Turnabout’s fair play, isn’t it?
Yesterday I played devil’s advocate to Nick’s pessimistic point of view. Today I’ll do the same to Brendan’s rosy outlook.
Where is the Yankees reality? It’s not exactly somewhere in between. Truth is, we don’t know the Yankees reality just yet. It could be pretty bad. Could be awfully good. We’ll begin the process of finding out early next week.
For now, here are some of Brendan’s central points from this morning’s Pinch Hitter post, followed by my own comments.
The point is, winning the offseason means absolutely nothing.
In theory, this is perfectly true — the Marlins and Angels proved that last season — but let’s not forget that the last time the Yankees won a World Series was the year after they acquired CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher in a single offseason. Winning the offseason might not guarantee anything, but it’s not a bad place to start. And as Nick wrote yesterday, the Yankees have built much of their prestige on the idea of doing anything it takes. They didn’t do that this winter. To be clear, they didn’t do nothing — some of these signings might have been too familiar to be exciting, but the Yankees did sign Pettitte, Kuroda, Rivera, Ichiro, Youkilis and Hafner this offseason — it’s just that they made no moves to specifically help them in the future, when a new financial approach is going to make it harder to win either the offseason or the regular season. With a series of short-term fixes, they’ve intentionally created a sense of uncertainty.
I am from the camp that the Yankees became too reliant on the long ball these last few years.
I’m from the camp of, scoring runs is good. I once had a Yankees official ask me this question: One of your team’s hitters comes to the plate. You don’t know the score, the inning, the pitcher or the number of men on base. What do you want that hitter to do? Fact is, home runs score runs. That’s not to say there’s something wrong with guys who hit for average, get on base and steal a few bags, but it’s silly to demonize the homer. Would the Yankees be better with a more well-rounded offense full of guys who hit for power and average? Of course they would. The best hitters in the game are the ones who do both of those things. But not every player is perfectly well-rounded, so a front office picks and chooses its strengths. I don’t quite understand how it’s easier to string together a bunch of hits off a postseason ace than it is to take advantage of one of his few mistakes and hit it out of the park.
I am stoked because New York actually resembles a complete baseball team.
The Yankees still need to choose a starting catcher and make some decisions about the bench and the last spot or two in the bullpen. That means their roster is pretty complete for this time of year. They have speed and power in the lineup, which suggests a pretty complete and balanced approach. But how long will the Yankees remain such a complete baseball team? Yes, if all goes well and everyone stays healthy, the Yankees have all they need. But how often does all go well and everyone stay healthy? This team is a year older than last season, but it seems ill-equipped to handle last season’s injuries and setbacks. And it’s going to be amazing to watch this complete roster fall completely apart in November when at least four lineup regulars (five if Derek Jeter declines his option), three starting pitchers and four key relievers become free agents. The Yankees have put together a complete roster for this very moment. But the season isn’t played at this very moment, and the long-term future certainly isn’t played at this very moment either.
I don’t expect anyone in their right mind to pick the 2013 Yankees to win the World Series…
See what happens when a guy gets a guest spot on a blog? He becomes a member of that mean-spirited media in an instant. To quote from another section of Brendan’s post: “… the lack of a big splash has the media skeptical the Yanks can win enough in 2013 to even make the playoffs, let alone win the division.” Skepticism is good. And it’s not the same as pessimism.
I just know it is going to be an exciting ride, and a lot more fun to watch a different movie for a change.
The Yankees went to World Series four years ago and made the playoffs in 17 of the past 18 seasons. That previous movie was awfully good. It was one of the Godfathers. We’ll soon find out whether it was Godfather I, and we’re about to start Godfather II. Or if it was Godfather II, and we’re about to start Godfather III. The Yankees are certainly entering a new chapter, but the old one is pretty hard to beat.
Associated Press photos