Are the Yankees Headed for a Big Fall? – From the Bird’s Nest
Unless you really hate the Yankees, this was painful to watch.
I guess it's an amazing thing that they managed to get to the ALCS to begin with, especially when you look at the numbers.
In nine postseason games, the Yankees put up exactly two crooked numbers. They scored five runs in the ninth inning against Baltimore in game one of the ALDS, and four runs in the ninth inning against the Tigers in game one of the ALCS.
That's it, guys.
In the ALCS, the Yankees scored in exactly three innings.
You have to go back to the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers to find anything so anemic in the post-season.
So, where to now, New York?
If you look at the long and storied history of the Yankees, there are two fairly recent eras that are worth mentioning.
The Yankees were in the World Series every year from 1960-64. But, by 1964 the team was getting old. Mickey Mantle wasn't old chronologically, but his body was. Roger Maris was hurt constantly. Whitey was done. So was Yogi. So, pretty much, was Ellie...and Richardson...and Kubek...and Hector Lopez.
And, the Yankees fell....hard.
Then came the years of Reuben Amaro and Horace Clarke and Charley Smith. It was the time when Roy White was their best player and the pitching was pretty much nondescript except for Mel Stottlemyre. Surely you remember when Fred Talbot was in the Yankees rotation, right? Yeah, I know you're trying to forget. By the early seventies, the Yankees were better known for two pitchers swapping wives than anything they were doing on the field. The Yankees wouldn't make the playoffs until the mid 70's and wouldn't win a World Series until 1977.
Then, after losing the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981, the Yankees had another dry spell. In fact, they didn't make the World Series for another 15 years, the longest drought in their history. They made free agent choices that didn't work out. Dave Winfield became Mr. May. Donnie Baseball was hurt a lot. By 1990, the Yankees were last in the East.
And now, look at this Yankee Roster.
Derek Jeter is 38 and faces months of rehab after surgery to repair his broken ankle. Alex Rodrigues is 37 and trying to pick up flight attendants during games. Hiroki Kuroda is 37, Derek Lowe is 39. Andy Pettitte is 40. So is Raul Ibanez. Ichiro is 38. He, along with Ibanez and Nick Swisher, are free agents. Mo Rivera may try to come back next year....at 43.
This is an old baseball team. And, unfortunately for the Yankees, none of their young players on the roster this year are good enough, with exception of Robinson Cano and Mark Texieira. C. C. Sabathia is their only sure bet on the mound.
The Yankees could always pump millions of dollars into the free agent market, but Hal Steinbrenner has already said he wants to cut payroll next season.
If the Yankees are smart, they blow it up and start over again. Eat A-Rod's salary and trade him if you can. Let Lowe, Pettitte, Ibanez and Ichiro try their luck elsewhere. Give Jeter a hug and tell him, unless he wants to try to DH, to go home and wait for the Hall of Fame to call. Mariano Rivera can sit with him.
Either way, there are some tough times coming for the Yankees.
Which will give all of us who aren't fond of the pinstripes a respite.