So while my personal 2011 season was lost, it wasn’t without a great sense of enjoyment about what the team was doing on the field. Derek Jeter had us all wondering if the end was here, and then, suddenly, Derek Jeter returned. Jorge Posada was done all year, except once October rolled around. No one is happier for his successful post-season than I. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano turned in MVP-caliber seasons and I’m thrilled that they represent the leadership of this team. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez turned in very bi-polar seasons. Teix put up power numbers but frustrated many, especially me, despite his great defense. ARod was hurt a lot and one can only wonder about his ability to remain productive as he enters the dangerous portion of that contract. Brett Gardner is a stud and I can’t help but feel that Joe Girardi still views him as a “role player” rather than the player he really is, but that’s a post for another day. Nick Swisher, who I love but can’t figure out, well, I can’t figure out. Russell Martin was a great signing and while his bat largely disappeared, his defense didn’t.
Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia surprised us all. CC Sabathia did what CC does; win games and save the bullpen. His October failings, however, have me wondering if he just wears down from the workloads. His opt-out looms and while it’s easy to say “sign him!”, I’m not so sure we do another seven year deal with him. I’ve got something in the works about the opt-out but if you want to check my thoughts at the time CC signed, check the archives in November/ December 2008. Phil Hughes… oh Phil, what are you? AJ Burnett, ditto. Ivan Nova was a pleasant surprise and while I think many of us expect some regression in 2012, he’s proven himself more than capable of pitching for this team. Rafael Soriano, a mistake from the get-go. I only pray that he hated his time here and opts out. He won’t, but I wouldn’t be upset. Why? Because we have David Robertson, who has emerged as a great weapon, the bridge to Mo that we thought we had with Joba Chamberlain (remember him? Me either). Speaking of Mariano Rivera, yet another thank you for being everything we need you to be. There are few things that make me smile more than hearing a cracked bat grounder off a Rivera cutter.
Joe Girardi makes me a bit crazy, not as much as he does to Brien, but certainly close. Firing the manager is a brash reaction. Let’s remember that he did coax this team into the best record in the American League. A team with Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon playing significant roles. That’s damn impressive, no matter what you think of Girardi. We all know he over-manages, he falls in love with the bunt, he’s overly loyal to the older guys when some of the kids could be better (like having Jesus Montero not PH for Russell Martin late in the game last night).
Lastly, Brian Cashman. He couldn’t hook the big fish last off-season and I, for one, can’t skewer him for that. Cliff Lee wanted to pitch in Philly and while it hurt, that’s the breaks. Players own the right to make the decisions that are best for them personally, not to necessarily take the highest offer. Doesn’t always work that way but I admire Lee for that decision. Cashman turned $5 bets into $100 winners with Colon, Martin, Garcia. He was unable to add another pitcher at the deadline (damn you, Fister) This off-season, Cashman is a free agent and there will be more than a few opportunities for him to choose from. I still think, at the end of the day, he loves being at the helm of the Yankees, for all the good and all of the bad that comes along with it. I hope he returns because there’s a lot to do. Free agents await, including the Sabathia opt-out-a-palooza.
Now, a bit about the site here.
I can’t begin to thank Brien enough for stepping up and stepping into my void. Doing what needs to be done, all day, is a hard job and he does it with the enthusiasm that is so dearly required. I don’t always agree with him and neither do you, but that’s the point of a site like this: to engage in the debate of a shared love. You come here for discussion, debate, analysis, comraderie and in my absence, Brien has kept the parade on route. Thank you, Brien.
Larry, you’re an incredible resource. People notice your absense because your presence is so amazing. You write the hard stuff, the long-form essays that most of us struggle with. Aside from what people see here, Larry has been a trusted confidant behind the scenes and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Tamar has been a rock all season, tirelessly doing the daily game recaps and dutifully covering the minor leagues. I hope everyone has enjoyed her contributions as much as I have.
Chip, Bexy, Mark, Will, Anna, Hippeaux… your contributions have all been wonderful. Each of you brings unique skills and flavor to the brew here and it’s been an honor to have each of you contribute. I hope all of you will have the desire to continue with IIATMS throughout the off-season and 2012 (and beyond). Thank you for choosing to hang here with us.
Finally, thank you to everyone who comes and hang out with us. That’s the fun of a site like this. We do this because we love the game and we’re thankful for your readership and contributions.
The season is over. The off-season is here. We will continue to be here every day, discussing all things Yankees, and then some. Join us, won’tchya?