Feb
12

Requiem for an Offseason

By
The prize of the offseason. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

The prize of the offseason. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

The 2012-2013 offseason is officially over. Pitchers and catchers will report to Tampa today, then have their first workout tomorrow. More than a few players have been working out at the complex in recent weeks, mostly guys coming off injury like Derek Jeter and Michael Pineda. Position players will report on Sunday and the first Grapefruit League game is next Saturday.

This offseason was very, very different for the Yankees. The plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014 dominated the winter, as the future financials of every possible move had to be considered. Outside of a two-year pact for Ichiro Suzuki — a deal that appears to be motivated by off-the-field factors rather than expected on-field production — the team held firm on one-year offers. They lost out on more than a few players because of that, including Jeff Keppinger, Scott Hairston, and Torii Hunter.

Most of the heavy lifted was done back in November, when Hiroki Kuroda ($15M), Andy Pettitte ($12M), and Mariano Rivera ($10M) agreed to new one-year contracts within the span of nine days. Kuroda had plenty of suitors and more lucrative offers, but it was pretty much Yankees or retirement for Pettitte and Rivera. Both opted for another year after injury-shortened 2012 campaigns. Just like that, the pitching staff was pretty well set.

Things didn’t go so smoothly on the position player side. Hours after Rivera rejoined the team, catcher Russell Martin took a two-year deal with the Pirates without ever receiving an offer from New York. With few alternatives available — either in free agency or through trades — the club never really pursued a new starting backstop and will go into camp with Chris Stewart, Frankie Cervelli, and Austin Romine fighting for the two catching spots. I think that was the first time the 2014 payroll plan really hit home and we got to see it impact a roster decision.

About two weeks later the news of Alex Rodriguez‘s left hip injury broke, forcing the team to look for a full-time third baseman rather unexpectedly. That search led them to Kevin Youkilis ($12M), whose name value outweighs his on-field production at this point of his career. I suppose they could have looked at him as a primary DH/backup corner infielder, but it’s very unlikely the Yankees would have pursued Youkilis without A-Rod‘s injury. We’ll never know if the team was willing to invest that $12M elsewhere before needing a new body at the hot corner.

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

Ichiro returned less than a week later, taking the place of the departed Nick Swisher. Despite what was ultimately a reasonable cost (four years, $56M), the Yankees never showed any interest in bringing their right fielder of the last four seasons back for more. Since catcher was weirdly a non-priority, most of the offseason work was complete once Ichiro was re-signed. The club had rebuilt the pitching staff, replaced A-Rod, and found a new right fielder. The DH spot and miscellaneous bench/depth pieces were the only items left on the agenda.

From mid-December through today, the Yankees did an awful lot of window shopping. They dipped their toe in the Raul Ibanez, Javy Vazquez, Grady Sizemore, Ben Francisco, Lance Berkman, and Nate Schierholtz pools before coming up empty. Guys like Jim Thome and Delmon Young didn’t catch their eye. What the Yankees did do during that time was sign Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, and Dan Johnson to minor league contracts. The first two will compete for the right-handed hitting outfield bat role while Johnson had a shot to make the team as the DH before they inked Travis Hafner ($2M).

Beyond the free agent market, the Yankees did not make a notable trade this winter. It’s the first time that’s happened — defining “notable” as involving a player who was projected to be on the 25-man roster — since the 2007-2008 offseason. They had interest in both Mike Morse and Justin Upton, but they ended up in Seattle and Atlanta, respectively. As far as we know, they didn’t have interest in guys like Michael Young, John Jaso, Shin-Soo Choo, Jamie Shields, or Jose Reyes. Some are unnecessary, others were potential fits.

Despite Hal Steinbrenner’s silly little statements about not understanding why fans were upset, I know I’m not alone in saying this was an underwhelming offseason. A very underwhelming offseason. The Yankees brought back the same pitching staff (good!) while downgrading behind the plate, in right field, and possibly at third base (bad!). They will improve in left thanks to Brett Gardner‘s return, and a healthy Hafner should be far more productive than Ibanez. Then again, a healthy Hafner doesn’t happen very often. On paper, the Yankees are worse right now than they were five or six months ago.

More than anything though, I’m just glad the offseason is over. Pitchers and catchers are reporting today, and even though it’s the biggest non-news day of the year, it symbolizes the start of the new season and that makes me happy. Pretty soon some bats will be cracking and gloves will be popping, and before you know it the regular season will be underway. It’s a wonderful time of year.

Categories : Hot Stove League

176 Comments»

  1. Noah says:

    Huh that was a pretty boring offseason. I’m only 14 sos I haven’t seen THAT many big Yankee signings. I’m a little worried about this years team, but things could go very well actually. If Cano, in his contract year, rakes even more than usual and their pitching holds up they are still a team to reckon with.

  2. Captain says:

    the season is a waste of time without Keppinger and Hairston.

