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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Speculation about the future; appreciation for the present

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 04, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Around here, the Yankees future has been this winter’s most relentless topic of discussion. The team’s best player is in the final year of his contract. The core players of the past decade are fading toward retirement. The bulk of the bullpen is heading for free agency, and key young starters have had major surgery. All of that pending uncertainty comes at a time when the front office is trying to cut payroll to take advantage of changes in the collective bargaining agreement.

How are the Yankees going to make this work? It’s a fair question that no one can answer just yet. It’s also a question that has occasionally overshadowed the immediate task at hand.

The more immediate question is this: How much do these guys have left?

This morning, John wrote about appreciation. He wrote about appreciating the final days of franchise icons, and he wrote about appreciating a team that once again has a chance to win. That combination is the reason this team could be — if those icons really can win again — one of the most appreciated teams we’ve ever seen.

Questions about the future will linger, but here and now, imagine another strong year from Derek Jeter. Imagine Mariano Rivera being as good as ever, Andy Pettitte giving one last standout performance, and Kevin Youkilis bouncing back with, of all teams, the Yankees. Imagine Ichiro Suzuki creating a real pinstriped legacy. Even if it’s hard to imagine Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda each coming back next season, each could have a lasting impact in what might be their final year in the Bronx.

There’s a lot to celebrate about a young roster. There’s no doubt it would be fun to watch a team of 20-somethings go on a run like the Nationals experienced last year. But that’s not the roster the Yankees have, which is the reason we’ve spent so much time talking about future. Uncertainty is uncomfortable, and it’s worth discussing.

But wouldn’t there be something truly enjoyable about watching this group of veterans – this batch of familiar faces – make another stand and make another run at a World Series? Wouldn’t this team be easy to appreciate for what it is?

Associated Press photo

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54 Responses to “Speculation about the future; appreciation for the present”

  1. Stoneburner - The Return of Wax February 4th, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    “appreciation for the present”

    on the comment section here????

    it should be titled rage against ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future – and future future – - – -

    i will agree that “relentless” is a good word to describe the assault on the Yankees this winter by the comment section – - – -

    This is Stoneburner with the wax poetic minute – - – -

  2. austinmac February 4th, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Good point about pulling for the old brigade one more time. It has been awhile since we got to pull for an underdog. Good health could make it interesting.

  3. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    tomingeorgia February 4th, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Fans hate Youk because of how many times he dismembered us. I think he will be fine doing it for us. Looking forward to opening day.
    —————————-

    Agreed – we got over Damon, Clemens and Boggs – we’ll get over Youk too.

  4. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Mac -

    I think that playing for a contender could bring vintage performances from Pronk, Youk and Ichiro

  5. Nilsson February 4th, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    I think there’s a decent chance Montgomery plays a role in the Bronx this season. There’s a smaller chance — but not improbable chance — that Heathcott can be fast tracked to the majors sometime this year if he lives up to his billing and should the need arise at the bigs. That’s two potential impact young players who could contribute. Plus, you’ve got a wildcard in Pineda returning from surgery and rehab in the second half.

    I repeat this every year, but I’ll say it again:

    It’s a long, marathon season.

  6. austinmac February 4th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Chip,

    If their health permits it, I do think this group would play well together. It’s all about the ankles, backs etc.

  7. austinmac February 4th, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Since I evidently have little to do, I just made a list of about 50 of the prospects to follow. Further proof it is time for spring training to start. :)

  8. J. Alfred Prufrock February 4th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    ESPN has run a story about the Yanks keeping Alex “in seclusion,” with quotes from Cashman.

    SI is quoting Rivera saying the players will stand by Alex.

    I tried to link these, but for some reason, they’re awaiting moderation. It could be that I pasted the link in, and then the stories also automatically provide the link, so they’re viewed by the filter as being two links in one post.

  9. Nick in SF February 4th, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    “Awaiting moderation” is LoHudspeak for “don’t hold your breath.”

    Trying posting without the link.

  10. pkyankfan69 February 4th, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Arod’s house is for sale:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....de=1372483

    Anyone got an extra $38M laying around?

    It’s a bit modern for my taste but I think I could live with it.

  11. J. Alfred Prufrock February 4th, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    I did, and it said “Looks like you’ve already said that!”

    Not meant to be. All you have to do is google Alex Rodriguez seclusion or something like that and it’ll pop up, like magic.

    Good night, sweet ladies.

  12. J. Alfred Prufrock February 4th, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Not me. The place is too aloof.

    Good one, folks.

  13. G. Love February 4th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Yankees are sending Arod to train with Pei Mei. If he doesn’t talk back and throw any American sass at the master, he may learn the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique if we’re lucky.

  14. Rich in NJ February 4th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Agreed – we got over Damon, Clemens and Boggs – we’ll get over Youk too.
    _

    If Youkilis was in his prime, five years ago, I would love it. Or if the current version was signed to a cheap contract, that would be fine.

    This version at this price? Not so much.

  15. J. Alfred Prufrock February 4th, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    http://www.google.com/imgres?i.....8;dur=3554

    This I could get used to :)

    Going to find it on the astral plane.

  16. J. Alfred Prufrock February 4th, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Sure, Rich, I’ll take 2007 Youk.

  17. Nick in SF February 4th, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Play nicer with LoHud and LoHud will play nicer with you.

  18. Rich in NJ February 4th, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I would like to be/have been a fly on the wall during any discussion about A-Rod between Rivera and Jeter…

  19. G. Love February 4th, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    At this point what Youk makes is immaterial as he’s here for a year. He’s not blocking anyone of note at the moment.

    All I want for him is to play hard and care. Same with Hafner.

    mick had posted earlier how he thinks guys like Ichiro, Hafner and Youk are tougher minded than some of the softer guys we’ve had here who crumble in the post season.

    I’m wondering if he may have been onto something and maybe part of the plan for this off season was to try to bring in a little more toughness and accountability.

    While I’m concerned about the projection of this being an 87-89 win team, I just want to see a group of guys who aren’t spouting back of the baseball card nonsense and look & act a little torn up when they lose a close one.

    This whole, “The numbers will magically be there at the end of the season” when it comes to personal and team goals has sucked a lot of life out of me as a fan.

    Some more fire and passion and less cruise control would be nice this year.

  20. Rich in NJ February 4th, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    “At this point what Youk makes is immaterial as he’s here for a year”

    I disagree, G. Love, because that’s money that can’t be spent elsewhere. IOW, if, for example, Youkilis got $5m, that’s $7m that could have been spent (or added to) what they could spend on a catcher, or an OF, or whatevr.

  21. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Repost (more or less)

    I like the Lowrie trade for both teams. I would love to talk to Billy Beane about some of his outfield surplus.

  22. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Rich in NJ February 4th, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    “At this point what Youk makes is immaterial as he’s here for a year”

    I disagree, G. Love, because that’s money that can’t be spent elsewhere. IOW, if, for example, Youkilis got $5m, that’s $7m that could have been spent (or added to) what they could spend on a catcher, or an OF, or whatevr.
    ———————-

    Yeah but if you pay Youk $5m then you would have had to give him 2 years. Besides, they still got the OF they wanted and there weren’t any catchers worth spending $7m on.

  23. G. Love February 4th, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Rich,

    I just meant the Yankees already spent it and it’s not long term dollars so I don’t think it’s going to hurt the franchise down the road like Tex & Arod’s deals do.

    And I’m still not sure that 12 million this year they spent on Youk would’ve gone to other players per se. I think, and this is just a guess, that they look at that money as buying a personality/star in the respect that he’s a name people know well. They’d spend that money on him, but not spread it around on others because they felt they needed another name to put above the title so to speak.

