By: Joe “Cright” Cardoso
Baseball is back, and my team, the team America loves to hate, is at a crossroads. Bandwagon Yankees fans are leaping off at alarming rate. After missing the post season, even with 84 wins, for the 2nd time in a row, this off season has been very UN-Yankee – like.
Gone are the days when George would point at a player and the club would grab him next day. With the rise of other teams in the AL and NL the yanks are not the best looking girl at the dance anymore. ESPN analyst, Curt Schilling, hit the nail on the head when he said this team can win 60 games or 90 games. Why, you ask? Well, a lot of this has to do with HORRIBLE signing’s over the last few years. The Yankees have NOT been able to get in front of the free agent curveball. I know you’re tempted to cover your eyes but let’s look at few of them shall we?
- Mark Teixeria – 8yrs at $180 million – cannot stay healthy and has NOT been the stud Yankee nation thought he would be.
- AJ Burnett – 5yrs at $82 million – 34-35 4.79 ERA… had a strong season with Pittsburgh just was not what they saw in the pretty store window.
- A-Rod – 10yrs at $252million – the most hated man in baseball, cheater, and has so many moments where he didn’t’t show up at the plate.
- Kei Igawa – 5yrs at $46million – 2-4 6.66 ERA and an amazing 16 starts.
Then there’s the list of ‘saviors’ or ‘key players’ that have gone elsewhere. One example is Cuban Phenom , 19-year-old Yoan Moncada, who defected to the hated Boston Red Sox. One can only hope with the recent comments by the President regarding Cuba that other young talented Cubans get into the MLB and the Yankee tradition and $$ can snag a few.
These new Yankees are dependent on HEALTH; their ability to stay healthy. If they can stay healthy and have some of the older lineup produce, this team can be dangerous in a week. AL East. Jacob Ellsbury, Chase Headley, Carlos Beltran all need to have bounce back years and stay on the field. I am not sold on A Rod coming back as a key member of the squad. He is old and missing a year should not help in the aging process…
The rotation is the most fragile I have ever seen in all my years of watching baseball. Masahiro Tanaka and those torn ligaments must bring it every start. The Yankees should pray they don’t pop like Matt Harvey who was NEVER the same afterwards. Michael Pineda must fulfill all the promise he has and be a great number three starter. As for CC Sabathia, is anything left in the tank at all? Then there’s 36-year-old Chris Capuano is the fourth starter.
The good thing is the rest of the AL East has questions to answer as well. Most teams have much more depth than the Yankees do, and that is the key during a 162 game season. A great change from the teams and origination of old is that the farm system is loaded with talent but its YOUNG talent. Not all of them are ready for the bright lights and pressure of the Bronx. IF the vets can keep it tight and catch a couple of breaks along the way, I expect some of the kids to come up to the big leagues and make an impact. Is this a World Series squad? Not even, but the chance to make the playoffs is a real one IF they can stay healthy. The leadership of Derrick Jeter and the clown show which is A Rod will be much talked about topics all year long, but Joe Girardi has proven to be an outstanding manager, and he will figure it out. True Yankee fans just need to relax trust the process. And to the haters of the “Evil Empire,” enjoy this while you can. The Yankees may not have a lot of solid answers right now, but they have a whole lot of IF’s.