Durability, old age, and the Yankees

Boland: Jeter resumes baseball workouts in Tampa
Monday Night Open Thread
(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

This is no secret, but the Yankees have an old roster. Their position players averaged 32.7 years of age last season (weighted by playing time), making them the oldest group in franchise history by a little more than three months. New York is returning almost the exact same squad this year, except with Brett Gardner (29) replacing Raul Ibanez (40) in left and Ichiro Suzuki (39) replacing Nick Swisher (32) in right. The DH spot remains unaccounted for at the moment. Barring something unexpected, they’ll set a new record for average position player age again this year.

With relatively old age comes many things, namely injury concerns. Not only do older players tend to get hurt a little more often, they also take longer to recover. It comes with the territory and is a valid concern for the Yankees this coming season. Derek Jeter (ankle) resumed baseball activities today following his October surgery, but we won’t know if he’ll be ready for Opening Day until well into Spring Training. Alex Rodriguez (hip) isn’t coming back anytime soon, probably not until after the All-Star break according to Dr. Bryan Kelly.

One thing these old Yankees do have going for them is a track record of durability. Ichiro has played in at least 157 games in 11 of his 12 years in MLB, and his 485 games played over the last three seasons are tied with Prince Fielder for the most in baseball. Robinson Cano is right behind those two at 480 games since 2010. Curtis Granderson has appeared in at least 156 games in three of the last four years and ranks 24th in games played (451) over the last three seasons. Jeter (447) and Mark Teixeira (437) are also among the top 50 in total games played since 2010. By my count, the only other team with more than three players on that list is the Tigers with six.

Now past durability does not guarantee future health, of course. Jeter’s been remarkably durable over the years but that didn’t prevent him from crumbling to the ground with the ankle fracture during the postseason. Teixeira played in 155+ games in four straight seasons before battling a cough, wrist issues, and a calf injury last summer. Granderson missed a month with a hamstring problem in 2010 and an ulcer landed Ichiro in the DL in 2009. Heck, CC Sabathia has been the model of pitcher durability over the years and he landed on the DL not once, but twice last season. He’s not a position player, but I digress.

Anyway, I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. The point I really wanted to make is that while injuries and recovery from those injuries stand out as concerns stemming from the team’s age, I’m just as worried about these guys staying productive all season. Older players don’t just get hurt and miss time, they wear down and stop being productive down the stretch. The 162-game schedule is no joke, especially when you’re talking about guys on the wrong side of 30 who have been playing 150+ games annually their entire careers. It’s one thing to get hurt and be replaced by the fresh body, it’s another to stay healthy but not produce.

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Boland: Jeter resumes baseball workouts in Tampa
Monday Night Open Thread
  • Jerkface

    If only science had created things which can give a weary player energy, or help with the rapid healing of injuries.

    • Easy as 123

      Wait wait I thing I know of what u speak of

  • rondd5

    …the whole left side of the infiled….accident waiting to happen….

    • MannyGeee

      ERMAGERHD!!!!!! Teh Agez!!!!!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Teh $1500 SEATS!

        • MannyGeee

          I would assume the $1500 seats are closer to $150.00 on the left side, since they suck so bad over there, amirite???

          • Havok9120

            It’s only fair.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It didn’t work in the last thread. Let’s see if it works here!

  • Raul Moandesi

    Durability isn’t the main issue with this team, it’s age-related regression. Teixeira is likely to be sub-.800 OPS or even close to it. Ichiro is likely to be sub-.700 OPS. Even Cano and Gardner are likely past peak performance. Add too Youkilis, Jeter, A-Rod, Granderson, and that’s a whole lot of downhill. That’s the biggest issue with this squad. There isn’t one player likely to find a new level of performance given typical age curves. All are likely to be worse on average and without any potential upside, that risk, plus the potential for (additional) injuries make this a club on the outside looking at a playoff berth.

    • Raul Moandesi

      The more I look at Gardner’s stats, the more I realize that 2010 was the outlier. He’s a guy who is likely to struggle to .700 OPS (like Ichiro).

      I suppose you could argue that Cano still has some upside left given that 2012 was his best season yet. My only retort is to point to the history of 2Bs who lose something post-30. I’m happy to take that risk with his current contract. I just hope they don’t take that risk with his next contract.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I will channel my inner Ted Nelson here (the angel on the right side of his shoulder, of course) and point out that, in every instance here, you have each player regressing. I don’t think a human being could possibly be more pessimistic than that.

