Goldman: ‘Things are going to get worse before they get better’

Sound the trumpets! Ring the bells! It's Melky to the rescue!
On triple plays and long odds

In yesterday’s New York Sun — which might close its doors at month’s end — Steven Goldman penned a gloomy article on the near future of the Yankees. The main idea of his post is highlighted in the above headline. According to Goldman, the Yankees will not be good in 2009.

The main argument is age. He notes that only one player currently under contract, Robinson Cano, is under 30. That’s never a good thing, though they do have control of Xavier Nady for one more year before he reaches free agency. Then you have to look at the players who are under contract. A-Rod is still a monster. Jeter could have a rebound year, but even if he doesn’t, he’s still a solid shortstop while at the plate. Jorge Posada should be back and healthy, supplying above-average performance for a catcher. Chien-Ming Wang can come back and win us another 19 games. Johnny Damon has been great this year, and hopefully he can eke out one more good year before hitting free agency.

There are a few IFs in the above paragraph, of course. More IFs circle around the pitching staff. Moose and Pettitte get the double IF: IF they come back, and IF they continue giving you quality innings. IF Joba Chamberlain can stay healthy and in the rotation for most of the season (Goldman has a few words on that). Then you move on to free agency. IF they sign CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets. IF they’re able to fill the center field hole. IF…the lost goes on.

So I can understand where Goldman is coming from. In a boatload of IFs, a few are bound to fall overboard. However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. The Yankees will have to be shrewd this off-season. They can’t afford to be sentimental. We’ll go over this in more depth as the season comes to a close.

Sound the trumpets! Ring the bells! It's Melky to the rescue!
On triple plays and long odds
  • Alex

    There is a lot of Yankee content on the newsstand, written by a lot of writers. Invariably, the competition must push some writers to viewpoints and analysis that is different purely for the sake of being different.

    An awful lot of things need to go wrong for the 2009 Yankees to be less-competitive than the 2008 version. And I bet Mr. Goldman knows that, but another rousing set of conjectures about potential Yankees Offseason plans is unlikely to sell too many copies of the NY Sun.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      If you’re familiar with Goldman’s work and read him often and still feel he’s being dishonest in this article, then that’s your prerogative, but if you’re not familiar with him and just don’t like this one article, it’s unfair and reckless to accuse him of dishonesty in order to sell papers. (And no, I’m not related to him.) This is purely a matter of opinion and clearly I’m only using my own judgment and anecdotal evidence of the people I know, but I think many people who are familiar with Goldman’s writing find that he acquits himself quite well and that his articles tend to be reasonable and intelligent.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        And actually, in the midst of this river of anti-Yankee vitriol flowing from the NY tabloids recently, Goldman and the Sun would probably catch more eyes and sell more papers if they did the opposite… if they were the only ones claiming that the Yanks would win it all in ’09.

        • steve (different one)

          i like Goldman but his paragraph on Joba is complete and utter horseshit.

          it’s based on nothing but his own conjecture. it’s sensationalism at its worst.

          and Goldman is pretty good.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos

            Well, I think sensationalism at it’s worst was probably 90% of John McCain’s speech last night, but I won’t disagree with you on the Joba doom and gloom scenarios being painted by Goldman (and others.)

            Thank god Mike and the Mad Dog aren’t around together anymore to chime in on it, is all I have to say.

  • r.w.g.

    I’m most worried about Posada. He’s 38 or 39 and coming off a rotator cuff tear. I don’t know what kind of injury Scott Rolen had on his shoulder, but it’s had a drastic effect on his power. He essentially was having a borderline-HOF career and now he’s hitting like 7 home runs a year.

    • radnom

      Posadas injury wasn’t affecting his hitting though. It was only throwing, he could be DHing right now, but then who wouldn’t be ready for next season.

      I would be more worried about his effectiveness behind the plate.

