Yankees quiet off-season no cause for concern

Mets ink Wagner to $43 million deal…Marlins ship Delgado to Mets…Red Sox land Beckett in blockbuster…Ryan signs $47 million contract with Blue Jays…Phillies, White Sox swap Thome, Rowand…Phillies eye Gordon to close…Indians pursue Hoffmann…

The off-season headlines just keep on coming, and they all have one thing in common: No mention of the Bronx Bombers’ involvement in any potential blockbuster move. Sure, Brian Giles’ name has been thrown around, but the former San Diego outfielder will probably stay on the West Coast. Outside of Hideki Matsui’s contract negotiations which ended two weeks, it’s been a quiet off season for the Yankees.

For many Yankee fans, a quiet off-season is cause for concern. The Red Sox, the panicked among us say, have loaded up on a new young arm and a third baseman. The Mets have made a ton of moves, and GM Omar Minaya has a potential trade with the Red Sox for a certain Washington Heights native on the horizon. The Blue Jays have issued a statement to the American League East and could end this off-season with A.J. Burnett and Kevin Mench joining their squad north of the border. Even the Devil Rays have gotten in on the action, signing young outfielder Rocco Baldelli to a contract extension.

Over at Bronx Banter, readers commenting to Alex Belth’s most recent post have called upon the Yankees just to do something. Trade Robinson Cano. Send Chien Ming-Wang west for Barry Zito. Say good bye to Jorge Posada. Offer Tom Gordon another year. But just do something.

I say, hold your horses. A quiet off-season while others are active is no cause for concern. And while some people are already inking in the Yankees for a third-place finish in the American League East, I say this throwing-in-the-towel mentality is utterly misguided.

First, with an offensive team like the Yankees, it’s hard to give up in the middle of November. At this point in the off-season, the Yankees still have an offense built around Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada. While everyone will be another year older, production will hardly decline. This group, handicapped by nearly 350 Tony Womack plate appearances, was the core of an offense that scored 886 runs last year, second only to the Red Sox.

The starting rotation too is seemingly in place. The Yanks still have a rotation fronted by Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina with Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Shawn Chacon, Chien Ming-Wang, and Aaron Small all in the wings. While those seven starters don’t exactly inspire the same confidence in a fan as, say, the White Sox starters or Yankee rotations from the late 1990s do, there’s more certainty in the Yankees’ rotation than there is in Boston where Josh Beckett, Jonathan Papelbon, and Tim Wakefield’s 4.00+ ERA are the only sure things. How will Curt Schilling, another year older, bounce back? How was Matt Clement bounce back after taking one to the head and never being the same? Will Bronson Arroyo put it together for a season? Will the Sox let him? Will David Wells ship out to the West Coast?

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are also looking at a scenario where they are left with no Manny Ramirez whose career .314/.409/.599 make him virtually irreplaceable from anyone in the history of the game. They may not have their table setter Johnny Damon and may have to turn to a less-than-ideal situation at first base.

This is of course not to say that the Red Sox are going to be bad next year. I expect them to compete evenly with the Yanks. But one trade does not an off-season or a World Series title make.

At this point, the Yankees need to shore up their bullpen and find someone to stick in center field. I think Tom Gordon will sign with the Phillies for an inexplicable (for Philadelphia) three years to close. I have little faith in Gordon’s abilities to pitch effectively for three years and even less faith in his abilities to close. Other appealing relief options Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry have signed on with the Cubbies. So the Yanks may have to improvise and cross their fingers.

But in the end, it’s still just November and opening day is a long time away. Don’t count out the Yankees when they still have one of the game’s best offense and a deep rotation even if it’s deep with 3-4-5 hurlers instead of 1-2 starters. Rivera will still be closing games, and Derek and A-Rod will still be leading off. Things just aren’t that bad right now in Yankee-land.

