• And, I Thought What Was The Second Baseman…

    Posted by on December 19th, 2010 · Comments (14)

    Great stuff from Joel Sherman today -

    The phone calls were one after another. The first to an AL executive I greatly respect followed directly afterward by one to an NL executive I feel similarly about. The question was the same: How do the Yankees look after failing to sign Cliff Lee?

    AL executive: “The way they are constituted right now, they are one injury to a veteran in their rotation or a bad stretch from CC (Sabathia) from losing their season.”

    NL executive: “The Yankees won 95 games last year and Cliff Lee was not on the team. To say the Yankees are worse, why? Just because they lost Andy Pettitte and they might not even lose him? Every year I hear they are too old. We’ll see. I think they will win 95 games again.”

    These are the Yankees of late December 2010, that proverbial glass of water: Hall full or half empty, depending on your perception.

    They need at least one proven starter. Badly. That could be Pettitte. If the veteran lefty shuns retirement yet again, then the club’s rotation is thin, but acceptable as long as there is good health. But without Pettitte, the Yankees’ Nos. 4-5 starters would be Nova and Sergio Mitre.

    On a team with a $200 million payroll, Nova and Mitre probably should be the Nos. 6-7 starters; protection against injury, not main pieces.

    And exacerbating the situation in the AL East is that though the Yankees have been unable to address their major need, the Red Sox have added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, plus Bobby Jenks for bullpen depth.

    “Right now, they are very far behind the Red Sox,” an NL official said. “I thought the Red Sox were more talented than the Yankees last year, but won 89 games because they had so many injuries. I don’t think the Yankees are facing a doomsday scenario. In fact, I think they make the playoffs. But Yankees vs. Red Sox, I don’t think those teams are close right now.”

    But they went into the offseason with Cashman claiming the focus was “pitching, pitching and pitching,” and they so far have added Pedro Feliciano and possibly lost Pettitte. They whiffed on Lee and are trying to portray a brave face that they can win with what they have. But when I posed the possibility of Nova being a key piece in the rotation, an AL East executive said, “Yeah, and Bubba Crosby is going to play center before they sign Johnny Damon and Jesus Montero is going to catch before they sign Russ Martin. They will do something.”

    But what?

    Ah, the clock is ticking…with eight weeks until Pitchers & Catchers report for Spring Training…should be very interesting to watch and see what happens.

    Comments on And, I Thought What Was The Second Baseman…

    1. MJ Recanati
      December 20th, 2010 | 7:31 am

      The problems with columns such as these is that it’s December 2010 right now, not July 2011, right around the trade deadline.

      Do the Yankees look like a pennant winner right now? No, perhaps not. But they don’t have to.

      Meh…anyway, it’s just a journalist trying to fill column inches in the dead of winter when the only way to sell a paper is to bang the same, sad drum. I’m nonplussed.

    2. December 20th, 2010 | 8:01 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Do you really think the Yankees can keep pace with the Red Sox over the first 3 months of the 2011 season with the starting rotation they have now?

    3. December 20th, 2010 | 8:55 am

      Yes, there is still time for Cashman to do something. But it’s getting late early out there, as Yogi might say. Two years ago last Saturday, AJ and CC were being introduced as Yankees, and Tex was about to be one. What’s the plan this year?

    4. MJ Recanati
      December 20th, 2010 | 9:09 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Do you really think the Yankees can keep pace with the Red Sox over the first 3 months of the 2011 season with the starting rotation they have now?

      Sure, why not?

    5. December 20th, 2010 | 9:22 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Compare the Red Sox starting line-up, rotation, and bullpen to that of the Yankees at this moment. There’s your answer.

    6. MJ Recanati
      December 20th, 2010 | 9:45 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Compare the Red Sox starting line-up, rotation, and bullpen to that of the Yankees at this moment. There’s your answer.

      No, there’s YOUR answer. My answer is that even if the Red Sox are better than the Yankees on paper, the Yankees can still win the division and can still make the playoffs as a wild card.

      The Yankees don’t have to keep pace with the Red Sox over the first three months of the 2011 season. A playoff spot isn’t won in June, after all.