  3. Blake says:

    Mike,
    What do you think the Indians would ask for Stubbs? He can’t hit righties but he hits LHP pretty well, can play CF and can steal bases…..would give them a little more versatility and he’s controllable. File under the better than what they have category Id say?

  4. Jim Is Bored says:

    It’s just a bit sad that we’re fretting over not signing Scott Hairston or Jeff Keppinger.

  5. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Yes, it was a bit of an underwhelming off-season. Like with any relationship, it ain’t always going to be blowjobs and roses.

    Through sickness and health…

    • Gonzo says:

      Why is the bride smiling as she’s walking down the aisle?

    • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

      Blow jobs and Roses???

      This offseason was more like your wife got a yeast infection and you were cut off for a few weeks.

    • Coolerking101 says:

      Meh. Your partner owes you the same duty of loyalty you owe them. That’s unlike any fan’s favorite sports teams that owes them nothing and generally only cares about making a profit. I’d like to think Yankee ownership is different from many other sports franchises in that they care about fielding a winning team almost as much as they care about making a profit…but only time will tell what Hal and Co’s priorities really are.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Then go root for someone else.

        • LK says:

          I don’t really like these sorts of rebuttals. You’re allowed to be upset about your team’s actions.

          • Cris Pengiucci says:

            I’m with you. I see that comment as showing concern or uncertainty, not being upset by the current course of action (although leaning in that direction). Nothing wrong with the comment and the commenter never even mentioned no longer being a fan if Hal & Co decide the Yankees exist to be a real corporation and maximize profits. RT’s response was uncalled for.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              Sure. I just read this more as the kind of “we don’t owe them our fandom” kind of thing which I can’t relate to, and to which my reply tends to be “well if you don’t owe them anything, what are you doing here?”

              Maybe I’m misreading something in what he wrote.

              • Coolerking101 says:

                No offense taken. I was just suggesting that fandom is a two way street. If your team doesn’t respect you as a fan, then I believe you don’t owe the team anything back. Though I’m not pleased with the offseason, I wouldn’t suggest that it provided anyone with a legitimate basis to bail on the Yanks.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  Yeah, dude. Sorry. If you read what I thought I was reacting to, you’d agree, but that’s clearly not what you were saying.

                  Let’s go find the real killers now.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  An example of how you’re right is that the Florida Marlins had a pretty good shot at half my fandom, even in the dynasty years.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          This is different than the comment below which basically said “Fuck the Yankees, I hate baseball, go (some other team)”.

        • Now Batting says:

          I know this was clarified below, but if I were to grow disenchanted with the Yankees bleeding me for every dollar and they weren’t reinvesting it in the field, I would go to fewer games and buy less merchandise. Root for someone else though? Never

        • Herby says:

          Go Astros!

  6. J $ says:

    Never been less excited for a season. This is the least exciting team in baseball. A bunch of over the hill players with bloated contracts. We don’t even have an exciting rookie or anything along those lines. Thank god for college bball. Go Hoyas.

  7. rondd5 says:

    ….will be interesting…especially if things don’t work out….and there is a distinct possibility they won’t…who will take the heat?

  8. LK says:

    As much as this offseason was disappointing, next offseason is the one that actually scares me.

    • Gonzo says:

      This is what I was thinking too.

      • Barry's Gift Basket says:

        Agreed, i’d bet they’ll make the playoffs this year. Not so sure for 2014.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          I’ll figure out 2014 after the 2013 offseason. I don’t think any of us know exactly what’s going to happen between now and then.

          • Laz says:

            Still enough away. They will be dropping alot of payroll, and who knows, we could have a couple pitchers come out and help. Pineda/Banuelos/Betances could turn into something, cojo/adams could be something.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      So much can go right or wrong between now and then that I don’t think it’s even worth worrying. It’s not hard to imagine either tons of holes with few resources to fill them or 4/5 of the rotation set with 2 top 25 prospects vying to replace Granderson.

  9. Gonzo says:

    I don’t think this team is as good as last year’s team. I do think this team has a really good shot at the playoffs and a decent shot at the division. We’ll see.

  10. CS Yankee says:

    This article hit “the nail on the head”.

    Excited about the pitching and not having a slow OFers, but shocked that C is being held by Stew and the Great Gazoo…they better frame correctly as they’ll give up most of the bases and all of the lumber. Saying they went with “D” is a joke as they are (almost) as bad behind the dish as they are next to it.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      I have no idea how you think that they’re as bad at defense as they are at the plate.

      You didn’t offer any evidence, not even a cursory UZR. If the yankees said they’re going with D(which I also haven’t seen a quote for), I’m going to trust them over a comment with no information backing it.

      I dont love having them at catcher. I can’t imagine anyone does. But since when did Russel Freaking Martin become Johnny Bench?

      • MannyGeee says:

        April to October – “Russell Martin is the worst. He’s a homerun or strike out and painful to watch.

