• Yanks This Spring: Intriguing & Unimproved?

    Posted by on February 12th, 2013 · Comments (8)

    Via Jayson Stark -

    Most Intriguing American League Spring Stories

    Yankees

    1. Yanks For The Memories: Every spring is a soap opera in Yankee Land. So why should this spring be any exception? Will Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera perform their standard miraculous healing act? Will a proven catcher (not counting Yogi Berra) stop by one of these days? Will the Yankees figure out a way to replace those 101 home runs that just vanished off the roster over the winter? Will Robinson Cano’s walk year before free agency erupt into crisis-hood? And will the artist formerly known as A-Rod appear in this camp at any point? That’s about 1/87th of the plotlines hovering over Steinbrenner Field this spring. But again, what else is new?

    Most Unimproved American League Teams

    1. Houston Astros
    2. New York Yankees

    Nothing amazed us more during this entire survey than the votes flowing out of this precinct. We expected the Astros to swamp the most unimproved competition. Instead, it was stunningly close: The Astros showed up on 11 ballots, to the Yankees’ nine. So what’s up with that? We’ll tell you what’s up with that. The Yankees might wind up winning 40 more games than the Astros. But the Astros were already a 107-loss team, and their 2013 record is almost irrelevant in the context of their long-term (make that REALLY long-term) blueprint. The Yankees, on the other hand, are an outfit that has led us to believe the only acceptable outcome of any season involves confetti and massive champagne spritzing. So to see this team jettison its emergency closer (Rafael Soriano), its catcher (Russell Martin), its right fielder (Nick Swisher) and its latest, greatest Mr. October action figure (Raul Ibanez), among others, while adding only Kevin Youkilis and a bunch of low-budget free-agent lottery tickets (Travis Hafner, Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, etc.) was apparently staggering to many of our voters. One described the Yankees as “the most unimproved good team.” Another asked, though not entirely seriously: “Is someone going to pick the Yankees last? I know that’s unlikely. But one of these years, all the age on that team is going to hit them. Right? Doesn’t it have to?” Yeah, we guess so. But we still didn’t see this vote coming. Did you?

    The more I think about the Yankees chances this season, the more it keeps going back to their starting pitching.  And, then I think about that, I think about Sabathia’s mileage and injury last year, Pettitte’s age, and Kuroda no longer being new to the league.  Oh, that and the fact that you have no idea if Phil Hughes is going to be solid this season or who will be their fifth starter.  Pondering all that, I don’t know how anyone can feel confident about the Yankees chances in 2013.  Yes, they will not lose more than 81 games.  But, will they win more than 85?

    Comments on Yanks This Spring: Intriguing & Unimproved?

    1. Scout
      February 12th, 2013 | 7:27 am

      Well, they ARE unimproved. That’s pretty obvious. Much more talent left than came in. That net loss translates into a team that, on paper, is clearly worse than the one that lost in the play-offs last year.

      But it is still early. The team that starts the season is never the one that you see in July, much less September. And, not to belabor the obvious, games aren’t played on paper. I am not optimistic, but it could be a lot worse — we should be happy we’re not Mets fans.

    2. MJ Recanati
      February 12th, 2013 | 11:35 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      Kuroda no longer being new to the league.

      I don’t see why that’s relevant. If a pitcher can come over from a pitcher’s dream — National League, NL West, Dodger Stadium — and succeed in the American League (and specifically in the AL East at Yankee Stadium), I don’t see why there’s going to be this giant league catch-up regression in 2013.

    3. LMJ229
      February 12th, 2013 | 12:08 pm

      I don’t understand why the writers would be so surprised at the results. The Yankees clearly are unimproved. There may be other teams that clearly qualify for the title but the yankees lack of activity is more glaring given the Yankees history of big moves. Bringing back your own free agents, while necessary, is not nearly as sexy. And it does not improve the team it merely maintains the status quo.

    4. MJ Recanati
      February 12th, 2013 | 1:54 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      I don’t understand why the writers would be so surprised at the results.

      They’re not surprised at the results, the author simply has to write the article as if they are. Otherwise, the article is as trite as pointless as almost everything else on ESPN. Manufactured surprise is what ESPN specializes in.

    5. 77yankees
      February 12th, 2013 | 4:10 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      They’re not surprised at the results, the author simply has to write the article as if they are. Otherwise, the article is as trite as pointless as almost everything else on ESPN. Manufactured surprise is what ESPN specializes in.

      Bingo. Nothing pushes the page hits with all the haters like the “Yankees Are Going 0-162″ articles.

      Of course a pitch has yet to be thrown, injury(ies) have yet to happen, and trades have yet to be made, but why let that get in the way of reason of the pre-determined conclusion.

    6. Evan3457
      February 13th, 2013 | 5:28 pm

      Well, OK…teams add players, but they also lose players.

      Players decline…others improve. New players come up from the minors.

      I haven’t read the article, but it’s not really possible for every team in the league to improve over last year, unless they dominate the NL more than they did in 2012.

      Having said that, it does appear the Yanks are not as strong as last season, while the Red Sox and Jays have improved. The Rays may well have improved, too, I’m not 100% sure of that. The O’s don’t look any better to me, but maybe a full season of Machado and maybe Bundy will change that.

      I would therefore expect the Yanks to win fewer games than they did last year. How many fewer? I don’t know. But if fewer, then they will not have “improved the least”. They will have dis-proved. Or de-proved. Or un-proved. Or anti-proved. Or nega-proved.

      Or something.

    7. Evan3457
      February 13th, 2013 | 5:29 pm

      Oh…if they happen to win fewer games, but make it to the World Series…or somehow win it all, does that count as “improvement” or “de-provment”.

    8. Raf
      February 13th, 2013 | 6:53 pm

      77yankees wrote:

      Bingo. Nothing pushes the page hits with all the haters like the “Yankees Are Going 0-162″ articles.

      Especially since PED’s have squashed the ____ reported to camp in the best shape of his life/with 10 pounds of muscle articles you usually find this time of year. :P

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.