      Some will regress. Some will stand put. Some will exceed expectations. To me, that’s a much more realistic breakdown to expect.

      It’s never just a straight line.

      • MannyGeee

        YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE TED NELSON!!!!! I HOPE YOU DIE!!!!!

        /Trolling Ted Nelson type logic’d

        • jjyank

          You sir, are no Ted Nelson.

          /dude from the other thread’d

      • Raul Moandesi

        Seriously, you missed the point of my post. Typical age curves suggest regression across the board. Here’s a simple challenge for you:

        Point to the players likely to produce better than they did last year.

        On the 2013 Yankees, that’s a very short list.

        With the key word being “likely”, my answer is “none of the above”. Only Cano is “likely” to maintain his performance. I’d be an utter homer to suggest anyone else is likely to have a better 2013. The team just isn’t structured that way. Every single player is past their prime.

        • MannyGeee

          And you missed R-Tills point: If you take ONLY aged based regression into consideration, everyone will regress in the league older than 28.

          Also, considering you threw old-ass Brett Gardner in there at 29, there appears to be no gradual shift at the tipping point, you either are getting better or worse. Following that same logic, Hughes wins 20 games this year and Nunez makes “The Leap”.

          So I will ask simple challenge of you: What is more likely, Hughes/Nunez getting co-MVP honors or some players regressing/staying the same/exceeding expectations despite the perception of age based regression? I would vote the latter…

          • Gonzo

            You’ve taken this to an extreme.

            • Raul Moandesi

              An insane extreme. Regression (from the mean) starts from a data point.

              But yes, every player in the league will gradually decline from their peaks. That’s exactly what age curves suggest. That doesn’t rule out the Jeter in 2012 seasons. It just calls those seasons what they are: Outliers.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          No, I understood the point of your comment entirely. Your reply really only cements that.

          Even with “likely” versus “not likely,” I think you can count on variance across players. Not everything will trend “likely.”

          I agree that, with a team with an average age of 32, there will be less players on the roster entering what’s been determined to be that “career peak,” and more players coming off that peak. There’s still a ton of statistical variance that can occur that neither of us can predict. These are your “resurgences” and your “dead cat bounces” and whatnot. There are also your players that, even when they are not the players they once were, still are able to be valuable producers, hold off a steep decline because of their skills and the shape they’re in, etc. In other words, they still have go out there and play.

          A lot of people would rather have a younger team. While I’m not going to say “be careful what you wish for” or anything like that, I will say that we’re closer to that than we think, whether it’s because a lot goes right or because a lot goes wrong.

          • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

            Yes. This is why they play the games. Otherwise we would just look to what computer simulations tell us is “likely” and call it a day.

            Is it a risk? Sure (heck they even wrote a post about it!) but I’m no more worried about this than I am our lack of offense at C and DH, and an OF who bats from the other side.

            And Robinson I’m glad you’re back from your vacation you fuck. It was slow around here without you.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Considering today’s the first day it’s been above 30 degrees since I’ve been back, and it’s fucking SLEETING, I wish I was still there.

              • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                Yeah. But it’s supposed to be like, 50 I think, on Wednesday. So there’s that. And then it’ll be freezing again. Still, welcome back.

              • Havok9120

                It’s a balmy 68 here today.

          • Raul Moandesi

            You don’t seem to realize what “likely” means. And younger+shitty is worse than old+good. The Yankees are old+good. but sprinkling in young+good helps to hedge against regression and injuries. The former is more likely than the latter. That was my point.

      • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

        He’s not saying every single player will regress but that if you take each individual player, the likelihood that they will be better, worse or the same does lean more toward the “worse” category since almost all the Yankees position players are beyond what one would normally consider their “prime.”

        As a result, the overall performance of that group as a whole will probably be at least slightly worse than it was in 2012.

        • Jim Is Bored

          If he had said what your last sentence said, I can’t imagine it would have escalated like it did.

          • Raul Moandesi

            It’s my fault that people can’t read?

            Andy has it exactly right. And it’s the same as what the projections are quantifying. The Yankees, as a whole, are likely to be significantly worse exactly because they are getting older AND brought in no obvious upgrades. Moreover, they’re using in-house replacements that are clearly downgrades.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              No, Andy makes a point slightly different point from what I’m making and can engage in actual conversation on the topic.

