Good summary on the current state of the Yankees via Joel Sherman -
The Yankees have played .540-or-better ball (the equivalent of 87.5 wins in a 162-game season) for an unprecedented 20 straight seasons. The previous record was 18 consecutive years by the dynastic 1926-44 Yankees.
It is an amazing streak that speaks to the depth of talent the Yankees have had, a depth that has meant even if things pretty much went haywire, the Yankees still would figure out how to win 87 games. Heck, in 2008, the only season they failed to make the playoffs since 1993, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui and Chien-Ming Wang got hurt, Andy Pettitte pitched through injury and Darrell Rasner was essentially the No. 3 starter, yet that team still managed 89 wins.
But the 2013 club does not project to have as much depth (they are still looking for a right-handed DH/outfield bat, as an example). Their farm system is not ready to help. They just might have the oldest average age ever for a team. They are more fragile than they were even last year, when they felt like an egg wobbling on the edge of a table. They do not have the Bronx Bombers power oversaturation that compensates for shortcomings elsewhere. And — as important as anything — the up-and-down strength of the AL East is arguably the best it has ever been.
Thus, if matters go haywire this year — Derek Jeter and/or Mariano Rivera cannot defy age/injury any longer, Mark Teixeira continues to recede, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain are undermined by walk-year pressures, Kevin Youkilis cannot provide a legitimate stopgap for Alex Rodriguez — the downside is much worse than 87 wins.
Look, at this time last year, not even the biggest pessimist foresaw 69 wins for the Red Sox. But injuries, lack of depth and disenchantment formed the basis for implosion. The Yankees have some of the same issues right now.
Now, it should be noted the death of the Yankees — due to concerns such as age, injury and lack of following George Steinbrenner’s shoot-for-the-stars heritage — has been forecast quite a bit the past two years. I have written a few columns wondering if 1965 (the end of a another Yankees dynasty) was knocking. To their credit, the Yankees won 97 and 95 games and two more AL East titles.
In the second half last season, the Yankees endured injuries to CC Sabathia, Pettitte, A-Rod and Teixeira and still held off the Orioles. Girardi cited character and a group understanding of how to persevere and win despite hurdles.
Of course, it didn’t hurt to have depth in the now-departed Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez plus the nine homers Martin hit the last two months of the season — as many as Cervelli and Stewart have combined for in their careers.
Even with the key departures and greater austerity, the Yankees still are blessed with high-end talent and a $200 million payroll. They are not underdogs. But what also is evident is they are no longer overdogs, certain to win big no matter what.
The weak bench, lack of help in the farm system, and age on the roster would be the responsibility of whom? I believe that’s the purview and bailiwick of one Mr. Brian Cashman, no?