• Looking At The 2011 Yankees

    Posted by on February 5th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    This is what I see, today, when I look at the 2011 Yankees starting rotation, line-up, and bullpen:

    Starting Pitchers
    CC Sabathia – an ace, a stud, on a path to Cooperstown. But, overweight and coming off knee surgery, albeit minor.
    A.J. Burnett – ERA over 5 last season. Immature. At his best, he’s averaging seasons of 13-12 with an ERA of four.
    Phil Hughes – An ERA of 5.15 over his last 20 games in 2010. (18 of 20 games were starts.)
    Sergio Mitre – Lifetime ERA of 5.27.
    Ivan Nova – Rookie. Has 42 big league innings under his belt.
    Freddy Garcia – ERA over his last 5 big league seasons is 4.69.
    Bartolo Colon – Didn’t pitch in majors last season. ERA from 2004 through 2009 was 4.58.

    Starting Line-up
    Russell Martin – An OPS of .680 over the last two seasons.
    Mark Teixeira – Coming off his worst season (in 2010) since 2006. Still a good player.
    Robinson Cano – 60 point drop in his OPS between 1st and 2nd half in 2010. Still a good player.
    Derek Jeter – Had the worst season of his career in 2010. Will be 37-years old in 2011.
    Alex Rodriguez – Coming off his worst season (in 2010) since 1999. Signs of rapid, early, decline.
    Brett Gardner – Batted .232 with .330 SLG in the 2nd half of 2010 – was injured and required off-season surgery.
    Curtis Granderson – An OBA of .333 with 257 strikeouts over the last two seasons.
    Nick Swisher – Solid offensive performer last two seasons. Major case of red-light fever.
    Jorge Posada – Doesn’t want to DH and will be 39-years old in 2011.

    Bullpen
    Mo Rivera – The best ever – but will be 41-years old in 2011.
    Rafael Soriano – If healthy, should make a positive contribution. Still, a bit of a headcase – so, you never know.
    Pedro Feliciano – If healthy, should make a positive contribution. Probably won’t be likeable because he’s a hotdog.
    Joba Chamberlain – The poster child for the mistake of letting a young pitcher get a big head too soon.
    Boone Logan – Pleasant surprise in 2010. Career record says it was a fluke.
    David Robertson – Walk rate is still too high, almost 5 per 9 IP in 2010, and has shown no signs of going down. Also seems like an injury waiting to happen.

    How this team is suppose to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox in 2011 is beyond me. And, there’s a chance that the Rays, O’s and Blue Jays may give them a run for their money too.

    Comments on Looking At The 2011 Yankees

    1. KPOcala
      February 5th, 2011 | 12:55 pm

      Steve, good points made. You could also a similar shredding of the Boston roster as well. Boston is NOT a no-brainer to run through the AL.

    2. GDH
      February 5th, 2011 | 1:06 pm

      I think you can run worst-case scenarios on any team – on paper. The only place where we’re arguably much weaker than the Red Sox is in the starting rotation. And ours will improve as the season progresses. It’s a question of whether we can hang in there for the first half. That said, I’ll be very curious to see if Boston’s high-priced mediocrity can rise above this year as well – and by that I mean Beckett and Lackey, not to mention Papelbon, Jenks, and the rest of the mediocre bullpen.

      KPOcala wrote:

      Boston is NOT a no-brainer to run through the AL.

      Agreed – but they have some damn good pieces in place this year. And their lineup is not one I’d like to throw Sergio Mitre at.

    3. February 5th, 2011 | 1:48 pm

      The wheels really came off the wagon this week with Andy’s exit. AJ has to step up big time and be the pitcher he was in 2008. You realize what a longshot that is when you look at his entire career. 2008 is really the only standout year he has ever had. The rest of his career sets the bar around 12 or 13 wins at best.

      Hughes is still growing as a player and maybe he can emerge as that solid number 2 guy, that is something we can all hope for. To me the plan should be to try and work Joba back into the starting mix. I don’t really see where the Yanks have a choice, he’s the best of the rest.

      I’m not a big Feliciano guy, the number of inning he has pitched concerns me. The rest of the pen should be OK, I’m a little concerned about Mariano at the age of 41.