              You’re now Hossing it up more and more every time your fingers hit the keyboard by digging your heels into the dirt and accusing us of not being able to read.

              Moving on. It’s not worth it.

              • Gonzo

                Haha, I hate to the a$$hole here, but your boy accuses people of not being able to read.

                LMAO

                Just had to, sorry.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  Hey, I’m not defending when he does it either.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  Also, isn’t it sad that you only said “your boy” and I automatically assumed Ted?

                  • Gonzo

                    LMAO!!!

                    Seriously, I laughed harder at this than anything else posted in the past month.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          That doesn’t mean a whole lot, though. What does “worse” mean? What if “worse” meant that a healthy Ichiro played 145 games, hit about .270, and continued to play good defense?

          What I’m saying is that “better, same, or worse” are an attempt to place three arbitrary points in the continuum. What if someone does better in one area, but worse in another?

          I get the sentiment. I just don’t think we can get out of it as much as you think we can get out of it. A lot of these guys aren’t at their peak years. Yup.

          This is getting close to splitting hairs, so let’s move on.

    • MannyGeee

      Doom and gloom!!!!!!!!!

      • Raul Moandesi

        Well, where’s the hope and change?

        Name one player.

        It’s not Gardner.
        It’s not Teixeira.
        It’s not Jeter.
        It’s not Youkilis.
        It’s not Granderson.
        It’s not Ichiro.
        It’s not the Craptcher.
        It’s not A-Rod.

        And Cano was so good last year – the best of his career – that to assume better, at age 30, ignores reality.

        Who else will be better? Too bad you got nothing.

        • MannyGeee

          I expect Gardner to have a better 2013 than 2012. I expect a season of Youkilis to be markedly better than the replacement level shit heap that was coming without him and A-Rod hurt.

          Since we’re just making stuff up here, I expect a better season out of Tex than last season too, if for no other reason health…

          Your argument for Doom & gloom is a straw-man at best. You are literally using one data point in order to make your argument, until it doesn’t fit (Gardner) and calling it an exception to a rule you just made up.

          • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

            Teix’s wOBA and wRC+ has been on a straight and steady decline for about 5 years now. While there’s a non zero chance he will improve upon last year, other than just making shit up, upon what basis do you predict he will improve upon last year?

            • Get Phelps Up

              He hit .271/.358/.532 in 332 PA between his cough and his calf problem. If he’s healthy, it’s not that outrageous to think he could do that. He’s still just 32.

              • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

                It’s certainly not unreasonable to think that out of all possible outcomes he could be better than he was last year but which one would you pick as the most likely?

                Also picking arbitrary starting and ending points isn’t really valid either. I’m sure I could pick out a stretch in between his injuries where he did absolutely nothing.

                • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                  By definition the injury points are not arbitrary. They are the injury points.

                  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

                    So what about every other year since 2008 during this decline.

                    Was he injured those years too?

                    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                      Wrong argument. I was simply pointing out the fact that the stated points in time were not arbitrary. Thanks for playing though.

                    • Raul Moandesi

                      Exactly the question to ask of any cherry-picker.

                    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                      It’s not remotely cherry picking when we are examining the potential performance of a player using past performance.

                      Can we at least agree that between the injuries was when he was most healthy last year?

                    • Raul Moandesi

                      No, because you have no idea when he was actually “hurt”. It also doesn’t explain the trends from 2009 to now.

                • Cris Pengiucci

                  Those endpoints aren’t so arbitrary in the case of Teix. There appears to have been a physical reason for his performance around and between those endpoints. And if you shorten the time between the endpoints, your sample size becomes less significant. So, I’ll go into the season expecting better performance from Teix and better performance (overall) from our LF, whethter that’s Granderson or Gardner, as compared to last season.

                  Will there be worse performances? Yes, we all agree on that. But there will be better performances as well, perhaps some we don’t expect at all (catcher? DH? Youkilis?)

                  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

                    Certainly some individual performances will be better but as a whole, do you think these players will perform better or worse than last year overall as a group?

                    • Raul Moandesi

                      Don’t back down. People here want to assume the best for some players and the worst for other.

                      For Teixeira, if they think he’ll be better than they need to own up to the same conclusion for Youkilis. Same age, same trends, same injury nonsense.

