Hey guys, Drew back here. It's been a rough week for myself, along with the millions of other Yankee fans out there. But, I feel like a lot was learned.
First and foremost, I want to congratulate the Tigers on their bye week against New York, and wish them the best of luck in the World Series. I'm a big fan of Justin Verlander and Prince Fielder's, and I think they definitely deserve to get their shot at a ring at some point in their great careers. Miguel Cabrera had a truly remarkable season, and as much as I like Mike Trout more, you can't not give Cabrera the MVP. If Detroit can beat the Giants/Cardinals, he will easily go down with one of the best seasons of the modern era.
The fact of the matter is, the Yankees were not prepared for the postseason at all. How they managed to put enough together to beat the surging Orioles was beyond me, but I definitely noticed a difference in the regular season and postseason Bronx Bombers. The most obvious change was clearly in their hitting approach. Sure, they're known as a power team, but it appeared as if any other way they could've tried to score was thrown out come postseason. They relied on power far too much against superior pitching (Verlander, Fister, Scherzer), and they came up with just about nothing. On a positive note, the pitching was far better than it was during the regular season, although Sabathia was knocked around in the last game quite a bit.
Of course, unless you live under a rock, A-Rod was in the center of the collapse, and even though he definitely played mediocre at best, he was undeserving of ALL the hate. Two of my favorite players, Robinson Cano & Nick Swisher couldn't hit the broad side of a barn through the playoffs. I didn't expect Granderson to do too much, but I didn't expect him to do that little either. Mark Teixeira had a few fielding miscues in Game 4, and didn't fare that well at the plate either, although he performed better than any of the aforementioned players. And nothing could've possibly deflated the team more than the Jeter injury, which may not have happened if Swisher could've came up with the line drive in right center field the inning before.
As much pride as I have in my favorite baseball team, I felt totally embarrassed by their performance. They had a solid year, filled with highs and lows, but typically more highs. We got to witness Boston suffer all season, which certainly was entertaining, and Jeter had a year for the ages, but Rodriguez struggled all season, and the Mariano Rivera injury still makes me cringe to this day. It's hard to see your heroes go down, that's for sure. But, the Yankees franchise has one goal every year, to win the World Series, and well, that didn't happen this year. I personally understand that it's asking for quite a bit to do that, however many people don't realize how much it takes to win it all. They made it to the final four, and choked worse than any postseason team in baseball history. I'm sure many of you found it entertaining, as the Yanks are a love em or you hate them to death sort of team. However, having watched all of the games in the postseason with the exception of the final game, I think it'll take a little while for me to recover from this mess.
Let's face it, the Yankees are old. Jeter, Rivera, and Pettitte are only around because they're Jeter, Rivera, and Pettitte; they sell tickets and jerseys better than any other combination in history. They all may still have some left in the tank, but I don't think it's quite enough to win it all. Alex Rodriguez's better years are behind him, as he struggles to catch up to an 85 mph fastball at this point. Granderson is a strike out clinic, and Swisher has had 3 horrific postseasons in pinstripes. If it weren't for the emergence of Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez, they would have been royally screwed.
I think the team has a big offseason ahead of them, filled with ridiculous questions that will be asked so many times that Brian Cashman's brain will explode. Personally, I think the first priority is to shop Rodriguez, even if we'll have to eat a lot of the $114 million remaining on his contract. Although he seems like a motivated player and a good teammate, the media has formed him into this clubhouse cancer that really doesn't fit him as well as they think it does. The media has ripped him apart, and possibly impacted his career severely if this ends up being his last semi-hurrah. He wants to stay, and most likely will, but obviously he's not in a very good spot, and if somebody is interested, if I were him I'd highly consider getting out while he's still alive. Nick Swisher won't get the money he wants anywhere after his ineffective postseason play, and I think it'd be smart for Cashman to move on from him and look elsewhere. Josh Hamilton would be an incredible alternative option, although he won't be young by the time his Yankee contract would conclude either. It sounds ridiculous, but if there's any team that can make the move, it's them. Cano has to be resigned, but if the Yankees do pursue Hamilton, Granderson will be done as well. I'd love to bring Ichiro back for a year or two longer, but otherwise, I wouldn't recommend keeping Ibanez, Chavez, and Jones, no matter how big they performed at certain points of the season. This is how I'd like to see the 25 man roster next season, although it may be a bit far fetched:
1. Derek Jeter- 3B- Yes, I wouldn't mind my favorite player at the hot corner next year. Although he isn't experienced there, I believe with his injury he may need to give shortstop a rest and play somewhere that doesn't occupy too much range. Third is where Ripken went, so Jeter can too, right?
2. Ichiro Suzuki- LF- This guy earned himself a spot back after a phenomenal, unexpected postseason. I think he'll take a significant pay cut and head on back next year.
3. Josh Hamilton- RF- Again, big stretch, but after a rough ending to his Rangers days, the Yankees may be able to afford him and add him for 3-4 years. He hits for better contact than Granderson, and hits just as many home runs.
4. Mark Teixeira- 1B
5. Robinson Cano- 2B
6. Russell Martin- C
7. Alfonso Soriano- DH- Soriano has to be dirt cheap at this point, even though he's coming off one of the best seasons he's had in a while. I can see the Yankees alternating Ibanez (if he doesn't retire) and Soriano during the season. Maybe a little far fetched as well, but hey, this doesn't have to be right, does it?
8. Brett Gardner- CF
9. Eduardo Nunez- SS- Not a great fielder, but Teixeira has a good glove at first still and I think the more experience this guy gets, the better. He's already got a very solid bat.
Bench: Austin Romine (C), Raul Ibanez (Possibly), Jayson Nix
1. CC Sabathia
2. Hiroki Kuroda- The Yankees need to resign this guy, because clearly he can pitch in New York. Run support was a major issue for this guy, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try to give him another year or two in the Bronx.
3. Andy Pettitte- All depends on what he decides, but I'd be happy to have #46 back next year.
4. Phil Hughes
5. Michael Pineda/Ivan Nova- Who knows what to expect from these two. I think (hope) Pineda bounces back, and he could be developed next season. One of these two will be in AAA until an injury occurs, unless Pettitte retires again.
Yes, no Rafael Soriano. I don't think he's going to pick up his third year player option, because Rivera claims to be coming back next season, and he won't want to be in the middle of a bullpen after the phenomenal year he had.
So, yeah, that's my take on my team, a day following their elimination. It was a good year, but it'll only get worse if they don't start to unload some of the big name stars like Rodriguez and Granderson, who appear to have their best days behind them.