        October to December – “I would not pay that bum Russell Martin more than $2M per… he can’t hit when it counts”

        Russell Martin now that he’s gone- “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????!?!?!??”

        • trr says:

          Martin WILL be missed; Yes, he was terribly inconsistent offensively, but at least brought the dimension of power, rare at his position. Apparently, the team’s fervent hope is that Romone will take over at some point this year

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            I think he’ll be missed for sure. It wasn’t a great season, but he was able to stay as primary catcher for all of it. It’s very possible this remains a “work in progress” throughout the season.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I think it probably has as much to do with Stewart as Romine. Stewart has put up 1.6 fWAR in about 400 PAs. Cervelli is right there with him. They might not match Martin’s production, but they might come close at a small fraction of the price.

            I rarely see any preppers giving evidence to back up their claims that Stewart and Cervelli are the end of the world.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Cervelli is so awful defensively that he was demoted last season.

      Stewart is a strong defender, though.

      • MannyGeee says:

        Not even in the same neighborhood as truth. That is even a tough call for plausible. Truth is, if Chris Stewart wasn’t out of options, there could have been a VERY different conversation for B.U.C.

        But alas, the Business of Baseball took its toll last season.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          You seem to be confusing your speculation with the truth. I’m not saying that you are necessarily wrong in your speculation, but please don’t insult us all by pretending it is “truth.”

          You can draw your own conclusions, but it’s very hard to deny that Cervelli has been a poor defensive C. Whether you want to look at conventional stats or pitch framing, the conclusion is the same. Every first hand account I’ve heard of anyone actually watching him play in MLB concurs.

          The one fact we do have is that the Yankees went out and got Stewart, giving up an asset to do so, knowing full well that he was out of options. Could have been a depth move, but even in that case they thought Stewart was close enough to Cervelli in value to demote Cervelli. There’s an equal chance that they thought Stewart was an improvement on Cervelli enough to give up Kontos for that difference rather than sign some AAAA C who became available when rosters were finalized.

          People can keep acting as if teams aren’t valuing pitch framing data, but two of the best run orgs in baseball have made what appear to be pretty drastic moves that line up with it.

    • MannyGeee says:

      +1 for the Flintstones reference. Nailed it.

  11. Steve says:

    Finally the “I didn’t realize pitchers and catchers were reporting tomorrow” bullshit will be over. And looks like they never addressed the catcher situation, which was the thing that elicited that reaction the most

  12. Mark in VT says:

    Do we know for sure that the Yanks were even given the opportunity to re-sign Martin? Maybe the Pirates jumped on in and he didn’t ask the Yanks for a counter offer? Yes, it would be the Yanks fault for not making him a priority, but there could be a possibility that he left and wasn’t interested in what the Yanks had to offer. Some guys just don’t want to be Yankees.
    Can anyone find reports that say otherwise?

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I don’t think that there are any reports. There are tons of possibilities other than the Doomsday Preppers crowd’s “they’re so cheap” explanation. My guess is that the Yankees declined to make him an offer instead of incompetently losing him, and I’m not so sure it was about the budget. Martin had basically no reason not to pit the Yankees against the Pirates if he thought the Yankees would make a counter-offer. The Yankees could have easily afforded Martin in 2014. If it was a good value deal and they expected him to be healthy, they also could have traded him next off-season or in the middle of 2014. So, I don’t think it was a matter of not wanting to spend the money. I think it’s that they didn’t want to spend it on Martin. He’s had chronic injuries and struggled at the plate for long stretches at a time since he’s been a Yankee. Ironically, he was better than 90% of Yankees fans gave him credit for while in NY and worse than 90% of Yankees fans remember him to have been now that he’s gone.

      • LK says:

        As far as your “90%” claims, I think the explanation is simple. Next to Posada, Martin looked pretty awful. Next to Stewart/Cervelli, he looks like Johnny Bench. It’s all relative, my man.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Maybe, but plenty of the Martin sucks comments were made in reference to acquiring anyone else to replace him. Not like, “he’s no great.” But more like, “he is the worst ever.”

          I’m interested to see what happens at the C spot this season and going forward, as well as how Martin does in Pittsburgh.

          • LK says:

            Yeah, the type of people who were saying he was the worst ever don’t really provide any value with their opinions, so I don’t pay attention to them.

            • Now Batting says:

              Russel Martin had a BA below .200 and an OBP below .300 until September. He is now the fourth highest paid catcher in baseball. Let someone else pay him.

              • LK says:

                The value of a player doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s a 2-year contract. I think the difference in value between Martin and the Yankees’ current catching options will easily exceed Martin’s salary.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  I don’t think anyone would prefer Cervelli and Stewart to Martin. I’m frustrated they didn’t sign him too.

                  We’re just annoyed that everyone is acting as though that’s going to be the difference between a .500 team and a playoff team. And as if everyone wasn’t really frustrated with him for about 85% of the season last year.