                    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                      No Raul, because not everyone uses age as the sole determinant of whether a player will be better or worse the following year.

                    • Raul Moandesi

                      Where am I using age as the “sole determinant”. The problem for you is that in baseball, it’s a damn good one for hitters (ignoring the artificial PED Era).

            • Mike HC

              It is all predictions and guesses. Based on his career averages (.896 OPS), age (will be 33), and past 3 years or so, my prediction is a .840 OPS. I do think predicting a season worse than last year is a rational prediction and surely possible, although I don’t agree with it. Time will tell.

              • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

                Time will tell indeed and I truly hope he has a huge bounce back season since the Yankees have so much invested in him.

              • Raul Moandesi

                A prediction is not the same as a guess. The former is based on evidence.

                • Mike HC

                  I was just throwing them in the same boat considering it is impossible to know how Tex is going to hit next year. You can look at all the evidence you want and still be far off in your prediction.

                  • Raul Moandesi

                    It’s not impossible at all. We have a fairly good prediction, far better than for most things, for Teixeira. It’s as good as any for the sport. Over 3000 data points for the last five years says he’ll continue to suck in 2013. Statistics are merely a series of observations. For Teixeira, those observations show a player in steep decline.

          • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

            Before you label me as “gloom and doom,” the last Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections I saw had the Yankees at 87 wins and 3rd in the division.

            Of course, I’m sure you could punch holes in their system but it’s at least somewhat more scientific than just speculating which is what the rest of us are doing on either side of this argument.

            • Jim Is Bored

              87 wins is still higher than a lot of people here think they’ll reach.

              • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

                87 wins is sitting home in October.

                Also I highly doubt any of the reasonable Yankee fans other than the Dalelama’s and Dan Gen’s of the world are predicting this team to be worse than mid 80’s at the absolute worst.

                • Havok9120

                  Half of the people who voted on the confidence poll voted 5 or under. Over a quarter were 4 or under.

                  I grant that they all have different scales but that’s several hundred people who don’t seem to be thinking the team will even be in the running next season.

              • Cris Pengiucci

                I hope that system is wrong. I’d be disappointed wih 87 wins and more disappointed in a 3rd place finish, most likely out of the playoffs.

              • Steve

                But you’ll find a hell of a lot more people that think they are a World Series team than you will that think they will win 87 games or less. And those that do will shout down anybody that says they will win 87 or less or create some sort of meme about it.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  Precisely the kind of thinking I’d expect from someone in grade school.

                  • Steve

                    That seems a bit over the top

                • Henry Krinkle

                  I don’t remember a lot of people calling them a World Series team here.
                  Am I wrong or do you root for another team? Curious because it would add context

                  • Steve

                    I don’t root for the Yankees, no. I don’t really have any strong fan allegiances. I watch as much baseball as time allows and I read this site a lot because it’s one of the best team blogs I’ve found out there.

                    • Henry Krinkle

                      Thanks. I think there’s a good mix of pessimism and optimism here.

        • Get Phelps Up

          Hughes, Nova, Phelps, Romine off the top of my head will probably improve. And there’s always players who outperform expectations every single year (last year it was Chavez and Ibanez, 2011 you had Colon and Garcia, and in 2010 you had Thames and Berkman).

          • Get Phelps Up

            Also I think It’s reasonable to expect improvement from Tex (if he stays healthy), Granderson (in terms of batting average) and Youkilis seeing how he’s still just 33 and his year last year was a pretty significant dropoff from years past.

            • Raul Moandesi

              There is no data to expect improvement from Teixeira. That’s a fan’s wishes. He’s been getting increasingly worse every year from the last five. The expectation is worse performance. And that’s the way should be put together. The status quo or an improvement would be therefore gravy. You count on the likeliest outcome. That’s Teixeira getting worse.

              • Get Phelps Up

                There’s no definite data, but its pretty reasonable to think the cough affected his performance.

                • Raul Moandesi

                  If by reasonable you mean pulling a reason out of your ass and calling a turd beautiful.

                  • Get Phelps Up

                    You don’t think the cough impacted performance? How is it not reasonable to think given his numbers before the cough and after the cough?

        • trr

          I would expect the best year of Cano’s carrer as it is his walk year, just as I would expect an “off” year from him in 2014. Caveat Emptor.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It took me a while to write my reply above to you because of that job I’m actually at. Reading down, I still agree with what I wrote.

