Via Joel Sherman today –
The website predictionmachine.com ran 50,000 simulations of the 2013 season, and in just 40 percent did the Yankees even make the playoffs (just 20 percent as the AL East champs). Their average season had the Yankees finishing third behind Toronto and Tampa Bay at 85-77. The Yankees’ lowest winning percentage in the past 20 seasons is .540, which equates to 87½ victories.
The site gives the Yankees just a 4-percent likelihood of winning the World Series, which ranks 12th of the 30 teams.
Professional oddsmakers also see the Yankees in the 86-87-win range. Jay Kornegay, the bookmaker at the Las Vegas Hilton, had the Yankees over/under at 86. Wynn’s oddsmaker Johnny Avello said he took the Yankees’ over-under from 86½ to 86 in the last week, and “we’re still not getting any money on the over.”
The view is the same for winning it all. With their injury spate, the Yankees have fallen to the 15-1 to 18-1 range to win the World Series. Of the three casinos I contacted, none could remember the Yankees being anywhere close to that high in the past 20 years.
“With the Yankees entering the season at 18-1, this is the longest odds they have been as far as my records go back, which is to the beginning of the millennium,” said Kevin Bradley, the sports book manager at the offshore casino Bovada, said. “Even at those odds, we cannot write a bet on them.”
Kornegay at the Hilton also had the Yankees at 18-1, which put 10 teams in front of them with better odds.
It is not going to be uncommon to see the Yankees picked fourth or fifth this year. That reflects the top-to-bottom strength of the AL East. But it also speaks to an imperfect storm: Age. Injury. Lack of impact from the farm. Less big spending. And, yes, the quality of divisional foes.
I sense even the Yankees’ front office is uneasy, that the executives are worried about the possibility of the team’s record and attendance both taking a plummet. You wonder if this leads to the kind of finger pointing and infighting that turned the Red Sox’s situation from bad to intolerable last year.
For now, the Yankees want to believe their winning culture buoys them in times of doubt. Last year, they also suffered a slew of key injuries and never seemed to play particularly well for a sustained period, yet won more games than any other AL team. However, the Phillies and Red Sox also thought they had a winning culture going into last year, and both fell apart — Boston all the way down to 69 wins.
The Yankees also hope to weather positional injuries and a general downgrade in talent with a strong pitching staff. And pitching is their strength. But the 1-to-12 staff is not discernibly better than those of their AL East competitors.
I just wonder: At what point this season do the Pinstripe-Pollyanna throng, despite their Yankees-blinders, raise the white flag on this season? Will it be at the end of May? Or, do they wait until the end of July?