      • MD

        in fact, it was affecting his hitting, which is why he chose to have the operation during the season…….had he been able to hit with power, he would have waited.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      eh, i don’t know if rolen is the best comp for Jorge. Rolen’s shoulder injury was a violent collision one, not a wear-and-tear injury like Jorge’s. And Rolen has had numerous bangs and bruises besides that… like a chronic back.

      Rolen’s been injury plagued even before his production dip, and the dip is likely due to a combination of all of them, not just the shoulder.

      Jorge’s been fairly injury free, all things considered. (But, next season should probably be his last behind the plate.)

  • pat

    Ug. articles like these are a dime a dozen. Its fashionable to write about how bad the yankees are and all this doom and gloom BS from armchair writers who dont know anything about the yanks except from a superficial standpoint. Reasonably speaking I dont think its possible to have had a worse season between the injuries to posada wang joba damon etc., the poor play of melky and cano and the abysmal showing of our 2 rooks I think theres nowhere to go but up.

  • pat

    Oh and that says alot about the quality of the writers over at the Sun when theyre gonna have to shut down. If only the daily news would shut down little mikey lupica……

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Respond to an article by attacking the source and not the merits of its arguments. Well done.

      • pat


    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Well, the Sun likely isn’t shutting down due to the quality of it’s writers, it’s shutting down due to the practical impossibility of successfully building a readership base from scratch in a city already inundated with newspapers with sizeable circulations (Times, WSJ, DN, Post, Newsday, Village Voice, Metro, AM, etc.) in an era where newspaper readership is falling like a stone.

      They only started in ’02. Lots of good newspapers filled with good writers have come and gone, just because they couldn’t get a foothold in a competitive market.

      • pat

        Seriously though you guys are both completely right, I was expressing my frustration in the form of a shoddily constructed hyperbole. What I’m really getting at is the fact that you can pick up any of the aforementioned publications and read the same darn article about the state of the yanks. Too old too expensive blah blah. Yes on the surface this is true, but there is so much more going on behind the scenes. Just once I would like to see an article that expresses some knowledge of the farm system or our newfound emphasis on the draft. Maybe a writer could point out that the yankees have a particular abundance of good young releivers and a few of them could be packaged together for an equally good young position player.
        To me it just seems too easy to pen that “yanks are old and expensive” article, its the same stuff rehashed over and over again. I just wish someone would put forth some effort to dig a little deeper. So yea thats my piece I’m sorry to have offended any Steve Goldman fans.

    • Glen L

      I think it has far less to do with the quality of their writers and far more to do with the fact that newspapers in general are dying everywhere because of the internet. Tim Marchman writes for the Sun and he’s great.

  • Zack

    God that section about Joba was so depressing, and I can completely agree with it too. Sigh.

    What you above commentators fail to realize is that Goldman is about the best out there. Yes, he tends to take the glass half empty approach a lot, but honestly, all of his points are really really really hard to dispute. And wouldn’t you much rather the Yanks take a really long cold hard look at the situation of the team than continue SNAFU, sign one or two FAs and go into next season with basically the same roster?

    The sad reality is that Goldman is basically right. This is an aging team that has very little means to plug the rising water from more and more leaks. Sure, they have a lot of RH pitching in the minors that “might” work out. But hasn’t this season shown just how quickly those “mights” turn into “don’ts?” And besides, the one thing the Yankees really DON’T need next year is more RH pitching. Unless they start trading a lot of that depth, this team has no foreseeable way to plug the many holes. No CF, no 1B, no RF, no LHP, no replacement for Posada, no LH power. Any possible internal solution is at least a year away, and very questionable at that.