                • Now Batting says:

                  The salary of every other catcher (only AAV matters) in comparison is a vacuum? I’d like to see you explain that one.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  Small sample, but Stewart has been worth 1.6 fWAR in 394 career PAs.Cervelli is at 1.8 in 5PAs. Martin has been at or below 2.2 3 of the past 4 years.

                  Despite the mass hysteria, fWAR indicates this should be a marginal change.

                  I don’t think fWAR is the end-all-be-all, but it’s a decent metric.

                  • RIVAN says:

                    I think we are overthinking this. With Martin and Swisher we scored over 800 runs…I seem to remember a light highting C from late nineties that was serviceable (girardi) that was adequate. Our team was due for a correction after the amount of bad contracts that we gave out(Teixiera, ARod AJ, etc). So I think we should give Cervelli or Romine a shot until Sanchez arrives. This teamis a different anial than last years. It will hopefully score runs by manufacturing them, with the occasional big blast. I believe our pitching will be alot better than last year so we can afford to score less runs. In summary, can we agree that arguing the value of a 220avg 20 hr c is of little concern in the overall value of this team going forward. ( especially with what the Pirates are forking over to have him)

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          No, sorry, Martin doesn’t look like Johnny Bench next to either Stewart or Cervelli.

      • trr says:

        Also, the Yanks’ recent M/O has been to wait players out, hoping their price will drop. There was spate of quick signings this post season that seems to have caught them off guard…

  13. trr says:

    Pass me the shovel so I can throw dirt on it

  14. kevin w. says:

    I still honestly feel like I am the most optimistic Yankees fan left. I really don’t think we’re that much worse. The bullpen is going to by dynamite, Mo, D-Rob, Joba, Aardsma, are all power arms and Logan/Rapada are great at their role. The rotation is deep assuming health and Pineda should be coming back.

    People forget Martin was hitting under .200 for like 5 out of 6 months. Obviously we downgraded at catcher power wise, but Cervelli/Stewart will be able to match him defensively. Losing Swisher downgrades the depth of the line-up, but we know he won’t be missed in October. Also the DH platoon is stronger this year than last year and they have a productive third basemen to take over while Alex is hurt, which is better than the Jayson Nix era of last year.

    There is no denying they’re going to score less runs last year but Jeter/Ichiro/Cano/Teix/Grandy/Youk/Pronk/Cervelli/Gardner is still a line-up many teams would love to have and it’s only going to get deeper once Alex comes back. If the pitching remains healthy I believe we’re going to be perfectly fine, especially if Hughes makes even a slight improvement on last year. Their two biggest holes (RH outfielder and catcher) are both upgradeable at the deadline, especially the former.

    This reminds me a lot of the Cliff Lee/Freddy Garcia/Bartolo Colon off-season. Everyone was panicking and it turned out just fine. We may have gotten worse, but I think it is a lot less than people make it out to be. The team is still deep and filled with productive players.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      I think the reasonable posters here are looking at a 2-6 win decline, which I think is reasonable. We’re not a 81 win team. Assuming no incredibly awful luck, we’re still going to be an 87-93 win team, in the running for a WC spot or the division.

      Anyone who thinks we’re going to be 10 games out of a playoff spot in July isn’t listening to reason or is being intentionally inflammatory.

      • jjyank says:

        I agree. I do think the Yankees definitely took a step back from the 2012 squad, but I don’t think it’s as big of a step as some others do. I would say the Yankees will win at ~90 games.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Issue is that some of the -2-6 people complain so adamantly that they come across as part of the -20 crowd.

        Bigger issue, to me, is when they manipulate information to verify their hypothesis.

        • Barry's Gift Basket says:

          I think that some of the “2-6 people” (in wich group i include myself) are complaining because this year the division seems very tough on paper, plus the wildcard thing gets tricky with TEX, LA, DET, CLE, OAK, and losing those 2 or 3 games on the standings could mean no playoffs for the Yanks this year.

          And i love me some playoff games.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            It also could mean a real exciting nail-biting fight to the end that this team could be in the middle of.

            I still think they take the East.

          • Chip Off the Ol'Knoblauch says:

            Agreed, but everytime I look at the division on paper I remember that Red Sox article from a couple years ago about how they were going to be the greatest team in history and Babe Ruth would’ve been the bat boy with how good the offense was going to be. Then we played the games and all the Red Sox could win was chicken and beer giveaways.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            The other side of that coin is ALL of the good teams are likely to have a 1-3 fewer wins, because of the increased competition in the middle of the AL. So the Yankees aren’t alone there.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            It’s always tough to make the playoffs. I don’t think that changed a ton this season. Boston was the consensus division “favorite” two years ago, and Tampa seemed to be last season.

