Ending the Year on a Down Note…
There has been no Yankees news this week as it appears
the team’s focus is on Thursday’s Pinstripe Bowl between Kansas State and
It always concerns me when I hear that the team cannot
focus on pressing matters when there is a specific focus in another area. Haven’t the Yankees heard of
multi-tasking? Instead of worrying about
whether the Wildcats or the Orangemen will win the inaugural New Era Pinstripe
Bowl, I really wish resources were dedicated to finding a pitching staff that
can compete with the Boston Red Sox.
As it stands, the Boston Red Sox have to be the clear
favorite to win the AL East so that leaves the Wild Card up for grabs. There will be no shortage of AL East
competition, without even getting into the other divisions. Baltimore and Toronto both figure to be
improved, plus there’s no way that you can count out the Tampa Bay Rays. Maybe in years past, you could pencil in the
Yanks for at least a Wild Card slot, but that’s certainly not going to be the
case in 2011.
I was reading MLB Trade Rumors and saw their column about
“Unfinished Business: AL East” and have to admit that the Yankees entry
Yankees: starter, right-handed outfielder. The rest of the Yankees’
offseason centers on Andy Pettitte‘s decision, since that will determine whether Brian Cashman has to
pursue a Jeff Francis/Freddy Garcia type or rely on Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. The team will likely add a fourth outfielder who bats right handed
and consider utility infielders and relievers.
At this point, it sounds more and more like Andy Pettitte
will be staying home in Deer Park, Texas for the season. If that’s the case, any of the above options
spell doom for the Yanks. I am not
convinced that A.J. Burnett will have a bounce back season so we are potentially
looking at a rotation that features only two (out of five) solid starters in CC
Sabathia and Phil Hughes. Sorry, but
that’s just not going to get it done against the likes of the Red Sox, Rays,
Tigers, Twins, Rangers, Angels, A’s or even the Orioles.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
If, somehow, the Yankees managed to get by all of the AL
teams to advance to the World Series, they’d be ousted by the Philadelphia
Phillies, San Francisco Giants, or Milwaukee Brewers.
I hate to be so doom and gloom when spring training is
still several months away but it is discouraging to see the other strong teams
get stronger while the Yankees wither away.
Unless you are 23 or 24, time is not your friend. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are not going
to magically have their best seasons ever.
Those days have come and gone.
I do still think that Andy Pettitte will return although
the odds against it increase with each passing day. If I was part of the organization for as long
and successful as Andy, it would be very hard to turn down the team’s appeals
for my return. If they needed me, I’d be
there regardless of the personal sacrifices involved as long as I knew that I
could perform at a high level.
Therefore, I’d be very surprised to see Andy turn his back on the
organization. That’s why I think he’ll
give it one more year and then close the book.
Even if Andy comes back, GM Brian Cashman has to do
more. The setup combo of David Robertson
and Joba Chamberlain does not instill a great sense of confidence based on
their performance last year. Plus, the
day will come when Mariano Rivera simply doesn’t have it anymore and the team
needs to be prepared.
How do you talk the Florida Marlins into trading Josh
Johnson or the Seattle Mariners out of Felix Hernandez? I don’t know but that’s what Brian Cashman is