Something big is happening in New York. It’s not what you’d expect, and personally I’m terrified. New York used to be the example of greatness. We used to be the place that all others tried to model themselves after, but now we are the example of mediocrity. Don’t believe me? Okay, I’ll prove it. The Islanders are one of the worst hockey teams in the world, the Jets are well the Jets (enough said), the Knicks are having a nice year, but they’re not winning any titles, and the Yankees are not the Yankees of the ’90’s anymore. As sad as this is to say (I love the Yankees), the Yankees are not that good. When Johnny Damon is the answer to your prayers, you know you’re in trouble. For those of you who don’t know, Curtis Granderson broke his arm yesterday, causing mass hysteria here in New York. Some of the media outlets here are suggesting that the Yankees sign free agent Johnny Damon to help fill the void. A thought like that makes me wonder what really goes through peoples minds. Do people enjoy living in the past? Do they really think that veteran’s will bring intangibles to the team that the youngsters can’t? Who in their right mind would think that the Yankees resigning Johnny Damon would be a good idea? Everyone wants to talk about how old the Knicks are, but those same people obviously haven’t taken the time to look at the Yankees roster. Let me run down the list of some of their ancient artifacts. The Yankees have a 37 year old A-Rod who is probably not going to play this year or ever again, a 38 year old Derek Jeter who is recovering from a broken ankle, a 38 year old Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, a 39 year old Ichiro, a 40 year old Andy Pettite, and a 43 year old Mariano Rivera coming off major surgery. Mark Teixeira (32) and Kevin Youkilis (33) are no spring chickens either. With all the talk surrounding Robinson Cano’s contract negotiations (which are a year away), and Granderson going down, the Yankees season is already in disarray and it hasn’t even started. Man, I’m really glad Steinbrenner made all of those off-season acquisitions this year. Oh, yeah that’s right, they didn’t make any moves whatsoever. Good idea Hal. Quick side note: I’ve always said that the death of George Steinbrenner was the worst thing to ever happen to this franchise. Clearly not everything runs in the family, because his kids have no clue how to run the most successful sports franchise in the world. Anyway, with an aging roster and below average pitching staff, you’d think that the Yankees would have made a flurry of big moves to bring in some young talent during the off-season. Instead, they let Russell Martin walk leaving the Yankees with literally no catcher. They let Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez walk as well. They also decided not to negotiate with Rafael Soriano due to the devil’s (I mean Scott Boras’) demands. Hey Hal, do you know why the Yankees won 4 World Series in 5 years in the late 90’s and early 2000’s? I didn’t think so. It’s because you had a transition from a great closer (John Wetteland) to another GREAT closer (Mariano Rivera). As much as I love Big Mo this is clearly going to be his last season, and great closers don’t exactly grow on trees. But hey, I guess little Steinbrenner wants us to be excited about the signing of Travis Hafner. Newsflash, the long ball doesn’t win Championships by itself (Exhibit A: last season)!! Without any substantial additions to the Yankees roster as it is presently constructed, they will finish in 3rd place in the American League East and MISS the playoffs. They need a pleasant surprise from someone already on the roster, a big trade, or they need find some talent from their Farm system to compete this year. Otherwise, I think they are in big trouble. Nobody loves the Yankees more than me, I am just calling it like I see it.
As for the Granderson situation, I have a solution that they should have been trying for about two years now. Move Eduardo Nunez to the outfield. Nunez has blazing speed but has not proven to be a consistent enough fielder at shortstop. He makes far too many errors from one of the most important positions on the field. If you keep Brett Gardner and Nunez in the order at the same time you will put speed on the base paths and be able to play small ball (a recipe for success that I’ve been begging for for years now). And hey, if it doesn’t work you can always slide Nunez right back into his utility role. It’s not like he’s ever had a set position and you would somehow be disrupting his rhythm by moving him to the outfield.
With Spring Training upon us, we are entering the best time of the year. March Madness is on it’s way as is beautiful Spring weather. Undoubtedly, the best part of the year is the start of Baseball season. Stay tuned for my full preview of the Major League Baseball season including division winners, playoff and world series predictions, and player projections.