            I don’t think the division is as tough as Mike is making it out to be on paper, because he’s not actually converting the ZIPs projections to a team basis. The Blue Jays have so many question marks that, while they’re a very strong contender, I see the division as a three team race still with the other two capable of contending should things break well for them.

            People tend to put too much weight on acquisitions without considering starting point or losses. If I add 50 sq ft to a 10,000 sq ft house, it’s still bigger than a 5,000 sq ft house I just added 1,000 sq ft to.

            Cleveland won 68 games last season. I understand what they are trying to do, but I doubt it’s going to put them in the 2013 playoffs. I think that the White Sox are the favorite for 2nd in the Central (which was won at 88 wins last season…).

            Texas has major losses to overcome in Hamilton and Napoli. They’re still a very good team, but I think it’s hard to argue that they got any better on paper entering the season. Certainly Berkman, Andrus, and Olt provide a lot of upside, but plenty of uncertainty.

            It’s dubious that the Angels netted anything going from 2012 Hunter (5.3 fWAR) to 2013 Hamilton (averaged 4.25 fWAR 2011-12), and there are serious questions about their rotation. If the Yankees gave Joe Blanton 2-15, I think that this site would explode. They won 89 games last season, and I don’t know if their team is any better this year. They won 89 games last season, and I don’t that they’re any better on paper.

            • Slappy McWaterbug says:

              Quit interrupting peoples hyperbolic hand-wringing with reason.

            • trr says:

              Just my opinion, but I think 87-89 wins could take the East this year. Based on that, we’ve got a shot to win it. If a team like Toronto really exceeds expectations, we’re in trouble…

            • Barry's Gift Basket says:

              Fair enough,

              My point is that the yankees didn’t get better, IMO, and other teams may have. I’m worried, i can not deny that.

              Of course this is all theory, who knows may be Tex goes back to being a stud at the plate, Grandy and Cano have great contract years, and the rotation repeats their 2012 level without injuries. May be Ichiro Hafner and Youkilis go all Bartolo and Freddy in 2011, but there is an amount of uncertainty about this team that i hadn’t had in my entire life as a yankee fan (i’m 24, don’t remember any pre-strike stuff). Of course this applies to many other teams, and their adquisiscions, i know it, but i’m just not that confident.

            • Barry's Gift Basket says:

              Plus, i know you like numbers and stuff, but, How come Hamilton is a major loss for TEX but doesn’t net anything for LA?

              Putting contracts and other stuff aside, i’ll take Hamilton over Hunter for 2013 anytime.

              Agreed on Blanton and the LA rotation though.

              • Havok9120 says:

                The Hamilton thing is because Hunter played insanely well last season, to the point where it’d be hard for injury prone Hamilton to out-do him in WAR terms. Hamilton will almost certainly be worth more than Hunter overall going forward, but he probably won’t match Hunter’s 2012.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                As Havok says, it’s because to be as good as they were in 2012 the Angels basically have to account for how good they were last year. They had a very productive Hunter last year.

                I don’t think that Texas has really directly replaced Hamilton with any certainty. Leonys Martin has the talent to be an adequate replacement, but I don’t have much idea how he’ll handle MLB pitching.

      • TomH says:

        Anyone who thinks we’re going to be 10 games out of a playoff spot in July isn’t listening to reason or is being intentionally inflammatory.

        I don’t think the Yankees will be 10 out in July. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s “intentionally inflammatory” or irrational to worry that they might be. This is a team that is getting very OLD, as in Methuselah. Old-timers can go over the edge pretty damned quickly, just for reasons of natural slowdown. Get a lot of such people on a team at one time–Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, Ichiro, ARodet al.–and finding negative 10 is no problem at all.

        And while it is true that all teams are susceptible to injury, a team of old-timers is particularly susceptible not only to injury but to a slower pace of recovery from injury.

        To refuse to acknowledge these dangers is to fail to listen to reason and to be intentionally naive.

        The age issue on the NYY will be, I suspect, the most often remarked-upon aspect of the team in the opposition broadcasting booths all season. It will be remarked upon routinely by all segments of the baseball press.

        It will be dismissed only among Pollyanna Yankee fans who will consider all these other people to be uninformed.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          I don’t think you realize how awful 10 games behind in July is.

          Assuming 100 games, the 2nd WC team will likely have around 53 wins, being conservative.

          10 games out of that is 43-57.

          No, I’m not going to worry that the Yankees will be 43-57.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            43-57 would mean you’d have to throw a lot of dirt on the shovel. Did I get that right?

          • TomH says:

            In 1965, on 1 July, the New York Yankees were 12.5 games out of first place. You will recall that this was a team that had won 99 games the previous year. They had reached 10 games out of first by June 26th of that year.

            Although people like Mantle and Howard and others were beginning to show their age, the average age of the team was about 28 1/2.

            What was the ave. age of the 2012 team? About 33?

            Believe me, I know how far 10 games behind in July is and how badly a team has to play to get there.