    • pat

      you realize how easily “lots of young RH pitching” becomes pretty much any position player you want right?
      Ok and honestly just answer this.. what is the result of taking “a really long cold hard look at the situation of the team”? What is the conclusion of this? That we need to get younger, more flexible cheaper, more defensivly minded players etc.? Hasn’t that been Cashmans MO since he took over full controll of baseball operations? Wasn’t that evident when we didnt eviscerate our farm system and inflate our payroll in the santana non-trade? Cash went out and hired very well known and respected scouts and cross-checkers for that very reason. A farm system doesnt just start producing over night thats why our upper level minor league teams dont have many prospects right now because this yout movement wasn’t in place in the early 2000’s when these guys were drafted. Thats why you look at our charleston, tampa, Si and GCl teams and see them teeming with prospects. Those are the people cash has been in charge of.
      These theoretical mechanisms for change in our front office philosphy have already been put in motion, it just takes more than 2 years to purge a system and start over.

    • steve (different one)

      This is an aging team that has very little means to plug the rising water from more and more leaks.

      little means?

      i guess a hundred million bucks doesn’t go as far as it used to.

    • steve (different one)

      God that section about Joba was so depressing, and I can completely agree with it too. Sigh.

      what part of it do you agree with?

      did i miss it when anyone connected with the yankees said Joba was going into the bullpen PERMANENTLY?

  • Steve S

    That article is ridiculous. Name a team that doesnt have major questions heading into next year. To predict that Chamberlain is going to be one of the great dissapointments is ludicrous and to compare him to Doc Gooden is ridiculous. Doc Gooden had was probably overused (which Goldman doesnt say outright but merely implies it) and had the the whole drug addiction thing which some would argue was the real detriment to his career.

    The Orioles post 1997 made some bad decisions following that year:

    1) Exhibit A: Albert Belle and his hip
    2) Exhibit B: Letting Mussina go.
    3) Trading for Charles Johnson
    4) Letting Alomar go after the 98 season, we all know he had a couple of years left.
    5) They signed Doug Drabek, Jimmy Key, and traded for Juan Guzman who had already been injury prone to fill rotation spots. Key 37, Drabek 35 and Guzman 31. Those were just bad decisions because of the players histories.

    They did manage to bring up Sidney Ponson at the same time so they did infuse some youth and they had Armando Benitez as their closer. Name the guy on the 1998-2002 Orioles that even closely resembles Chen Ming Wang or Robinson Cano. It took Markakis to break their streak of not being able to develop young hitters. And Wang, aside from a freak injury, has been durable as a major leaguer. Granted he has missed some time but aside from this foot injury he has never missed extended time because of an arm injury.

    The Yankees of that same time made the corresponding moves- David Wells- age 34 (1997), Roger Clemens age 35 (1999), David Cone age 32 (1995), El Duque age ???? (1998), Kenny Rogers age 31 (1996), Jack McDowell age 29 (1995). That under 30 mark is ridiculous, sometimes works sometimes it doesnt. It just depends on a little of luck and some good scouting.

    The Yankees as we all know here have some young talent ready to come in. Not to mention the fact that Cashman (and Im not his biggest fan) has really created a nice, young and inexpensive bullpen. Which on the free agent market might be the most overpriced and needed commodity out there. And thats not even discussing Melancon.

    And to lump in Arod, Jeter and Rivera with Brady Anderson, Palmeiro and Mike Bordick. I understand they had Ripken but Ripken was the furthest thing from their problems at the time. This comparison is worse than the the comparisons with the late 80’s. This is just a clear example of a writer for a small time paper (and a guy who blogs on the Yes Network website) to get some attention and readership by saying something that he knows will incite a reaction and which has no repercussions.

  • Geno

    If the Sun closes, Goldman’s situation will be dire at best. If nobody hires him, he may end up having to sell his possessions on ebay, and move into a shelter.

    See, I enjoy the “If” game too!

    • cult of basebaal

      well, considering that he writes several columns for YES, is a contributor and editor over at Prospectus AND is an author, i’d say your “if” is a lot less likely than his “ifs” … but don’t let reality intrude …

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        (golf clap)

    • Reggie C.

      That’s rough dude.

    • JohnnyC

      He’d have to do that only if he “took a long cold hard look at his situation.” And only then.

