Yankee Questions: Answers Are Not Encouraging

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Updated: August 19, 2013
Photo by Keith Allison

Photo by Keith Allison

Just as (Legal) Team A-Rod cries ‘Poor Alex’ and diverts attention from his juicin’ ways…so has his return diverted attention from where this Yankee team is headed on the field.

In our preseason Crystal Ball on the Mets and Yanks we posed questions and speculated on team futures. The Mets have had some nice developments and will finish the year with the arrow pointing up; unfortunately the Yankee grades are mostly failing or incomplete.

Let’s start with the big guns:

  • Photo by Keith Allison

    Robinson Cano’s numbers are down with no lineup protection. Still unsigned…forget the hometown/JayZ discount. The Yankees are talking Dustin Pedroia money, 7-yr, $100M…Cano camp is reportedly looking for a $200+M deal. Robby was rumored to be yukking it up around the batting cage with the Dodgers on the Yanks’ recent visit, he’s a perfect fit the Dodgers’ needs. Going forward, Yanks or Dodgers?…honestly, Dodger Blue looks like an awfully attractive option.

  • Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Mark Teixeira? The rest of this aging, high-priced infield appears shot. Alex has actually swung the bat reasonably well and given a lift to the whole lineup. But the Herman Munster mobility at 3B is costing them defensively…he has zero range and over the weekend Boston’s Mike Karp beat Alex to the bag on a straight steal of third, which just can’t happen.
  • CC Sabathia appears to have moved on to the next stage of his career. No longer fearing his diminished fastball, hitters are sitting on the breaking ball. He’s such a warrior and stand-up guy, but sadly he’s getting knocked around the park like a 4th or 5th starter. Seems that nearly 3,000 IP has taken a toll on a fine pitcher.

Brett Gardner, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova have all been to the plus side of the ledger. On the other side are Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and a dreadful catching situation. Michael Pineda is still hurting, providing more questions than answers.

The big point about this club is, where are the reinforcements? And we’re not talking about more spending but player development, what’s in the pipeline? The Mets have plugged holes with guys doing an OK impression of major leaguers like Josh Satin, Juan Lagares and Omar Quintanilla…not real prospects but not an embarrassment.

Photo by Keith Allison

It seems the Yankees haven’t been able to bring anyone up who can hit .200 (well, Zoilo Almonte hit .261). Instead they’ve treated us to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses of the waiver wire…Brent Lillibridge, Travis Ishikawa, Reid Brignac, Ben Francisco. Very democratic of the Yankees, every man a Yankee-for-a-day.

Obviously the pipeline is pretty dry, at least in the upper ranks. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a lot of good news in minor league development this year either. While C Gary Sanchez has progressed nicely he’s still at A-level Tampa. A promising OF trio of Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott and Ramon Flores have all hit a wall in AA-Trenton. There’s not much good news on the pitching front as the touted arms seem to stall out in the upper levels.

Brian Cashman should be held to account for what has become an over-hyped but pretty barren system despite money to spend on over-slot draft signings and international prospects. He has a daunting task in managing the baseball operation of a pretty dysfunctional organization…but as a rule he’s had incomparable resources to work with.

Joe Girardi has shown himself to be an able manager no matter what kind of team he has to work with. He’s been able to coax good, winning performances out of journeymen players this year and without the long ball. In fact he may be more comfortable managing a scrappy bunch of nobodies.

The Yankee outlook is still looking more and more like 1965…an aging empire in free fall. No spending spree coming, no reinforcements on the way, the arrow pointing straight down. One man’s prediction: a good necessary cleansing is on the way, and we won’t be seeing many familiar faces on the other side, i.e. players, management OR ownership.

This post was written by

Dave Graziano – who has written posts on Big Dog Sports Blog.
Short Hills, NJ USA

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