            Forget all the damned statistics except for those governed by birthdays. This is an old, old, really really old team. It’s living on borrowed time. At present rates of Hal-driven rejuvenation, if not this year, then either next or 2015 at the latest they have a date with disaster. If they’re lucky, they can get there by 2015, just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of 1965!

            But in any case, if someone argued that this particular team could be 10 games out in July 2013, that person would not be irrational.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              We’re living on 1 more yaer of time than last year.

              I’m sorry, but to compare 1965 to 2013, especially in terms of aging, is completely irresponsible. Medicine, training, conditioning are leaps and bounds more improved. Aging happens slower, and less drastically, as an aggregate. If we don’t make ANY changes between now and 2015, of fucking course we’re headed for disaster. We’re talking about 2013, not 2014, not 2015, not 1965.

              You’re missing my main point though. If you’re choosing the least likely scenario as what you’re banking on, it’s irrational. Besides “Look at 1965″, which wouldn’t hold up in a kindergarten class much less an intelligent message board, please give me a REAL reason, with facts, proof, numbers, something besides “NU UH YOURE WRONG”, that this team will be 10 games out in July 2013.

              You won’t, and you can’t, and you’ll continue to avoid the point, as you always do. Good Lord. Obtuse remains obtuse.

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                My main point is, if you’re worried about this team being 10 games out of first, then you logically HAVE to be equally worried about almost every team in baseball history.

                If that’s the path someone wants to choose, it’s irrational.

              • TomH says:

                First of all,nitwit, I said I didn’t believe the Yankees would be 10 out by July. I tried to correct your panicky homer’s naive notion of what constitutes rationality.

                Second, the entire baseball world knows that old is what the Yankees now are. Old, old, old: get it into your head: they are really old.

                I didn’t say they were old in 1965 terms–although you’re whistling past the graveyard if you think the difference is so significant–I said it was rational to argue that they were old, and that being old they were prone to the processes we associate with age.

                The spleen with which you coat your poor reading skills is a sign my rational argument made you nervous (truth comes in blows). You started shouting. Don’t be so emotional. It’s unmanly.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              LOL. It is rational to forget every stat except birthdays!!! I couldn’t make this stuff up. Something happens once, so it is rational to treat it as the most likely outcome going forward. How old was the 2012 team? How many games did they win? Check out the 5 oldest and 5 youngest teams in MLB this season to disprove your own nonsense.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Come on. Raul Ibanez was a couple of years older than Methusulah, and now he’s a True Yankee.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          It’s irrational to worry about 10 games behind because you’re literally planning on a worst case scenario. Please find me a projection with a >2% chance of the Yankees being 43-57.

          If you’re being worried over a 2% chance in baseball, then you’re going to be worried all the time, about every team and every situation, every year.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            dalelama’s projection?

          • Ted Nelson says:

            TomH and rational don’t belong in the same sentence without an “is not” separating them. That’s not even meant as an insult. His comments indicate that he whole-heatedly dismisses rationalism. He has basically told me before that statistics as a science is useless.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              Well considering he literally just cherry picked one example from baseball’s entire history to try and show that believing that scenario will happen this year, without comparing anything besides ages and wins, I’m definitely leaning towards your point of view.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                Oh, man… I am not making it up at all. He rsays things like no stat means anything all the time. Try following his posts. It is hilarious. Him and Manny’s Bandwagon start going off on tangents together about the most asinine stuff.

    • Mark in VT says:

      Agreed.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      “This reminds me a lot of the Cliff Lee/Freddy Garcia/Bartolo Colon off-season. Everyone was panicking and it turned out just fine. We may have gotten worse, but I think it is a lot less than people make it out to be. The team is still deep and filled with productive players.”

      Amen.

    • Barry's Gift Basket says:

      Agreed about this team being absulutely competent.

      But i wouldn’t expect anything out of Rodriguez.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Why not?

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          If someone wanted to bet against A-rod the obvious reasons are bad hips, the steroid issue hanging around him, declining skills, etc.

        • Barry's Gift Basket says:

          Definetly damaged hip (this is not a fluke injury), Age, has been declining for years.

          Even Cashman said he may not return this year.

          See, i’m not saying that he won’t bring anything to the table, i’m saying that i won’t expect him to.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            You’re entitled to your opinions, but there are equally strong counter-arguments in my opinion. So I would expect him to come back around mid-season.

            His hip was just surgically repaired from a long-standing condition where it barely rotated. It seems like he could come back stronger as easily as weaker from a totally non-medical, purely logical perspective. From what I remember, the doctor said to expect him to come back stronger. Obviously not an impartial opinion, but it’s about the only real one I have to go on.

            He hadn’t really been declining at all. He declined, then was holding steady until his hip literally wouldn’t rotate at all. Age is certainly a factor, but plenty of players have produced in MLB at his age or older.

            There are two possibilities: he returns or he doesn’t. Cashman is a smart man, he realizes that. He said nothing that I am aware of regarding the probability of either.