  • Reggie C.

    The only way I see things getting worse in ’09 is if we completely mis-fire in the upcoming FA period and if injuries again deprive us of Posada + Matsui for another whole year.

    CC Sabathia may not be throwing CGs in ’09 as a Yank, but he’s an instant injection of vet leadership on this team. Acquiring him has gotta be priority numero uno. Posada adds quality production at the bottom of his lineup. His bat is so important in lengthening innings of opposing starters.

  • JRVJ

    Goldman has basically been writing the same column over and over.

    He wrote a very similar column on August 21st and now this one.

    For those interested, we went over this in detail over at BTF, but suffice it to say, I think Goldman is DEAD wrong AND I think the Yankees cannot possibly afford not to retool (as opposed to rebuild) in 2009.

    As I wrote over there on another thread:

    “That doesn’t mean that the Yankees have to keep on signing sucky FAs, but a judicious and prudent 5 element policy of (a) Drafting good young talent; (b) signing good, young Lat Am FAs; (c) Retention of your own talent when it comes to FA; (d) Trading excess young talent (your Karstens, Ohly’s and McCluthcheons) for needed players; AND (e) Signing really worthwhile FAs, should do the trick.

    By and large, I think the Yankees are exception at (c), and they seem to have become very good at (a) and (b). Now that they have young talent, I suspect they’ll do (d) often enough. And in re: (e), their judicious non-signing of anyone after 2007-2008 (well, anyone other than LaTroy Hawkins, which lost them no picks), shows that they understand this.”

    (Another reader pointed out that (a) and (e) could be in conflict if you lose your draft picks by signing FAs. I’m not too worried about that this year, because the Yanks will get picks from letting Abreu and I-Rod go while offering them arbitration. Arguably, the same would also apply to Mussina, Pettitte and Giambi, but I think Mussina stays, Pettitte probably and no way do they offer arb to Giambi).

  • MD

    the one item the article doesn’t take into account is the fact that a team that has resources can re-tool quickly without going thru an extended down period…..what that means is if we spend money this winter, we can be playoff competitive for next year……no need to live thru several 70-92 seasons like many teams will go thru… doesn’t necessarily get us back to 96-00 levels, but that is what building the minors is meant to do….injecting quality youth into an organization that can spend upwards of 200mil would create, if GM’ed properly, a formidable team.

    • steve (different one)


      what everyone is missing is that the Yankees were not a 75 win team this year.

      they were a 92-95 win team that lost 2 of their 3 best starters and their starting catcher and DH.

      not unexpectedly, they will wind up winning about 85-87 games.

      85 wins is not a terrible team, it’s just terrible by Yankee standards.

      you can take an 85 win team, sign 2-3 impact players, and become a 92-95 win team again.

      oh, and those FA’s they would be signing are not “old”. Sabathia is 28. Sheets is 29. Burnett is 31. Teixeira is 28. Dunn is 28. Burrell is 31. etc.

      the Yankees are never going to be the Rays. they will never be 25 and younger.

      but they can move the median age down closer to 31 but replacing Pettitte, Abreu, and Giambi with Sabathia, Burrell, and Teixeira.

      the Yankees probably won’t sign all of those guys, but don’t underestimate the impact of a few solid additions to a team that is already over .500.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        “the Yankees are never going to be the Rays. they will never be 25 and younger. “

        True, especially since we won’t lose 90 games a year for a decade in order to accumulate vast swaths of talented youngsters in the first place.

      • ChrisS

        The general point of peak performance in the major leagues is around 28/29. Anything past that is “old” and a team is generally paying for the decline years. A smartly run team would be angling to pay for a players before peak and after peak years.

        A strategy that revolves around paying oodles of cash for a player after they’ve most likely hit their peak, over-valuing existing players on the team that are past their peak, and trading young prospects for older players is pretty shaky.

        I think it’s a fair point.

        you can take an 85 win team, sign 2-3 impact players, and become a 92-95 win team again.