Advertisements

RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Game 43: A Big Test for Montgomery May 23, 2017
    Seven starts into his big league career, Jordan Montgomery has pitched like, well, most rookie pitches. Sometimes he looks great, sometimes he walks too many. That’s usually how it goes. Tonight will be a pretty big test for Montgomery even though the Royals are the worst offensive team in baseball. Kansas City will be the […] The post Game 43: A Big Test fo […]
    Mike Axisa
  • 2017 Draft: Adam Haseley May 23, 2017
    Adam Haseley | OF Background Haseley, 21, grew up outside Orlando, and went undrafted out of high school. After hitting only .275/.360/.407 during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Virginia, Haseley has broken out as a junior, and he currently owns a .400/.498/.688 batting line with 14 homers, ten steals, 40 walks, and only 19 […] The post 2017 Draft: Ad […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Aaron Hicks has been working out of first base, and hopefully the Yankees won’t need him there May 23, 2017
    All winter long, I and many others said there was no way the Yankees would get worse production from first base this year than what Mark Teixeira gave them last year. Teixeira hit .204/.292/.362 (76 wRC+) last season. And so far this season, Yankees first basemen are hitting .164/.276/.295 (59 wRC+), and that’s with Chris […] The post Aaron Hicks has been wo […]
    Mike Axisa
  • The Yankees have a bit of a strikeout problem right now May 23, 2017
    Last night, for only the eighth time in 19 games this month, the Yankees did not strike out 10+ times on offense. They struck out eight times, to be exact, and it helped that they faced Royals southpaw Jason Vargas, a finesse pitcher not known for missing bats. The Yankees have 18 double-digit strikeout games […] The post The Yankees have a bit of a strikeou […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Thoughts following Gleyber Torres’ promotion to Triple-A May 23, 2017
    Later tonight, top Yankees prospect Gleyber Torres is expected to play his first game with Triple-A Scranton. He was promoted from Double-A Trenton on Sunday. (The RailRiders were off yesterday.) I was planning to write something about the Torres promotion and what it all means, and it kinda morphed into a thoughts post, so here […] The post Thoughts followi […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Big flies and Big Mike lead Yankees to a 4-2 win over Royals May 23, 2017
    A two-game winning streak! It was a relatively stress-free win over the Royals on Monday. Good starting pitching, good hitting and good bullpen generally equal in a win and that’s pretty much what happened tonight. Big Mike! Tonight’s Michael Pineda was good, not perfect, but again, good. I’ll take a start like that any day. […] The post Big flies and Big Mi […]
    Sung-Min Kim
  • DotF: Austin continues rehab, Andujar has big game in AA win May 23, 2017
    Some notes to start the day: Double-A Trenton hitting coach Tom Slater broke down SS Gleyber Torres‘ swing frame-by-frame with Josh Norris, so make sure you check that out. Torres, as you know, was promoted to Triple-A Scranton yesterday. RHP Yefrey Ramirez was named the Double-A Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. He allowed three […] The post DotF: Austin […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 42: The Royals, Again May 22, 2017
    Once again, the Yankees are playing the Royals, this time in New York rather than Kansas City. The Yankees took two of three from the 2015 World Series champions at Kauffman Stadium last week. Since that series, both teams have lost two of three on the road. The Yankees did so in Tampa Bay, the […] The post Game 42: The Royals, Again appeared first on River […]
    Mike Axisa
  • 5/22 to 5/25 Series Preview: Kansas City Royals May 22, 2017
    This feels all too familiar, doesn’t it? The schedule-makers have a strange sense of humor. Nevertheless, the Yankees will spend the next seven games at home, hosting the teams with the worst and second-worst run differentials in the American League in back-to-back series. Playing twenty games in twenty days is never ideal, but playing subpar teams makes […] […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • The Masahiro Tanaka Problem May 22, 2017
    All things considered, it’s pretty incredible the Yankees are where they are even though Masahiro Tanaka has legitimately been one of the worst pitchers in baseball so far this season. Among the 94 pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the batting title, Tanaka ranks 91st in both ERA (6.56) and FIP (6.07). Yankees starters […] The post The Masahiro Tan […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,411 hits

%d bloggers like this: