If Rodriguez were the only under-contract player with performance issues this would be easy, even with $114 million left to be paid. He isn’t. Mark Teixeira just set career lows in games played and slugging average and just missed career lows in multiple other categories; he turns 334 in April and will make $23 million-plus a year for the next four years. Granderson set a career high for strikeouts in a full season with career lows for batting average and on-base percentage, and hit so poorly this postseason that Girardi benched him for Gardner, who had played about four seconds all season. Advanced metrics also point to career-worst defensive results, and Granderson turns 32 in March. Derek Jeter hiked his batting average and home runs to their highest point since his huge 2009 season, but he turns 39 in June, and the latest reports have him missing four to five months after ankle surgery, which could make him a question mark next spring.
Those concerns, combined with pending free agency for Swisher, Ichiro, Russell Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and only-hitter-Joe Girardi-seemed-to-trust Raul Ibanez,5 leave the Yankees with a long shopping list this offseason.6 The problem, once again, will be the Yankees’ budget.
...Therein lies the rub. The Yankees have a roster full of famous baseball players. They have a lot more money than any other team, which could allow them to make a bunch of upgrades. And ALCS horrors aside, they’re still the defending division champs. But they also have few sure things going for them. The risk built into so many Yankee players, combined with a lack of young upside on the roster and the usual array of able AL East rivals, could make for an uncertain, even dicey 2013. No matter what becomes of their biggest scapegoat.
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 09:34 AM | 67 comment(s)
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