        Provided the players from the 85-win team don’t decline, which tends to happen after age 29 and accelerates past age 35, of course. A good remedy is to not overly rely on older players. That doesn’t mean have a fire sale and suck for 10 years to get good draft picks.

        • steve (different one)

          The general point of peak performance in the major leagues is around 28/29. Anything past that is “old” and a team is generally paying for the decline years. A smartly run team would be angling to pay for a players before peak and after peak years.

          sure, but based on the current structure of the CBA, 28 is generally the absolute earliest a player will become a free agent.

          so, if you are going to spend boatloads on free agents, those are the best case scenarios. Sabathia and Teixeira are 28. those would be smart, but expensive, acquisitions.

          the other option is to trade. which is another reason that the Yankees are trying to stock up on young pitching. they know they can’t use all of it themselves. so hopefully in another year or two, they have enough pitching to make almost any trade they want.

          i am not really disagreeing with anything you are saying, just adding.

  • ChrisS

    There are going to be a lot of disappointed Yankee fans next season.

    • MD

      there are going to be a lot of disappointed Yankee haters next season.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Sadly, and happily, those to statements are pretty much true 24/7/365.

        • bob

          remember how all the pundint’s loved the Tiger’s. No one was going to be able to compete with them!!!! So you can take all the writeing from every sports writer (actually they are no more than gossip columnest when they are speculating on trades and if’s see Ken Rosenthal) And shred them burn them or any other way you want to discard this toilet paper. Let me know when any of these writers get anything right that has not already happend. I know they need to sell papers and doom and gloom sells but when I watch the Yanks or the G-MEN I want to enjoy it and forget about all of the real problems going on in the world for 3 hours. That is why I will not watch pregame shows and read most of the gossip coulmns and come to sites like these to get straight to the point of the news on the team I enjoy to follow and watch. Just my opinion.

    • steve (different one)

      maybe. maybe not.

      i don’t recall a lot of people picking the White Sox before the season started.

      the AL East is far and away the strongest division in baseball. a run of 9 straight Division title like the one that ended last year will probably never happen again. there are too many good teams now.

      but i think the Yankees will be much better than they were this year. it will be a better product and more exciting to follow.

      will they win it all? probably not. it’s really hard to win it all.

      all depends on how you set your expectations.

      i expect the Yankees to be one of the 3-4 best teams in the league.

      • Whitey14

        I, unfortunately, expect the same damn thing!

        The Yankees are well on their way to forming the base of their roster from good, young, homegrown talent, both pitching wise and hitting wise. They are also the team in the best financial position to SUPPLEMENT with the right mix of veterans and Free Agents. So I completely, though regretfully, agree with those who feel this team will not stay down for long. Nor should they, it’s better for baseball (no matter what those of us in Red Sox Nation think) for the Yankees to be a powerhouse team. It keeps millions of fans happy, and it pisses off millions of fans at the same time and that my friends, is good for business because all those millions of fans are paying (pun most defintely intended) attention.

  • NYFan50

    It probably IS going to get worse before it gets better. Look, this was a transition year whether the Yankees come out and say it or not, and the transition did not go well. Joba didn’t reach his innings cap. Kennedy got hurt. Hughes got hurt. Joba got some good experience starting, but that’s all the development these 3 guys got this year (unless you count Kennedy and Hughes getting knocked around a lot before injury as truly valuable experience). Far less than expected. The Yankees wanted to get experience under these guys’ belts this year and prepare them for the future and things did not go as planned.

    Things aren’t particularly better next year. The team drops some contracts, but there isn’t that much on the free agent market and fans that are already penciling Tex and CC into the roster could very well be disappointed. The Yankees might offer both the most money, but that doesn’t mean much. And I have a feeling CC goes elsewhere regardless of the offer.

    Next year may be more growing pains for the young pitching and an older offense. So fans expecting an immediate turnaround should probably temper their expectations.

