• What Could Go Wrong For 2010 Yankees?

    Posted by on February 25th, 2010 · Comments (28)

    Ron Hart, over at Associated Content, lists hisSeven Ways the Yankees Season Could Go Wrong.” They are:

    1. Outfield offense
    2. Age
    3. Contract scenarios with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera
    4. Andy Pettitte’s flickering performance
    5. Joe Girardi’s personality
    6. AJ Burnett and Jorge Posada’s working relationship
    7. DH production (or can Nick Johnson produce what Hideki Matsui did?)

    In summary, Hart offers:

    So while the Yankees will not have many people shedding tears for them, they very well could run into issues as the 2010 campaign opens. If one or two of these things do go wrong for the Yankees, they can probably deal with it. But if, as sometimes happen, everything seems to turn south at once, the Yankees could be fighting all the way, or even on the outside looking in when the 2010 postseason begins.

    I agree that the Yankees offense from DH and the outfield may be lacking this season – compared to last year. But, the offense that the Yankees get from their infield should be more than enough to ensure New York scores between 800 and 900 runs this season.

    I cannot sign on with many of Hart’s other concerns. Sure, they could happen. But, even if they did, I see them more as excuses, and not a valid reason, for not making the post-season this year.

    For me, at this time, the Yankees biggest “go wrong” concerns should be around A.J. Burnett and Javy Vazquez. As always, when it comes to being a contender, especially in the A.L. East, it’s all about pitching.

    New York’s bullpen should be O.K. this year. And, Girardi has shown a knack for finding solutions there when “Plan A” doesn’t work out. So, that leaves it to the starting pitching.

    CC Sabathia should be fine – he’s a proven ace. And, Andy Pettitte will be Andy Pettitte – giving you 200 innings and winning half of his starts, thereabouts. That leaves it up to Burnett and Vazquez to round out the rotation. They both need to make 30 starts, throw 200 innings, and keep their ERA near league average or below. If they both cannot do that, then the Yankees are playing the season with one-half of a starting rotation…compared to the Red Sox and Rays who appear to have very good starting rotations this year. And, that’s a problem.

    Comments on What Could Go Wrong For 2010 Yankees?

    1. Scout
      February 25th, 2010 | 9:12 am

      Seriously, it is always true that if everything goes wrong, a team will have a poor season. Not a news flash. The issue is how likely such a failure is, and in the case of the Yankeees the probability is very small.

      To me, the biggest question mark not on the list is A-Rod’s hip. Will it continue to withstand the grind of daily play? There is no replacement on hand if he goes down for an extended period.

      As for the starting pitching, the Yankees showed last year that if three starters can log around 200 innings apiece, the team can be competitive even in a hotly contested division. With four starters on hand who have a track record of approaching 200 innings, the Yankees are well protected in the event one falls short. Both A.J. and Javy would have to be injured to derail the rotation. And again, that would hold true of any team — take out two of the top four starters and you’re in trouble.

    2. Jake1
      February 25th, 2010 | 9:22 am

      dont sell it short. the outfield offense is a huge concern. especially lf

    3. YankCrank
      February 25th, 2010 | 9:49 am

      Jake1 wrote:

      dont sell it short. the outfield offense is a huge concern. especially lf

      Huge concern? I disagree. The Yankees get monster production from every infield position, making it ok for our outfield to be adequate. All Swisher needs to do is have a year very similar to his ’09, Granderson be Granderson and have a combination of Gardner/Winn/Hoffman/Other equal what Melky put together last year and our outfield can be just as productive as it was last year ( possibly even more productive if you put into account how many more runs will be saved with Granderson and Gardner/Winn patrolling the OF instead of Melky/Damon). That’s not too much to ask, and it’s not a stretch to expect it to happen. I’d put OF offense very low on my list.

      I’d say the only two concerns are age and health, which go hand-in-hand. As we saw in ’08, and as the Rays saw last year, you can only sustain so many injuries and compete in the AL East. You just have to hope that luck is on the side of our older stars, and as Steve said, our pitchers.