    It’s why I was so perplexed why they didn’t give Keppinger what he wanted and created a platoon with a resigned Chavez at 3b. I think the front office thinks it could sell Youk better to the fanbase than a no-name platoon.

  24. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Rich in NJ February 4th, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I would like to be/have been a fly on the wall during any discussion about A-Rod between Rivera and Jeter…
    ————–

    My guess is that they’re more tired of his crap than fans are.

  25. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    G. Love February 4th, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    It’s why I was so perplexed why they didn’t give Keppinger what he wanted and created a platoon with a resigned Chavez at 3b. I think the front office thinks it could sell Youk better to the fanbase than a no-name platoon.
    ————————-

    Chavez wanted to go to Arizona because that’s where he lives year round – Yankees can’t do anything about geography.

    I like Keppinger a lot and was hoping for him but:

    1. Coming off a good season as a regular I don’t think he would have signed on to be part of a platoon (especially since Alex’s hip issues weren’t publicly known before he signed, he probably looked at it as a super utility role rather than the everyday role he got with Chicago)

    2. I don’t know that I would give a guy with 1 good season as a regular to his resume a 3 year deal.

  26. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    If all of this stuff with Alex (the hip and steroids) had come out earlier in the winter I think they would have looked at a longer term option at 3b. Whether that was Keppinger or Stephen Drew or someone else.

  27. G. Love February 4th, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Chip,

    Keppinger’s been a solid role player in the league for awhile. The Yankees have been trying to acquire him for a few years. His yearly cost was pocket change and he had tremendous value to a team that could lose Cano next year and had Arod and Jeter penciled in at 3b & SS with injury questions. He would’ve gotten 500 at bats here if Arod were healthy I imagine.

    And we don’t know if the Yankees were agressive with Chavez if he would’ve returned. He certainly liked wearing the pinstripes and hitting in the Bronx.

    When those players came off the board Cashman was spouting his “I can only handle one need at a time” nonsense.

  28. Rich in NJ February 4th, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    “Yeah but if you pay Youk $5m then you would have had to give him 2 years. Besides, they still got the OF they wanted and there weren’t any catchers worth spending $7m on.”

    Chip, If he says, not to $5m, I would be fine with David Adams or Nunez or whatever.
    _

    “I think the front office thinks it could sell Youk better to the fanbase than a no-name platoon.”

    G. Love, I hear you, I think that’s exactly that. It’s time for them to get creative or try some kids. Their present way of doing things is kind of lazy.

  29. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    G.

    I agree with you about Cashman’s inability to multitask. And you’re right, we don’t know whether Chavez would have stayed if the Yankees had been aggressive in going after him, but in their defense – I was kind of shocked to see a bench player like him come off the board so quickly in the offseason.

    As for Keppinger; if the extent of the Alex situation was more known and the Yankees could have guaranteed him an every day role, I think that would have made a difference, but, for Keppinger, he was looking at the choice of an every day spot with Chicago as their starting 3b or a super utility role with the Yankees. He made the choice that I think most players would; for stability.

  30. Chip February 4th, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Rich in NJ February 4th, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    “Yeah but if you pay Youk $5m then you would have had to give him 2 years. Besides, they still got the OF they wanted and there weren’t any catchers worth spending $7m on.”

    Chip, If he says, not to $5m, I would be fine with David Adams or Nunez or whatever.
    _

    “I think the front office thinks it could sell Youk better to the fanbase than a no-name platoon.”

    G. Love, I hear you, I think that’s exactly that. It’s time for them to get creative or try some kids. Their present way of doing things is kind of lazy.
    ————————–

    You’re hitting on a big problem within the Yankee organization – they don’t think they can sell fans on prospects. It was the philosophy under George and Levine (especially) is still selling it.

    I think if it was up to Cashman – Nunez (assuming he could field) or Adams would have been fine; but there are those in the front office who don’t think you can sell unknown rookies to the fans.