          “Craptcher” has meme potential. I like it.

          • MannyGeee

            Book mark Craptcher… It will artsome point be required as a reference, just like “oaktag” and “burrito”.

            Also, is that the term for someone someone who spends the End of Days on the shitter? “Prepare for the Craptcher! Repent, REPENT!!! Give a courtesy flush and repnt again!!!!!!!”

        • Jim Is Bored

          Even if there’s an 80% chance, for each of those players, that they regress, the odds that each of them regress is only 17%.

          Math’d.

    • Mike HC

      You are only looking at offense though. I assume since you think all players over 30 will definitely be worse than last year, that means you think Joba, Robertson, Hughes, Nova, Phelps, Nunez and Cervelli are all guaranteed to make great improvements.

      • Gonzo

        Since everyone is bashing Moandesi, I’ll just try to clarify what I think his point it. He never said, all players over 30 will definitely be worse than last year…

        He definitely used the words, All are likely to be worse on average There is, in my mind, a big difference in what you said he said and what he said.

        • Mike HC

          I get what you saying. I was just basing my comment on this line, “There isn’t one player likely to find a new level of performance given typical age curves. All are likely to be worse on average and without any potential upside.”

          I was just naming all the players on the Yankees roster who, by his logic, are likely, on average, to find a new, better levels of performance given typical age curves.

          • Gonzo

            Well then you should just focus on the fact that he ignored all the potential gains the Yankees could see in run prevention to offset the potential losses in run production this year.

            When you set up your point with, I assume since you think all players over 30 will definitely be worse than last year…, it kinda ruins what’s next for me. JMO

            Not trying to start isht. Just my humble two cents.

            • Mike HC

              I think you are right. I definitely slightly mis characterized his comment.

              • Gonzo

                I’m not sure I’m interpreting him correctly, so take it with a grain of salt.

                • Raul Moandesi

                  You are. And on the offense side, I’ll stand by it. Since half the game is scoring runs, that’s huge. The other half is divided by pitching and defense. Even if we don’t assume regression ther

            • Raul Moandesi

              I didn’t ignore anything. Please, pray tell, point to these mystical gains.

              • Gonzo

                It’s not my argument. He mentioned gains from pitchers, not me. I just assumed that he meant that this would translate into gains in run prevention.

              • Havok9120

                You aren’t helping yourself by being combative with everyone who comments, you know.

                You did get dog piled and mis-characterized here, but it doesn’t help to go overboard yourself in reaction.

                • Mike HC

                  Especially since he was being combative to someone who was actually defending him.

                  My original, admittedly poorly explained point, was that his comment factored in absolutely no improvement from any player based on his line “There isn’t one player likely to find a new level of performance given typical age curves.” Now maybe he meant only the players he previously mentioned, but that was not clear to me.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I’m not trying to bash him, FWIW. I want to make that clear. He made his point. I think he’s coming from a pessimistic place. For all I know, he can turn around and call me a dicknose now, but that’s not where I’m coming from.

          • Gonzo

            No worries. FWIW, after that last post, I think you guys are saying the same thing. It’s just from two separate perspectives.

          • Raul Moandesi

            I’m coming from a place informed by data, the same data used by all of the projection systems. You wouldn’t call those pessimistic, would you? Have any of the projections said the Yankees will add to their win total in 2013?

            • Robinson Tilapia

              I’d call it the same place every bullshit argument winds up here, where people use data to indicate obvious straight lines and where life isn’t a straight line.

              In other words, an hour later, my reply to you is exactly the same, and I’ll cut and paste it back here:

              “In other words, they still have go out there and play.”

              • Raul Moandesi

                And yet, no projection system would argue with that conclusion. Nice job understanding my point and theirs – namely, the Yankees are likely to be much worse in 2013. You haven’t argued back on that point one bit.

        • Jim Is Bored

          “All are likely to be worse on average”

          That’s just statistically and logically wrong though.

          • Jim Is Bored

            If he had said “as a whole” or “as an aggregate” then it would have been accurate.

            • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

              Actually I think ‘all’ is proper and in logical agreement with the way you mean it – ie taking the group as a whole. If he’d said EACH is likely…then he would’ve been saying something that even statistically is highly unlikely. Anyway this is splitting hairs on splitting hairs, sorry.