          • Get Phelps Up says:

            Cashman says he MAY not return, but that’s the case for any player coming off a major injury.

  15. XSoldier54 says:

    Not disappointed at all. I don’t agree that the Yankees won’t be at least as good this year as they were last. They went through long stretches last season when they struggled to score runs. They won’t hit as many home runs this year, but I would be willing to wager that their run totals this year will be very close to last year. Ichiro was resurgent when he joined the Yankees and if Gardner can stay healthy, they should be able to manufacture runs much better this year without waiting for HR’s. With guys like Hafner and Youklis in the lineup, they will still be very deep and potent. The pitching staff looks at least as good as it did last year and possibly better with Phelps having a full year of experience under his belt and Pineda coming back mid-season. I for one am looking forward to watching a more exciting team and not that boring watching paint dry bunch we had last year.

  16. FachoinaNYY says:

    I am in the same place as I have been the last 3-4 spring training – if things go well the Yankees should be fine. I love the small moves Cash made. I really think Hafner is a nice signing and I am very excited about Diaz. I know he has had a couple down years, but maybe on a team where he has to be the 8/9th best hitter he will excel. I really am excited for this year, lets go Yanks!

  17. s says:

    I don’t consider Russell Martin a key loss. I predict that we will replace his production this year, and some.

  18. Stevis says:

    I like others have been blindsided by Pitchers and catchers reporting today…..usually very excited,but not even a little about this year.
    But Hey its the start of the StewCervelli error ..woops era!!!

  19. Jim Cavanaugh says:

    No question, an underwhelming off season to say the least. I agree with the article, i was glad the pitching situation was handled cause pitching is the most important part of the team. Bringing back Andy was huge, as was getting Kuroda to return. Without those guys the staff would have been an absolute train wreck. Of course everyone knew Mo wasn’t going to retire after tumbling akwardly in the Kansas City Outfield. But the offensive “overhaul” (insert facepalm image) was really a disappointment. Yes, Ichiro’s signing clearly felt like a PR move rather than a talent addition and Youk at $12 million feels like a MASSIVE reach. For a team that kept drilling the 189 million in our head, monetarily that was an awful deal. Especially when you consider Catcher was our greatest need, and AJ Pierzynski signed with Texas for one year at 7 million, i might have scratched my head over the Youk signing so much i had to double my Rogaine foam usage.

    In the end, a passive Yankees off season may not be the worst thing. While the final years of Mariano & Andy’s career might be spent fighting for a wild card only to get swept in the 1st round, perhaps from a personal standpoint maybe this will be the spring/summer i get to the beach more often, spend more nights at BBQ’s and do more outdoors activities instead of always trying to catch the game on tv or spending those outdoors hours glued to the radio. I still plan to get to the ballpark here & there but not like i used to so maybe ill save some cash as well. Sadly, the ultimate reality is while i may skip alot of games on tv, i know ill have alot of tired days at work from watching “Yankees Encore” on YES cause the straight truth is there isn’t a damn thing on tv worth watching !

  20. nsalem says:

    I think the Yankees resigned Ichiro due to his performance on the field. It is not uncommon to see great players make rebound that bring them back close to their career numbers after a bad year or two. We witnessed this with Jeter since July of 2011. The Yankees whether right or wrong resigned Ichiro because of they believe he will be the player he was at the end of 2012 rather than the 18 previous months. I feel that statements such as Ichiro’s greatest contribution to the Yankee’s was a chat with Granderson are preposterous. There is a legitimate argument to be made that without his September there would have been no division title and we would have been subjected to a one game play in. He also had a decent playoff series especially in comparison to the rest of the team. He hit the HR in Game 1 of the CS to inch us closer to the Tigers. His slide in Game 2 of the DS was remarkable. There a very few people who have ever played that game that could have turned that into a run. Unfortunately there are no stats for plays like that (It does count though). The point that Ichiro’s good not great 2 mponths as a yankee are lame and weak. You can subtract two weeks of anybody’s season and make them look a lot better or worse depending on the two weeks you decide on.

    • LK says:

      Well yeah, but you can also look at Ichiro’s entire season and make it look not very good.

      • nsalem says:

        His 2012 with the Mariners were terrible and he seemed washed-up.. The point I’m trying to make is that the Yankees resigned him because they believe he will be more like the player he was with the Yankees as opposed to what he was with Seattle for the 18 months previous. I don’t think they would sign someone who they thought was finished based on a marketing opportunity as has been insinuated.

        • LK says:

          I think you may be right that they signed him thinking that. I’m saying I’ve see no one give me any real evidence why that position is reasonable. You say that you can make anyone look bad by excluding parts of the season – I’m saying that’s the ONLY way you can make Ichiro look *good*.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Maybe the bulk of Ichiro marketing money has been made. Maybe people will buy Ichiro stuff all over again because it’s YANKEES Ichiro stuff.