  31. G. Love February 5th, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Chip,

    I agree with you that they didn’t have the complete Arod picture once free agency began. With this PED nonsense, it’s only worse as a suspension looks like it’s looming.

    I just read that Verducci article on SI about what he knows has been allegedly discovered and if any of that stuff can be backed up and verified by MLB I think suspensions are coming soon for all the guys we know about so far.

  32. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Right now what the Yankees are is an organization that wants to develop prospects, they just don’t want to play them.

  33. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:02 am

    G.

    The suspension is likely moot as Alex would serve it while on the DL. But then again, I’m of the belief that he’s done with the Yankees. They’re not going to have him rehab at the Tampa complex because they don’t want the press swarming any more than they normally do.

  34. G. Love February 5th, 2013 at 12:03 am

    The Youk signing definitely felt like to me that the Yankees felt their TV show just lost David Caruso, so let’s go get Ted Danson.

    That said, left to his own devices, I don’t think Cashman would ever give Nunez or a rookie 3b full time though.

  35. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Chip

    Cashman may have some good ideas that he doesn’t have the permission execute (that used to be my primary defense of him), but he also keeps cashing their checks and running up their payroll with some bad decisions, so it is what it is.

    This “selling” mindset, however, is what sent the Knicks into a 10 year decline after the Ewing years. The Yankees’ potential decline could be far shorter if it comes to pass, but it was completely unnecessary, and I think the failures in mL development are a large reason why they are faced with a lot of the bad choices they face.

  36. G. Love February 5th, 2013 at 12:04 am

    In a roundabout way I actually think the suspension could help the Yankees if the Blue Jays and Rangers lose Melky & Nelson Cruz for significant time.

  37. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:07 am

    G -

    In an ideal (but realistic) situation – I think what Cashman would like is to open the season with Youk at 3b and Cervelli/Stewart behind the plate. Give Adams and Romine a couple of months at AAA – have them play well – and then bring both of them up sometime around Memorial Day.

    Actually, I think Romine has a shot to crack the opening day lineup and the stuff about him starting the year in AAA is more a situation where the Yankees don’t want him to come into camp thinking a job’s being handed to him.

  38. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Rich,

    But what Cashman has managed to do is put together a team that makes the playoffs year after year despite this lack of decision making authority.

    Personally I would like to see both him and Levine go and be replaced by people from outside the organization – but that’s not the likely scenario. Levine’s not going anywhere and the next GM will be even more handcuffed than Cashman and that’s not a good thing.

  39. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Just to give you an example about the “develop but don’t play rookies” thing. Jesus Montero. If the Yankees had any intention of actually keeping him they would have worked him at other positions because everyone in baseball knows that he’s not a long term catcher. They didn’t do that because his trade value was maximized the longer they kept him behind the plate.

  40. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:19 am

    This is nuts by the way:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c.....;eref=sihp

  41. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Chip

    How has done that though?

    First, largely by adding to a foundation of Jeter, Rivera, Posada, Pettitte, O’Neill, and Tino. That’s like your dad giving you a near-monopoly of a business to run and call your own.

    Then he added A-Rod, which was a great trade, but only possible because he has/had more money than everyone else.

    Then he made two really great signings: Mussina and CC, but again, that was only possible because he had more money than every one else.

    He also used that money really poorly with Pavano, Vazquez, Brown, Wright, and AJ, and traded for Weaver.

    You could add Tex as well because there were a huge opportunity cost: Holliday,

    The only impact player developed on his watch is Cano.

    He has had 7 years to plan for the decline of the core of the team he largely inherited.

    He’s the one who said in 2007 that he would never have to sign another team’s expensive free agent starter again.

    Yet here we are, in this unnecessary mess.

  42. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Sorry, add Bernie to the above.