    4. February 25th, 2010 | 9:51 am

      Scout wrote:

      To me, the biggest question mark not on the list is A-Rod’s hip. Will it continue to withstand the grind of daily play? There is no replacement on hand if he goes down for an extended period.

      Agreed – great point – esp. about no back-up.

    5. YankCrank
      February 25th, 2010 | 9:56 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Scout wrote:
      To me, the biggest question mark not on the list is A-Rod’s hip. Will it continue to withstand the grind of daily play? There is no replacement on hand if he goes down for an extended period.
      Agreed – great point – esp. about no back-up.

      That’s because no true backup can exist for A-Rod. He provides so much value over replacement player that he’s virtually impossible to replace, or “back up.” IIRC, he’s either first overall or second behind Pujols in MLB in value over replacement since 2000, so good luck replacing him.

    6. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 11:10 am

      I agree that the Yankees offense from DH and the outfield may be lacking this season – compared to last year.
      ===========
      If by mid season the DH spot isn’t contributing that much offensively, I can easily see a call up for Montero where he would split time at DH and catcher with Posada.

    7. clintfsu813
      February 25th, 2010 | 11:17 am

      @ Corey Italiano:
      I see Miranda as a more likely candidate

    8. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 11:23 am

      @ clintfsu813:
      I see Miranda getting called up in the beginning of the season if, let’s say NJ gets injured. But if in July, Montero is mashing in AAA, I just don’t think the Yanks can resist bringing him up if there’s a need in the offense.

    9. MJ Recanati
      February 25th, 2010 | 12:08 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      Under no circumstances should the Yanks bring Montero up with the intention of having him catch games. If he’s still so underwhelming as a minor league catcher now, why would I want him tasked with the job of handling a $60M pitching staff?

      Bringing him up to PH/DH, fine. Bringing him up to catch, no way.

    10. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 12:20 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Under no circumstances should the Yanks bring Montero up with the intention of having him catch games. If he’s still so underwhelming as a minor league catcher now, why would I want him tasked with the job of handling a $60M pitching staff?

      I didn’t say it was a move that I would make, but it is on par with how they operate. See: Hughes’ first season in the bigs.

    11. MJ Recanati
      February 25th, 2010 | 12:22 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      Hughes had graduated the minors, given his sterling pitching record down there. Not exactly the same. Montero’s bat might be ready to graduate but his glove won’t be, not by mid-season 2010 anyways.

    12. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 12:34 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      @ Corey Italiano:
      Hughes had graduated the minors, given his sterling pitching record down there. Not exactly the same. Montero’s bat might be ready to graduate but his glove won’t be, not by mid-season 2010 anyways.

      Not really, its actually largely similar. Hughes had only a couple of starts before they called him up in 2007. And this was after an entire Spring of “We’re gonna leave Hughes in the minors and develop him right”. I would argue that Hughes wasn’t ready to graduate.

      Sounds exactly like what could happen to Montero.

    13. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 12:34 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      Couple of starts in AAA**

    14. MJ Recanati
      February 25th, 2010 | 12:46 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      Not really, its actually largely similar. Hughes had only a couple of starts before they called him up in 2007. And this was after an entire Spring of “We’re gonna leave Hughes in the minors and develop him right”. I would argue that Hughes wasn’t ready to graduate.

      How would you argue that Hughes wasn’t ready to graduate the minors in 2007? A priori knowledge of what happened subsequently (2007-present) is irrelevant.

      Prior to being called up, Hughes had logged 246 MiLB innings. And while he was called up in a semi-emergency role, people felt that he was advanced enough as a pitcher that he could at least compete at the big league level while continuing his development against stiffer competition.

      Further, Hughes’s development had only one component (pitching) whereas Montero’s development includes both hitting and fielding. Since one area is further behind the other, I’d say that promoting Montero in 2010 would be premature if the expectation is for him to do something other than play DH/PH.

    15. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 1:12 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Prior to being called up, Hughes had logged 246 MiLB innings.