    • JohnnyC

      It’ll come down to money with CC because people who know him suspect he wants to sign with a West Coast team but there’s no fit: Dodgers don’t have the money, Padres never spend big, Angels are not in need of an ace at those prices, Giants and A’s are not players in this. Without a team in his preferred geographical location, his decision will be determined by who offers the most moola-di.

  • ChrisS

    So I can understand where Goldman is coming from. In a boatload of IFs, a few are bound to fall overboard. However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. The Yankees will have to be shrewd this off-season. They can’t afford to be sentimental.

    There are two things I’d never bet against, Mother Nature and Father Time. Unfortunately, I think what’s sentimental and what’s not will be woefully misguided. Sell high and buy low.

  • Pete

    >> They can’t afford to be sentimental. >>

    With who? Giambi? Abreu?

    Exactly which warm, fuzzy playoff memories are these guys eliciting to warrant a sizable extension?

    Face it, this may take 2-3 years to fix.

    • steve (different one)

      uh, Andy Pettitte? Mike Mussina?

      Derek Jeter? not getting rid of him obviously, but possibly moving him off of SS. not that i think that will happen, but it’s an example.

  • David Brown

    I wonder if Goldman ever heard of Xavier Nady, he is under 30? There is still young pitching in the system such as Melancon, McAllister, and Brackman (And don’t forget Phil Hughes). Montero and Jackson are legit prospects (Romine too). The Yankees will also clean out a ton of dead wood like Pavano and Giambi after this reason. I hate all the Yankee bashers, they should become CUB fans (100 years of FAILURE).

    • Glen L

      i’m sorry how are Giambi’s .380 OBP and 28 homers this year deadweight?

  • mike

    I think we are losing sight of the forest looking at trees in his article.

    The main thrust is that with an older roster (or one which has its best players on the “older” side) and a farm system which does not offer ready replacements, its very dificult to remain a contender through FA because of cost/availability in the market.

    I agree wholeheartedly – it would be difficult to disagree with a common-sense position.

    The analogy – or any analogy – is always cumbersome, and he is paid not to be a sage, but to draft an article which will garner interestr / discussion. He succeeded, and also made a few good points – unlike Loopy, who makes smoke with no fire just because he can.

    The interesting part about the Yanks is everything went wrong with their young players this year – from Joba to Cano to Melky to Wang to Hughes to IPK to Gardner to Shelly to Karstens to Ollendorff to Brunney (stretch), and unlike last year there was no fortification from the Sanchez/Melancon/Cox/Jackson group.

    It would seem impossible that all of the above players will not offer more valuable contributions next year, but the scary part is that the Yanks best near prospects (exception of Ajax) have injury concerns, so if either they are injury-prone ( Hughes ) , cannot make the jump (IPK , Gardner) or plain suck (Shelly/Melky etc), there is a 3-4 year gap in players to their young replacements.

    Big reliance on FA and older guys staying productive = danger.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    I’d like to see Cashman gone. The ridiculous coddling of Joba has Cashman written all over it. I still have high hopes for Hughes but I’ve never been impressed with Kennedy and if he’s a blue chip prospect something is wrong. I don’t feel Cashman is the guy that can avoid a big time collapse and the Yankees really need a skilled baseball man to come in and get this thing turned aroound before it’s too late.

    • steve (different one)

      The ridiculous coddling of Joba has Cashman written all over it.

      this is stupid.

  • Dillon

    What if:

    Wang is healthy and wins 17.

    Joba is a stud in the 8th in the first half, starter in the 2nd.

    CC signs with us.

    One guy out of the Pettitte, Hughes, Kennedy, or Moose has a good year.

    One guy out of the Coke, Edwar, Robertson, Sanchez, Cox, Melancon group steps up in the pen.

    The answer is……it’s probably gonna happen and we’ll be the best team in baseball again. The offense will calm down because there won’t be pressure because our staff will only be giving up 3 runs a game.