              • Raul Moandesi

                And you are correct and worthy of a reading comprehension award!

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  “There isn’t one player likely to find a new level of performance given typical age curves. All are likely to be worse on average and without any potential upside, that risk, plus the potential for (additional) injuries make this a club on the outside looking at a playoff berth.”

                  My ass.

                  • Raul Moandesi

                    Your ass is likely fat.

            • Gonzo

              I agree he’s not clear on that sentence. I’m not sure he meant it the way you are interpreting however. He might have meant All as an aggregate production or all as in each player. Judging by the rest of the context of his post, I don’t think he thinks of it likely that all will occur. Unless he thinks it’s close to 99% that they will decline, but that’s another can of worms. I wish he was around to clarify.

      • Steve

        You could play this game all day. If we’re accepting this premise than you can reasonably expect regression from Mariano, Sabathia, Pettite and Kuroda. If all of them regress than it doesn’t matter what a bunch of guys in the bullpen and the utility infielder does

        • Mike HC

          I understand that and I was only addressing him line claiming there is not one player likely to improve. Secondly, I don’t accept his premise that every player over 30 is likely to be worse than the year before.

  • Tonyloco

    Don’t forget about the change at catcher. Martin has been durable the last two years. I would assume the Yanks will be younger there (Cervelli will be 27 vs Martin at 30) but who knows how durable this year’s starting catcher will be.

    • MannyGeee

      This I actually agree with. Martin (who ironically has been a Faberge Egg throughout his career before landing with NY) was as close to rock solid as a Major League catcher could be (health-wise) in his tenure with the Yankees.

      Meanwhile, Cervelli has concussion history, That Dude Who Rhymes with Lettuce has had major back issues, and anyone who stumbles through the door (literally stumbles) can be as much of a wild card.

      Just funny is all.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Martin wasn’t rock-solid health-wise before he came to the Yankees, though.

        • MannyGeee

          Agreed, which is why it was so ironic and mind-blowing. I was completing expecting Martin to be flat on his ass by Mid May of his first season (likewise with Eric Chavez, by the way…)

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

          Yup. Exactly why past results are no guarantee of future performance. Or something like that.

      • Slappy McWaterbug

        The upside of using scrap heap fodder for catchers is that these guys are probably pretty replaceable.

        • LK

          This is actually a pretty good point. If one of the catchers gets hurt it’s not going to be a big problem

        • Jim Is Bored

          Otherwise known as the Dan Duquette Theory of Starting Pitching.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I think there’s certainly some truth to go along with a bit of pessimism on your end, Mike. I guess the one concern I could tack onto that is the depth on this team right now. It’s not there as of yet and you Ronnie Mustellier lovers will probably be thrilled to know that he’s a handful of injuries away from rocking your dreams.

    I think the team can assemble depth through MiLB deals and the such. This is where your DeWayne Wises and Jayson Nixes live, and they certainly are doing some of that already. There needs to be more of that between now and Opening Day, though, for me to feel that there are answers if a regular goes down. This is why having guys stashed away, Almonte-forgive, matters. You only have so many guys on the MLB bench.

    Ironically, with three catching options going into ST, that position actually has some depth, just not a lot of difference between the head and ass of the pack.

    • MannyGeee

      “… just not a lot of difference between the head and ass of the pack”

      It actually looks like an all ass party, but I digress.

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

        Dude there is NOTHING like an all ass party. I’m telling you.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I’m now recalling Jennifer Connelly in the final scene of “Requiem for a Dream.”

          • Pat D

            I know it’s not the same scene, but he didn’t take it out for air.

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Old age is keeping us from A-Rod3k this year. So there’s a plus side to having a team of senior citizens.

  • LK

    This is the chief danger with keeping the team roughly the same at this point. At these ages a static team is likely to get worse, even if that team stays healthy. I think this is the most important year for the farm in a long time. They probably won’t be in position to help this year, but as most of our top prospects hit AA/AAA we’ll start to find out if we’ve got true blue-chippers or not.

    • Mike HC

      Definitely true. But re signing Martin, Swisher and Soriano or even signing a Hamilton would have only put the team deeper into this “guaranteed” age related decline though. So there is really little the Yankees could have done about their core 4 and their 2009 championship core getting older. We can only wait on our minor league guys no matter how much money the Yanks throw around. Hughes, Nova, Phelps, Joba, Robertson, Nunez and Gardner are here now. Pineda, Banuelos, Turley, Sanchez, Williams, Austin and Heathcott are all hopefully on the way in the next couple of years.