      Tex, well he’s great in the field but this slow start thing is definitely perplexing. Jeter could be a big problem, a below average defender at short on a team with questionable starting pitching spells trouble. What some folks called an off year at the plate could be the beginning of the end, at some point the skills just go and don’t come back. Like that guy said in Home Alone 2, “maybe I’m off my hinges” but I believe AROD has enough left in the tank to give us a good 2011.

      The outfield concerns me big time. Gardner had a good year, I was one who knocked him around here. He’s a better player than I thought he would be, but that said, I still think he is more of a reserve than a regular player. He’s the kind of player you’d see starting for Kansas City more than a team like the Yankees. There is no margin of error with this guy. If he is off a little bit from last year we have a problem. Granderson, well I guess we are going to find out. He had a hell of a finish but that April to July run can’t be repeated. As the Yankee line-up continues to shrink in terms of overall effectiveness, I wonder if Swisher’s offensive numbers won’t start to nosedive.

      I think Posada will do OK, he’s a pro, I do think he will catch a lot more than any of us now think.

      It could get ugly around here and the problems may be long term if things don’t break exactly right. I think this season could range from a 79-83 year to a 91-71 year. I don’t believe the team can finish first but I do think they could capture the wild card. To me, the season will come down to Hughes, he has to become a major frontline starter; AJ, he has be at least as good as Andy was; and someone has to step from the shadows and make a big time contribution (either Montero or Joba).

    4. Evan3457
      February 5th, 2011 | 2:11 pm

      Well, that’s one way to look at it, I suppose.

      Here’s another. The Yanks won 95 games last season with Hughes’ 2nd half, AJ miserable last 4 months, and Javy Vazquez’ two prolonged stretches of lousy pitching, and with Andy’s injury that knocked him out for two months.

      From that team, the ONLY major loss is Pettitte.

      To that team, they’ve added Russell Martin, Feliciano and Soriano.
      Between the three of them, they improve the team as much as losing Andy’s 2/3 season damages it, and he was unlikely to duplicate that season.

      You mention 3 guys in the starting lineup had their worst season, but you evade the likely outcome this season that at least 2 of the 3 are likely to improve over last season, and not decline further. Cano’s 2nd half decline is mentioned, but not Granderson’s 2nd half improvement. As was the case with Swisher and Granderson, in trading for Martin, the Yanks have traded for a player who used to be very productive, but who is coming off down years, and is likely to do better.

      The Red Sox are better. The Rays? Probably not better. The Orioles are probably better. The Jays? Probably not.

      In addition, in spite of the Soriano signing, this team retains massive amounts of room under its payroll cap to add mid-season help, something that was not the case in 2009, and probably not the case in 2010.

      ======================================
      AJ doesn’t have to get back to 2008. He has to get back to 2009. Hughes has to match what Andy did in 2009, if he can. In 2009, the #5 job was an open running sore for nearly the entire season, and the #4 fell apart the last two months so profoundly that the team went with three in the post-season. The bullpen was in flux the whole season, and guys that did well in the regular season (Hughes, Coke) did poorly in the post-season.)

      This team will not have that team’s overall firepower, but this team’s defense is significantly better, overall.

      =====================================
      I think that this team, with a normal amount of regression to the norm by some of its key people, is a 90-win team right now, as it stands. That puts it in the Wild Card race.

    5. February 5th, 2011 | 5:55 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Your theory would be interesting if the O’s, Jays, Rays and Red Sox would be exactly the same as they were in 2010 this season. But, that’s not the case. The Red Sox will be much, much, better. And, the Yankees got worse. The Rays? Depends on their pen. The O’s? They will be much better than in 2010. The Jays? Dunno.

