“Why would you? How could I?
These questions lead to goodbye
But now I got my freedom
Maroon 5 – Losing My Mind
As I said in my last post HERE, the Hot Stove has begun for 2012 and I have a bunch of questions that need to be answered sometime before “pitchers and catchers report“ (perhaps the sweetest 4 word combination in the English language). What follows, in no particular order of importance (because they are ALL important,) is a list of questions for next year and a few thoughts of my own for possible answers.
#6 What to do with the aging left side of the infield?
Yes, I know, it is blasphemous to mention Jeter and ARod in the same sentence but the problem here is intertwined. Let’s face it, these guys are getting old and just because Mariano Rivera can still be doing it at 42 years of age does not mean they can or will and the time to plan for this is NOW. “Plan” here means SHORT TERM. We can worry about replacements later. First off, we have to keep them healthy which means Jeter DOES NOT play everyday. He needs breaks, both half days (DH) and full (bench cheerleader). And Joe, don’t let him convince you of anything else. ARod too, lots of rest days. Nunez (or as someone tweeted once, Nun-e-6) has the bat to be a capable fill in most of the time. But as a fielder, his best attribute may be his bat. It looks like Chavez will retire, so signing a player who can give one of the “ancients” a day or two off is essential.
#7 Do we need to brace ourselves for the decline of Teixeira?
Let’s face it, 3 years in Pinstripes, 3 year downward trend in BA and OBP. Sure he still got 30+ HR and 100+ RBI but his BA was in a JasonGiambiesque declining rapidly, slide, .248. Maybe I am being too harsh but when you combine this with the post season failures (28 games with NYY, 106 AB, 18 H, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .169 BA) and it makes one wonder how we will view his contract 10 years from now. My favorite line tweeted about him during this years playoffs was about a new nickname for him, Mr. Softee, the ice cream truck in NYC – scarce in April, all over the place during the summer and disappears in October. Yes, we have him for a while but he needs to step it up in the post season. Dave Winfield, Mr. May, says hello…
#8 Speaking of the postseason, what happens to Nick Swisher?
Our Swishalicious right fielder seems to do a reverse superman impression every year. You know, flying around the field from April to September and then going into a phone booth, putting on glasses and becoming the mild mannered (and underperforming) Clark Kent. Again the post season numbers speak volumes… 28 games, 100 AB, 16 H, 4 HR, 5RBI, .160 BA. Seems familiar doesn’t it? A mirror of Mr. Softee. Not what you want to see from a middle of the order guy+-. When ARod out hits you in the post season, you have got to be worried. I am sure, NY will pick up the option on his contract but there MUST NOT BE any extention or new contract until he proves he can hit in the playoffs. Could he be TOO hyper at that time of the year?
#9 Can Curtis Granderson do it again?
I have always like CG and was thrilled when the club traded for him. I was totally thrilled with his year this year but there is always some doubt about the future – can he do it again? I don’t think he has to have an MVP career year each year, just good solid, performance. If some of the other guys (ARod, Swish and Tiex raise your hands…) contribute just a bit more in the post season, the club is playing Texas right now for the AL Championship. Curtis did his job.
#10 Who will catch most of the pitches next year?
It may be easier to figure out who it won’t be, and that’s Posada or Montero or Cervelli, or even Romine. What else do we know, well the Yankees have to retain Russell Martin. My B-I-L, Manhattan Man, speculated HERE (check out the comments section…) that he might be the MVP of the team and he probably was close, only surpassed by Granderson’s great year and Martins lower batting average. But then again, this was the first time in a long time that they had a good fielder at the backstop, instead of just a good hitter. I actually think Martin will improve next year, as he gets to know the league’s pitchers better and is more comfortable here. It doesn’t hurt that this will be a big contract year for him as after next year he will be eligible to be a free agent.
So folks, this is what we got. If the Yankees can successfully negotiate these ten questions, I feel optimistic about next season. If the questions linger into the start of the season, or worse yet, are not addressed at all, then the Red Sox may not be the only team in full rebuilding mode. That would suck too, having the Sox be in a terrible downward spiral and not being able to enjoy it much because of our own issues. I trust Cashman. I trust Cashman. I trust Cashman…..