  43. Cashmoney February 5th, 2013 at 12:25 am

    But wouldn’t there be something truly enjoyable about watching this group of veterans – this batch of familiar faces – make another stand and make another run at a World Series? Wouldn’t this team be easy to appreciate for what it is?
    ——-
    This somehow make me think of barbarians at the gate and Tex is nowhere to be found in defending the castle and our catapults are all outdated. Provincial Governor Girardi sent forth our aging champions in Jeter and CC but they were heceforth slaughtered by Barbarian Chieftain.

  44. Cashmoney February 5th, 2013 at 12:27 am

    I guess i was subliminally thinking this imaginary last stand would be as effective as the maginot line against the Germans.

  45. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Cashmoney

    Play along: You have to engage in the suspension of disbelief. Jeez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Rich -

    I’m not going to fault Cashman for using the tools he had at his disposal (George’s check book) to make the moves he thought were best.

    Where I fault Cashman is this: I think ever since Moneyball Cashman has been in a bad mood. It’s the notion of, “wait, I use the same evaluation process that Billy Beane does and my teams actually win. Why isn’t there a book about me?” and the whole theory that he’s not a good GM, that anyone could build a winner with George’s money – and if that’s something he wants to prove, then go work for the Royals and prove it.

    I agree with you – that for someone who says he wants to develop from the farm, he’s done a horrible job of it mostly because he made bad hires when it comes to his development personnel (Nardi); and though they did make some good international signings (El Duque, Soriano, Montero, Matsui, Cano) they got burned a couple of times (Igawa and Contreras) and then he got very gun shy about going there again – not even making offers to players like Chapman, Soler, Cespedes, Puig, or Darvish.

    I also don’t understand Brian’s seemingly constant need to tell the fans about how bad every deal he makes is, going out there with buyer’s remorse before the ink is dry on trade agreements or contracts.

  47. pat February 5th, 2013 at 12:39 am

    NYDNSportsITeam
    Cashman on Travis Hafner acquisition: “Big, hairy monster. He’s the profile we like: OBP with power from the left side.”

  48. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Oh, also for being so highly thought of, Damon Oppenheimer’s first round draft picks have been awful:

    CJ Henry
    Andrew Brackman
    Gerrit Cole (right pick but couldn’t get him to sign)
    Cito Culver (a huge reach at that spot)
    Dante Bichette and Ty Hensley are both too early to call

    Realistically, out of the last 10 years Slade Heathcott is the only 1st round pick the Yankees have made who looks like he might be an impact player in the majors.

  49. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:43 am

    pat February 5th, 2013 at 12:39 am

    NYDNSportsITeam
    Cashman on Travis Hafner acquisition: “Big, hairy monster. He’s the profile we like: OBP with power from the left side.”
    ————————

    If he’s healthy it is certainly an upgrade from Ibanez.

  50. Chip February 5th, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Random thought:

    I would like the Yankees to sign Jason Bartlett to a minor league deal.

  51. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Chip

    I didn’t fault anyone, I severely mitigated any credit, because that’s the reality I see.

    Cashman is the one who has complained about not getting credit for success because of the payroll, yet the success is largely because the players he inherited, and, of course, the payroll,

    He only wants to work for KC when his contract is about to expire, Then his buds in the media dutifully repeat “leaks” about it, and then Cashman signs for even more money and then complains about some such all over again.

  52. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Gotta go. GN

  53. Cashmoney February 5th, 2013 at 12:48 am

    interesting that beane traded half season of Chris Carter for Lowrie, if he stays healthy, Lowrie is one heck of super U guy who maybe Jeter’s replacement when he hit 15 FA.

  54. bardos February 5th, 2013 at 5:03 am

    The PED effect: How will better in season testing for HGH and Testosterone affect the 2013 season? We really have no idea who has been using up till now. Many former users will most likely quit because of the rigorous new testing program…

    Just like the the lack of greenies has taken its toll on offensive production and players’ “stamina”, are some players doomed to fall off the cliff this year?

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