    6. KPOcala
      February 5th, 2011 | 6:00 pm

      So many teams should have the Yankees problems. I love a bullet-proof team as much as any of you guys. But, just compare the Yanks v Red Sox: Yanks better infield, Yanks better outfield, Yanks better catcher and bullpen. Boston probably has the better 1-2 slots (yes, I know, no small thing), Lackey v Burnett is a wash, and really 4&5 pitchers are almost never a sure thing for any team (Phillies excepted). The Yanks are somewhat brittle, but worse than the Sox? I don’t believe so. This season will boil down to a few lucky bounces, one or two key injuries, and the following sentence. Now, this season, will make or break Cashman (IMHO), because he will have lot’s of money and minor league talent. If the Yanks hang in until June (they should), Cashman can make the season a success. If he shoots himself in the foot, then Steve is deserving of being called, The Prophet ;)

    7. KPOcala
      February 5th, 2011 | 6:02 pm

      @ GDH:
      Totally agree…

    8. Evan3457
      February 5th, 2011 | 6:41 pm

      The O’s have gotten better. I don’t see “much”, unless Wieters, Jones and Markakis finally live up to their potential. Hardy is a pretty big improvement. Reynolds MIGHT be a big improvement. He might not be that big an improvement at all. Yes, Camden Yards is a great HR ballpark, but Chase Field is a pretty good HR park, too. If the Yanks had signed Reynolds, you’d have said Cashman wasted money bringing in a .198 hitter who strikes out 200 times a year. Gregg will help their pen, but their pen was already pretty good by the end of last season. If the Yanks had signed Derrek Lee, you’d have said Cashman wasted money on a 35-year old player in decline.

      The O’s are going to hit a lot more HR, maybe 30-50 more. They will improve. However, it is unlikely they will sneak up on teams as they did down the stretch last year. Showalter will be doing well if he can get them to .500.

      The Rays…as I said earlier, the dichotomy is weird. Jeter, A-Rod, Posada, Mo…they’re in obvious decline. But when the Rays sign Manny and Damon, it’s, “uh-oh, watch out for the Rays”.

      The Jays have lost some bullpen guys and picked up some others. As their bullpen was one of the best in baseball, it’s hard to see how they’ve improved in the short-term. They traded one of their top starters in Marcum. Lawrie’s a terrific prospect, but he won’t be a factor until 2012, at the earliest. They exchanged Wells for Juan Rivera. Again, that payroll freed up is great for the future, but it’s hard to see how that helps them this year. I suppose losing Overbay and getting Lind out of the OF and at 1st might help some. The Jays might be a stone-cast beach to deal with in 2013, but in the short run, they’re likely 5th place, 75 wins or less.

      The Red Sox will be terrific. People are underrating Lackey. He pitched just fine down the stretch, but had poor luck.
      ==============================================
      The Yankees look like a 90-win team to me, right now. The O’s, White Sox, Tigers, and A’s will be better. Maybe the Angels, too, but that’s hard to see. The Rangers will be about the same. The Twins should be about the same, maybe slightly worse. 90 wins puts the Yanks in the Wild Card race, and, as there will be a lot of teams that are better, it becomes more unlikely that anyone will pull away in the first half.

      The Yanks are not without resources. If Jorge doesn’t hit, or Martin doesn’t hit, here comes Jesus. Brackman, Noesi, Adams will all be available by the 2nd half to come up and help out. The farm system is loaded for trade. The only upside in not getting Lee is that it leaves room under their self-imposed cap for picking any player of any salary in a money dump trade.

      So we wait and see.

    9. 77yankees
      February 5th, 2011 | 8:52 pm

      Funny, I thought this was a preview of Mike Duplica’s Sunday Daily News column.

      Either that or another portrayal of Fred & Jeff Wilpon as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.

    10. GDH
      February 6th, 2011 | 10:32 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      The wheels really came off the wagon this week with Andy’s exit.

      I disagree. I view Andy’s decision as neither here nor there, and not really pertinent to the Yankees situation. Sure, I would have preferred Andy to come back. At $12M for 20 starts and 150 or so innings, more of a warm cozy security blanket than a #2 or #3 starter, which is what the Yanks really need. I love Andy, but age 39, that’s not Andy Pettite.

      We made it to the ALCS last year with half a season of Andy and a total crap job from Burnett, and on and on if you want to exhaust the glass-half-empty logic. The Sox replace the Rays as the division heavyweight, but the rest of the division is a arguably a wash and the Yanks will compete if they play well. They are one piece, maybe two away from being very strong, and that piece will be added as the season progresses.

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