Via Danny Knobler -
As it stands right now, it’s a whole lot easier to see the Yankees as a last-place team next year than as a first-place team. It’s easier to believe that they’ll be worse than this year, rather than better.
Think about it. The first baseman (Mark Teixeira) will be trying to come back at age 34, after missing basically a full year with a wrist injury. The second baseman (Robinson Cano) is a free agent, and at this point there’s no guarantee he returns. The shortstop (Derek Jeter) will be closing in on his 40th birthday, with no guarantee his surgically repaired ankle will be any better than it was in this nightmare of a season. The third baseman (Alex Rodriguez) will likely be serving a suspension.
How does it sound so far?
They really don’t have a catcher. The three outfielders they have signed for 2014 — Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells — will be 38, 40 and 35 when next season begins. Their only position player under 30 is Eduardo Nunez, who has proven this year he can’t be a regular.
The closer is retiring. So is one of the more dependable starters. There’s still uncertainty about whether Hiroki Kuroda will return (and he’ll be 39). CC Sabathia will be back, but he looks less and less like an ace.
The free-agent market is awful. The owner would prefer to stay under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold. And the farm system offers so little help that even with all the injuries the Yankees had this season, they never saw a reason to give the young players a chance. Even if they want to trade their way out of this mess, they have little to offer.
The truth is that the Yankees overachieved this year, just to get to the fringes of a pennant race.
I agreed with everything that Knobler said here. And, to be honest, it’s not exactly breaking news. Others have made the same points already…writer, bloggers, fans, etc. But, what is missing here is assigning responsibility for this state of current affairs in Yankeeland. And, we need to see more of that…enough that it is hammered home on who is to blame. Once that happens, hopefully, Yankees ownership will address it.
Until that happens, the Yankees will never get back to being a dominant championship-caliber franchise.