      I mean, this is a debate that can’t be won or lost…I think he wasn’t ready back then, as he had barely logged any innings at AAA. I think this is evidenced by his starting numbers at the major league level, but you are welcome to disagree.

    16. MJ Recanati
      February 25th, 2010 | 1:19 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      In hindsight, no, I can’t disagree that more seasoning would’ve been a good idea. More seasoning is ALWAYS a good idea.

      My point is simply that when the Yanks promoted Hughes, it seemed like he was at the point where promoting him wasn’t the craziest thing in the world. Contrast that to your point that Montero could be called up to catch where I feel like that is totally insane. His hitting is definitely advanced enough for the big leagues (most likely, just like Hughes was most likely ready for the jump) but Montero isn’t yet ready to handle the duties behind the plate.

      Anyway, we’re now talking around eachother so there’s no point pursuing this line of debate any further. I think Montero could be called up this year, with the caveat that he doesn’t bring his glove with him. I would have no objection to him taking swings at YS this year but I would strenuously object to him being asked to catch a game this year.

    17. Jake1
      February 25th, 2010 | 2:40 pm

      @ YankCrank:

      Because Swisher could play like he did in 2008 and Granderson could continue being a platoon style player and LF may be a blackhole.

      Because the INF production is great doesnt mean you should not care about the OF’s production.

    18. Jake1
      February 25th, 2010 | 2:42 pm

      Hughes had absolutely nothing left to prove in the minors. He dominated every level he was on.

    19. MJ Recanati
      February 25th, 2010 | 2:43 pm

      Jake1 wrote:

      Because the INF production is great doesnt mean you should not care about the OF’s production.

      Agree, especially since the state of A-Rod’s hip also plays a great deal into the quality of the infield relative to how much it offsets the outfield.

    20. YankCrank
      February 25th, 2010 | 3:55 pm

      @ Jake1:
      I don’t believe I ever said we shouldn’t care about the OF, what I said was all the OF needs to do is stay at last year’s production level, which isn’t asking much at all.

    21. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 5:23 pm

      Jake1 wrote:

      Hughes had absolutely nothing left to prove in the minors. He dominated every level he was on.

      I’m talking about 2007, not 2010.

    22. MJ Recanati
      February 25th, 2010 | 5:40 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      I’m talking about 2007

      What level of the minors that Hughes had pitched in had he not dominated in 2007?

    23. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 6:33 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      He only started what, 3? 4? games in AAA? I don’t call that dominating just yet.

    24. Corey Italiano
      February 25th, 2010 | 6:35 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      @ MJ Recanati:
      He only started what, 3? 4? games in AAA? I don’t call that dominating just yet.

      I know B-R has 5, but IIRC he was rehabbing and made a stop in AAA at the end of 2007.

    25. MJ Recanati
      February 26th, 2010 | 8:09 am

      @ Corey Italiano:
      He had dominated every level he had ever pitched at (Rookie-AA) and it looks like he pretty much had no issues transitioning to AAA either. If domination requires a greater sample size then you can at least say that his minor league record presents no hiccups.

      Again, irrespective of what has happened since being called up, there was never any reason to think that Hughes wasn’t ready to move up to the big leagues based solely on his MiLB numbers. You just can’t argue it other than using hindsight or if you were privy to some scouting reasons to support your argument.

    26. Corey Italiano
      February 26th, 2010 | 8:19 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      If domination requires a greater sample size then you can at least say that his minor league record presents no hiccups

      My point was that he still had something to prove in AAA. 3 or 4 starts doesn’t equate to proving yourself in AAA, to me.

    27. MJ Recanati
      February 26th, 2010 | 8:51 am

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      My point was that he still had something to prove in AAA. 3 or 4 starts doesn’t equate to proving yourself in AAA, to me.

      But why does that even matter? Who cares that he hadn’t “proven himself” at AAA? The point is that the Yanks called up Hughes because he had shown them no reason not to.

    28. March 5th, 2010 | 9:59 am

      [...] just wrote about this a week ago where I said: For me, at this time, the Yankees biggest “go wrong” concerns should be around A.J. Burnett [...]

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