Bill Madden shares this about the Yankees off-season:
In the Yankees’ case there is sufficient evidence that they’ve regressed while GM Brian Cashman has sat back and watched one prospective improvement player after another go elsewhere, the latest being switch-hitting shortstop Jed Lowrie, who had 16 homers and 42 RBI with the Astros last year, and went to the Oakland A’s for defensively challenged first baseman Chris Carter and a couple of so-so prospects. With Derek Jeter turning 39 this year and coming off major ankle surgery, and the fading, injury-prone 34-year-old Kevin Youkilis brought in to play third base in the absence of Alex Rodriguez, Lowrie seemingly would have been a perfect infield insurance policy for the Yankees. Meanwhile, with the departures of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones, along with the uncertainty of when — or if — A-Rod will ever be back, the Yankees are missing 112 home runs from last year. Nobody ever said Martin was Thurman Munson, but he was a bona fide No. 1 catcher, and with career backups Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart now slated to vie for the job, the Yankee catching appears to be back to the Brad Gulden/Jerry Narron days.
Cashman is looking to replace all that lost power from among a collection of retreads signed off the scrap heap this winter, including injury-prone DH Travis Hafner, who has averaged 86 games the last five seasons, 34-year -old Matt Diaz, 34-year-old Juan Rivera and 33-year-old first baseman/DH Dan Johnson. And speaking of age, did we mention that at a prospective average age of 32.7, the Yankees will be by far the oldest team in baseball this year. In Cashman’s view, however, re-signing Andy Pettitte, who turns 41 in June, and 38-year-old Hiroki Kuroda made for a successful winter.
We’d like to report there are some exciting rookies coming to camp to vie for the third base and corner outfield jobs, but, alas, there are none, as the consistently fallow Yankee farm system is why they’re in this state of decline. The most impressive rookie in camp figures to be hard-throwing righthander Mark Montgomery, who fanned 99 batters in 74 innings at High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton last year and is creating buzz as another potential closer successor to Mariano Rivera. There is also David Adams, a 27-year-old “grinder” type whose career nearly ended in May of 2010 when he sustained a serious ankle injury. The 6-1, 205-pound Adams, a line drive hitter with 15-20 home run power who spent last season at Tampa and Trenton, is more suited for third base, but for some reason, the Yankee player development moguls had him playing second in the Arizona Fall League. What seems clear is they don’t share the same enthusiasm for him as opposing scouts do.
…the consistently fallow Yankee farm system is why they’re in this state of decline…
Yeah, I know, I know…what about Cano, Gardner, Hughes, Roberston…and Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy?
But, bottom line, the Yankees have no reliable and can’t miss prospects who have played above A-ball at this time. And, when you consider the gap/jump between A-ball and the majors, which is H-YOU-GEE-E, then it’s true that the big league Yankees have little immediate help on the farm.