want to paint it, and regardless of the $189 Million mandate (to receive over $30 Million in luxury tax repayments from the teams whose fans are Payroll Whiners, but pocketed the luxury tax money that the Yankees have paid since 1998, and still turned a profit and now have local TV deals as a result). You cannot imagine the Yankees being frugal with spending, or avoiding spending in order to receive repayments, as well as having the incentive to be under the luxury tax threshold in 2014 in order to avoid stiffer luxury tax penalties going forward should they decide to spend and exceed the tax in 2015 and beyond. This is the crux of the $189 Million mandate, and that will decide what the Yankees do, regardless of the outcome of the Alex Rodriguez arbitration hearing, which will begin on September 30. If it does not conclude by November 1, they will even miss out on some of the free agents that they WOULD seek, if they were assured that Rodriguez would be suspended for the entire 2014 season — which is not given; he is more likely to miss 100 games — and if Rodriguez is later suspended for the season, and they miss out out on free agents, they won’t have anyone to go after.

Ironically, the extension that was signed in 2007 with Rodriguez was decried by many, and that fateful decision, along with Rodriguez’s purported steroid and HGH usage even prior to that extension, is going to affect the Yankees’ fate for the remainder of this decade.

That’s fitting.

George is certainly spinning in his grave.

New York Yankees 1


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