Times flies. Shoot, it seems like it was yesterday that I started writing this blog. But, in actuality, it was over four years and eight months ago.
The 2010 Yankees season is right around the corner. But, because time does fly, the 2012 Yankees season is not very far away as well. And, that leads to the question of “What will the Yankees look like, two years from now, at the start of 2012?”
Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte will be gone from the Yankees scene by that time. (Or, at least, they should be – by most reasonable expectations.) However, which current Yankees will still be with the team two years from now (in ’12)?
Alex Rodriguez should be here – he’s under contract until 2017. But, A-Rod will be 36-years old in 2012. And, while he should be good 27 months from now, under normal (natural?) conditions, his better days will be behind him by ’12.
Will CC Sabathia still be with the Yankees in 2012? According to his contract, he can “opt out” and become a free agent after the 2011 season. Yet, I find it hard to believe that Sabathia will be able to better his contract by that time…the way contracts are trending in baseball. So, CC should still be here 27 months from now.
Mark Teixeira (whose contract expires in 2016) will still be here in ’12. And, he’ll just be 32-years old at that time. How about A.J. Burnett? His contract does run through 2013. So, he should be here – but, will he be effective?
Now, of course, the big question in this whole thing is Derek Jeter. He can become a free agent after the 2010 season. Will the Yankees bring him back? Well, of course, it would be insane to allow the face of the franchise to leave, etc. In any event, if Jeter is still with the Yankees in 2012, he’ll be 38-years old that season – and most likely no longer playing shortstop.
What about some other current Yankees? Robinson Cano’s contract is up after 2011 – but the Yankees have an option for 2012. It’s $14 million for that season, or, a $2 million buy-out. That could be a very interesting call. Nick Swisher is in the same situation – under contract until 2011 with an option for 2012 ($10.25 million or $1 million buy-out). But, I doubt Swisher will still be with the Yankees by 2011 – much less by 2012. Curtis Granderson is under contract until 2014 – so, he should be here in ’12 (when he will be 31-years old). Lastly, guys like Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, and Phil Hughes should be around in 2012 – assuming they don’t play themselves out of town.
On the bright side, if you’re Brian Cashman, Kei Igawa will be gone come 2012. (Yes, his contract expires after the 2011 season…leaving just two more years of Iggy in Yankeeland.)
So, this all told, if you had to project the Yankees 2012 line-up, today, it would look something like this:
Catcher TBD First Base Mark Teixeira Second Base Robinson Cano Third Base Alex Rodriguez Shortstop TBD Left Field Curtis Granderson Center Field TBD Right Field TBD D.H. Derek Jeter No. 1 Starter C.C Sabathia No. 2 Starter TBD No. 3 Starter A.J. Burnett No. 4 Starter Joba Chamberlain No. 5 Starter TBD Closer Phil Hughes/David Robertson
As you can see, the Yankees are going to need some help at catcher, shortstop, the starting rotation, the outfield, and possibly closer, by the time the 2012 season comes along.
Will Austin Romine be the Yankees catcher in 2012? Will Jesus Montero bring someone, via trade, to help in the outfield or as a starting pitcher? Will Jeremy Bleich, Andrew Brackman, Manny Banuelos or Zach McAllister be ready to help the Yankees as a starting pitcher in ’12? (Don’t hold your breath on these pitchers, if you ask me.) Will Ramiro Pena or Eduardo Nunez be the player to follow Derek Jeter at shortstop?
What about free agents? Will the Yankees look to re-sign Javy Vazquez after the 2010 season and have him around come 2012? Or, will they try and sign Cliff Lee after this season? And, yes, there will be wondering about players like Joe Mauer and Carl Crawford if they become free agents after this season.
The 2009 Yankees were World Champions. And, the 2010 Yankees have to be considered as contenders for the ring as well. But, come 2012, due to the age of some of their stars (like A-Rod and Jeter) and the needs that the Yankees will have at catcher, the outfield, and pitching, we could be looking at a team that is not as pretty as the one we have now in Yankeeland. And, 2012 is just 27 months away…
Brian Cashman and company will have their work cut out for them over the next couple of seasons…building that team for 2012. Because, right now, it’s got issues and holes out the ying yang…and the ’12 season starts just about two years from now…