          Of course, according to the bunker survivalists, there will be no one at the stadium my August…

          I think that, regardless of what most recent performance may indicate, the Yankees value their veteran presents, and I mean that in the non-joking way. That’s why you’ll see an Ichiro out there before you see a cheaper fringy guy with some upside.

          I don’t have a huge issue with the signing or the two years. Worst case scenario, we’ll sit Slade next to him next year while he plays 4th or 5th outfielder.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Agreed. Marketing could play a role, but it’s unlikely they expect him to totally stink. Winning has great marketing value.

    • Mike HC says:

      Agreed. I definitely think the primary reason they re signed Ichiro was for his on field production. I also think they preferred to sign him to a one year deal, but after waiting so long and seeing so many other options drop off the table, they couldn’t afford to lose Ichiro and splurged for the extra year.

      Worst case scenario they see him as a strong defender, baserunner, leader and ambassador with a weak bat. Best case is a career resurgence in line with his last month of last season.

  21. nsalem says:

    I think the Yankees resigned Ichiro due to his performance on the field. It is not uncommon to see great players make rebound that bring them back close to their career numbers after a bad year or two. We witnessed this with Jeter since July of 2011. The Yankees whether right or wrong resigned Ichiro because of they believe he will be the player he was at the end of 2012 rather than the 18 previous months. I feel that statements such as Ichiro’s greatest contribution to the Yankee’s was a chat with Granderson are preposterous. There is a legitimate argument to be made that without his September there would have been no division title and we would have been subjected to a one game play in. He also had a decent playoff series especially in comparison to the rest of the team. He hit the HR in Game 1 of the ALCS to inch us closer to the Tigers. His slide in Game 2 of the DS was remarkable. There a very few people who have ever played that game that could have turned that into a run. Unfortunately there are no stats for plays like that (It does count though). The point that Ichiro’s good not great 2 mponths as a yankee are lame and weak. You can subtract two weeks of anybody’s season and make them look a lot better or worse depending on the two weeks you decide on.

  22. trr says:

    Left unsaid is what we might do @ mid-season. At almost 57, I may be the oldest regular poster here, so I’ve seen my share of ups and downs. If the Yanks are in contention in July (as I’d expect)I think we can look for them to pull off a major trade. Otherwise, what was the point of re-signing Petite, Mo, Kuroda, and Ichiro? just to put asses in the seats?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      You “sound” much younger, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

    • Barry's Gift Basket says:

      I think that’d depend on how the team is performing, injuries and stuff.

      The last 2 years the yankees have been quiet at the trade deadline because they tought they didn’t need anything to make a run for the playoffs (and they were right).

      If they are contending at the top of the division but, say, Ichiro is sucking big time, sure they should go after a RF.

      If the team is going on full cylinders, and everybody is healty-ish, the FO is gonna stay put again.

  23. ClusterDuck says:

    Suzuki hit .322 for the Yankees in 240 PA’s. I don’t think they signed him because of “off-the-field-factors”.

  24. Yogiism says:

    Apologize if it’s already been mentioned by commenters or the writers of RAB, but Drew Stubbs seems like someone who would interest the Yanks at this point, no? With Cleveland wants to shore up their pitching, I wonder is Nova for Stubbs and someone else makes sense? That would put Phelps at #5 and the Yanks lose their depth, so not sure that makes the most sense, especially when I expect modest production out of Matt Diaz.

  25. The Real Greg says:

    Unfortunately it looks like the Indians are not looking to move anybody.

    They want Swisher to play 1st, Reynolds to DH and have an outfield of Stubbs, and have an outfield of Stubbs, Bourn, and Brantley

  26. Govin says:

    Hey did anyone see that mlib had Mason Williams as the top defensive center fielder, of all the top prospects ? I thought that was interesting. Can’t really predict anything beyond this season until we see how the farm turns out.

  27. JRod says:

    Found this piece about Cervelli on pinstripedbible: http://www.pinstripedbible.com.....o-cervelli

    Amazing pull quote:”Baseball America liked Cervelli so much that writer John Manuel said despite his seemingly-average 24% caught-stealing rate, he was the best defensive catcher in the system and projected Cervelli to start in the 2010 lineup a few years down the road. Cervelli held the title of “best defensive catcher” in the Yankees system all three years he was mentioned in Baseball America from 2007-09, even as highly-touted defensive specialist Austin Romine’s stock rose as well.”

    Cervelli is a lifetime .271 hitter in MLB. Presumably the Yankees demoted him last year in order to work on his defense (and because he had options left.) Apparently they saw enough to start 2013 with him as 1/2 of a platoon. He will turn 27 next month. It’s not at all unreasonable to think he can hit .280 and improve his defense to a marginally acceptable level. Evidently, the raw material is there. If it doesn’t work out, they can just go get another high defense/automatic out, like everyone is hankering for.

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