…while the Yankees stink. Boy, do they stink. They’re thisclose to a wild card slot that they don’t really deserve, and they go out and lose 3 of 4 to the last place team in their division.
This is a depressing season for Yankees fan. And I’m not sure how much we can look forward to next year, because some of the fundamental dysfunction of the team will still be there. A-Rod may be suspended, but his contract doesn’t expire till 2017, I believe. Derek Jeter will still be on the team, but…a 40-year-old shortstop? Or a 10-homer D.H.?
Then there’s the pitching. Which is to say, there is no pitching. Phil Hughes will be gone. Hiroki Kuroda seems to have established that he’s too old to pitch a full season. C.C. Sabathia has just had a disastrous season. Andy Pettitte will probably retire. And you never know which Ivan Nova is going to show up on game day—the good one or the lousy one.
So—not one reliable starting pitcher returning.
Things aren’t a lot better with the position players. Mark Texeira will be returning from an injury that’s tough to return from, and he’ll be 34. There’s no sure-thing catcher. Brett Gardner in the outfield is a solid player, but Ichiro will probably retire, and Curtis Granderson isn’t getting any younger.
Then there’s the Robinson Cano question. The second baseman will be a free agent after the season, and there’s a lot of pressure on the Yankees to sign him. He posts great statistics. I hope they don’t—for all his gifts, Cano just isn’t a player to build a team around. He’s never been a leader, and he’s notorious for his lack of effort running to first base. On Wednesday night, with the Yankees playing a must-win game and losing, Cano hit a ground ball down the first base line and didn’t even run—apparently he thought it would go foul. It didn’t, and the first baseman stepped on the bag while Cano stood at home plate. Pathetic. (The comparison to Derek Jeter in terms of hustle is embarrassing to Cano, or should be.) I’d rather take that $100 million or more that he’ll want and spread it around to some younger players.
The larger question has to to with team identity. WIth Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Pettitte, et al, what kind of team will the Yankees be? Who will fans adopt as a favorite? Absolutely no one comes to mind right now.
It’s going to be an interesting off-season. Will it really be wait for next year—or wait till 2015?