“I’m not writing off this season,” the team’s co-chairman said Tuesday. “They’re trying hard to win. There’s only so much you can do. They’re not supermen.”
“I think it’s very simple, we’ve been devastated by injuries. No team I’ve ever seen in baseball has been decimated like this. It would kill any team,” Steinbrenner said. “Imagine the Red Sox without (Josh) Beckett and (Jon) Lester. Pitching is 70 per cent of the game. Wang won 19 games two straight years. Chamberlain became the most dominating pitcher in baseball. You can’t lose two guys like that.”
“It’s not making excuses. It’s reality. That’s part of the game. That’s clearly our problem,” Steinbrenner said.
“We’re going to win it next year,” he said. “If we need to add a top veteran pitcher, we’ll do that. We’ll do whatever we need to do. Next year we’ll be extremely dangerous.”
OK, here’s my rub here. Yes, losing Wang hurts. However…no one expected Mussina to be the ace that he is this season. So, yeah, the Yankees lost an ace in Wang – but they gained an ace in Mussina. Basically, the “reasonable expectation from Wang and Mussina” and the “actual production from Wang and Mussina” are a push this season – with most of the heavy lifting coming from Mussina (instead of Wang, as expected).
And, yes, losing Chamberlain hurts too. However…if Hughes and Kennedy were not as bad as they have been this season, the Yankees would not have been so reliant on Joba (in the rotation). So, it’s not the injury to Chamberlain that was the problem – it was the bad judgement to count on Kennedy and Hughes to be 40% of your rotation that was the problem.
Therefore, in the end, it’s weak to play the injury card here.
Further, this “If we need to add a top veteran pitcher, we’ll do that. We’ll do whatever we need to do. Next year we’ll be extremely dangerous” line is insulting. The Yankees had a chance to “add a top veteran pitcher” last off-season (Johan Santana) and passed. So, why will this winter be any different?
Unless, of course…this means that Cashman will be out or over-ruled this time? Hmmm…