      • LK

        True for the most part, though I think re-signing Martin for 2 years wouldn’t really count as locking down guaranteed decline.

        • Mike HC

          I personally didn’t mind letting Martin go, under the assumption they would acquire another catcher. Probably worse than Martin, but better than Cervelli/Stewart. So far, that obviously hasn’t happened, making me question not re signing Martin even if they thought it was 2 mil per year overpay.

          • LK

            Yeah. Given that Pierzynski signed for 1 year (yes, he’s not going to repeat last year, and he’s an asshole), they even had an opportunity to upgrade without affecting 2014 and chose to pass. Stewart better be pitch-framing-God.

            • Mike HC

              hahaha … Umps won’t even know what hit them when they evaluate their performance with Stewart behind the plate.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Yeah. It’s really hard for me to figure out what they could have done. Saying “but teh Headley and teh Upton and teh Stanton” is just so easy to do, yet so not realistic.

        This franchise was going to reach the place where the rode what they had into the ground and then had to figure out what was next. It was going to happen in the middle of this decade. Hard to blame them when they won five titles and made the playoffs 17 of out 18 seasons. Here we are, though, and, hopefully, that work on becoming, what was it, the “Rays with money” will reap some dividends in the next 2-3 seasons.

        • Mike HC

          Yea. What makes this great stretch of dominance and watching Jeter, Bernie, Posada, Pettitte, Mo etc … so special is that it is not easy to do this. You can’t just re tool a dynasty.

          • Jim Is Bored

            Exactly. If we were that dominant with every core, every year, what would make us appreciate those guys?

            • LK

              Well, not to disagree with this entirely, but Jeter was the only member of the core you speak of who made that a large contribution last year. Pettitte and Mo were hurt most of the year and Bernie and Posada were retired. The challenge for the middle of this decade is more transitioning away from the A-Rod/Tex/CC core than the one from the late-90s; that transition is basically already over.

              • Mike HC

                Agreed in general. But Jeter is a monster difference maker all on his own. Just look at shortstop production around the league. Life without Jeter will be a shock to some fans, including me. And one I am not looking forward to.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                I agree that it’s a transition away from the 90’s core and that which was built to carry it through the last decade.

                90’s core is still there, though. Even if they were injured, 3 of the 4 were still being counted on as pretty major performers last year. I’m very thankful we were able to make a silk purse out of Rafael Soriano.

                • LK

                  Sure, they were being counted on, but as it turns out only one of them delivered in a big way. It just seemed to me like there was a sense in the discussion that you can’t have a continuous dynasty and the decline was inevitable (which of course is true if you make the timeline long enough). I disagree, since I think the Yankees have already pulled it off – between 1995 and 2012, they missed the playoffs one time. There were 3 common players between those two teams, one of which was a part time player in 1995 and the other two were hurt in 2012. Doing this is exceedingly difficult and will be tougher this time around given the construction of the team, but the decline isn’t unavoidable.

                  • Havok9120

                    But doing that required relying on (increasing older) players just reaching FA. It’s not a sustainable system with the way baseball works now unless you’re going to have payroll balloon ever-higher.

                    I do agree they made the transition from the 90s, though. I also agree with RT that this current transition was pretty much guarenteed to happen, payroll cut or no.

  • There’s the Door

    1,856 days until Alex’ contract expires.
    Until then, everything you’re talking about is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      #purplelips

      • jjyank

        #centaur

        • MannyGeee

          #manlygirlz

          • Pat D

            #loudnoises

      • Get Phelps Up

        #parades?

        • Robinson Tilapia

          #likely

        • jjyank

          #punchandjudy

          • Havok9120

            #chokeartist

          • Get Phelps Up

            #rbis

  • RetroRob

    Age and the Yankees. A story that appears and plays out every year as the team goes on to win 90+ games.

  • Daren

    “You know what’s bad about old players? They’re old, and might get injured. You know what’s bad about young players? They’re young, and might suck. I like to combine the two.”

    -Dallas Green

    • TomH

      Very funny thread. I enjoyed it. Made me want to listen to Tom Waits’ “Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard.”

  • Pat D

    Wow the comments on this post are almost unreadable and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of Ted.