    7. Raf
      December 20th, 2010 | 11:37 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Do you really think the Yankees can keep pace with the Red Sox over the first 3 months of the 2011 season with the starting rotation they have now?

      Sure, why not? They’ve done it before.

    8. 77yankees
      December 20th, 2010 | 8:59 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Steve Lombardi wrote:
      Do you really think the Yankees can keep pace with the Red Sox over the first 3 months of the 2011 season with the starting rotation they have now?

      Sure, why not? They’ve done it before.

      If they can win a division with Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon making big contributions the 2nd half of the season in 2005, anything can happen. Sometimes unknowns emerge.

    9. December 20th, 2010 | 10:13 pm

      In 2005, the Yankees “comeback” was aided when the (first place) Red Sox lost 12 of 18 games from June 27th to July 18th.

    10. MJ Recanati
      December 20th, 2010 | 10:32 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      In 2005, the Yankees “comeback” was aided when the (first place) Red Sox lost 12 of 18 games from June 27th to July 18th.

      But that doesn’t count, right? The Yankees didn’t actually win anything, they got an assist from the Red Sox. Ah, the good old “wins don’t count” argument is back in midseason form.

      Never mind that the Yanks went 56-29 (.659) from July 1st-October 2nd, including 6-4 vs. Boston to eventually get the winning margin for their eighth division title in a row.

      You can feel free to discount the contributions of Shawn Chacon, Aaron Small (and Randy Johnson) in the 2nd half of 2005 but the fact remains that the Yankees caught fire and got the job done, even with a sub-optimal pitching rotation coming out of the All-Star Break.

    11. 77yankees
      December 20th, 2010 | 11:00 pm

      Well, if that’s the argument – you can reverse that too. I guess the Diamondbacks didn’t “win” the WS v. the Yanks in 2001 since Pettitte was tipping his pitches, or the Marlins didn’t win in 2003 because Torre brought Jeff Weaver in extra innings.

      2004? Heck – no running on Wakefield/Varitek in extras….no bunting against Schilling in Game 6. Guess Boston didn’t win that either.

      Does it matter whether they won it/we lost it or vice versa? It still goes down in the books as the same result.

    12. MJ Recanati
      December 20th, 2010 | 11:01 pm

      77yankees wrote:

      Does it matter whether they won it/we lost it or vice versa?

      The Yanks had to win all those games while Boston was losing or else we wouldn’t have made up the ground.

    13. Evan3457
      December 21st, 2010 | 12:50 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      In 2005, the Yankees “comeback” was aided when the (first place) Red Sox lost 12 of 18 games from June 27th to July 18th.

      In 1978, the Yankees “comeback” was aided when the (first place) Red Sox lost, hey, whaddya know? 12 out of 18 games.

      The Sox would eventually extend that to going 23-24 over a 47-game stretch between when the Yanks were 11.5 games back on July 9, ending just before the Boston Massacre series in Fenway in early September.

      ==================================================================
      Hey, this is fun!

      The Phils “comeback” in 2007 was aided by the Mets losing 9 of 14 after the Phils swept them in the last head to head series in mid-September. So that one doesn’t count as a comeback, either.

      The Cards “comeback” in 1964 was aided by the Phillies losing 7 in a row in late September before they swept the Phils in the last head-to-head series in the next-to-last series of the season. Phillies led by 6 with 12 to play before they lost those 7 in a row.

      …and on and on like that through baseball history.

    14. BOHAN
      December 21st, 2010 | 2:32 am

      It says it in the peices of the article you posted tht the Red Sox were better ON PAPER. You never know what is going to happen in a 162 game season. Are the Yankees better the Red Sox ON PAPER right now, in DECEMBER? No. Were the Yankees better then the Red Sox at the start of Spring Training last year? Maybe not. Can the Yankees win the division over a 162 game season? Yea. Weaker teams beat stronger teams in baseball everyday. Its what makes baseball the best sport around, better team doesn’t always come out on top. Was the ’96 team the best in baseball? I don’t think so. Was the 2010 Giants the best team this past year? No.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.