Hopefully the sun in Florida will take away the grey cloud that is hovering over the 2013 New York Yankees. It’s bad in the Bronx, from Alex Rodriguez, to the old injured players, to ownership lowering payroll at the worst possible time, to having no proven catcher; what do all these facts add up to? They add up to a long, sad season.
The Yankees are going to be facing a spring unlike any in recent memory. Recently, every story about the Yankees is like a punch in the gut for fans. This team, without a doubt should be wearing grey, they shouldn’t be allowed to even put the famous pinstripes on; they should have to play the entire season in the grey away jerseys.
Joe Girardi won manager of the year in 2006 with the Florida Marlins, but he may have to win manager of the decade to get this team over .500; unfortunately Girardi is just an average manager. He did do a great job in 2006 with the Marlins, but since he took over for Joe Torre, he has always had a solid foundation of great players and never really had to do much managing to win. When he did have to make tough decisions, he usually made the wrong ones, so when the walls fall on the Evil Empire, Girardi will be the first casualty. The blame should not fall just on Girardi; Hal Steinbrenner signed off on the long-term contracts that paid too much and handcuffed the Yankees into the situation they are in now.
The Yankees have a list of issues that need to be worked on; for starters, Girardi needs to settle on a starting catcher, they can’t go with the three-man rotation, it is a ridiculous idea. The Yankees need Austin Romine to overwhelm everyone and win the job outright; if Romine doesn’t, the Yankees will not only be facing catching problems, but also pitching problems.
Pitchers are known to be slightly neurotic, so having to tell your big ace, CC Sabathia, that he will have a different catcher each time he pitches isn’t a job anyone would want. The catching position is such a significant part of a team, being the quarterback of baseball, as they control so much of the game. Having two career back-ups and a rookie coming off an injury holding down the position isn’t an ideal situation.
If the catching situation blows up in the Yankees’ face, Steinbrenner is to blame. He should have gone out and signed a veteran catcher, but he didn’t. Hopefully Girardi, being a former Yankee catcher, will be able to groom Romine into the everyday catcher. Romine has the potential, he has the natural ability, but he is raw, young and has never been an everyday catcher in MLB. The catching position is the biggest concern the Yankees can control, but unfortunately for them, their biggest problem they have no control over; it is really two problems in one, age and injuries.
Half the Yankees are coming off injuries and the other half are an injury waiting to happen because of their age. As much as management has tried to squeeze every last at-bat and pitch out of players like Ichiro Suzuki and Andy Pettitte, they are old in baseball years.
Mark Teixeira will only be 33 in April, but he seems to be aging in dog years. He has been falling apart the past few seasons. Teixeira recently admitted that his numbers aren’t equal to the numbers on his paycheck, saying that he isn’t living up to his huge contract. In 2009, Teixeira’s first season in pinstripes, he helped lead the Yankees to a championship, since than he has seen the DL more than the playoffs.
Since the World Series, Teixeira hasn’t been the same hitter, he will hit homers but that’s about it, as his skills are falling apart; he hasn’t hit above .256 since 2009. Teixeira is a great defensive first baseman, but he is getting paid to produce at the plate.
With Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Brett Gardner, Sabathia, Pettitte and Teixeira, in addition to that monster of a mess, Rodriguez, all coming off injuries, the sky is grey in the Bronx and unless Robinson Cano can single handedly carry the team on his back for the season, not even Casey Stengel could lead this team to the playoffs. An even scarier thought is Cano having any long stretches on the DL this season.
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