The 2012 IIATMS Roundtable: Part II

Brien: A-Rod seems like a logical choice here, but he probably is what he is at this point, and what he is is 36 years old. I’d like to hope otherwise, but I don’t know that playing more than ~120 games is a realistic expectation for Alex at this point. Mark Teixeira, on the other hand, is still four years younger than A-Rod and has played less than 145 games in a season just once in his career, so hoping from a big rebound from his disappointing .248/.341/.491 performance in 2011 seems a bit more promising. If Tex can work out his issues against right-handed pitching and get back to the .292/.383/.565 hitter he was in his first year with the Yankees, the Bombers’ lineup will get a lot deeper and look a lot more formidable, especially since Teixeira figures to bat cleanup if/when A-Rod is unavailable.

Tamar: David Robertson.  I started off thinking it had to be A-Rod because I do believe his ability to be healthy and make most of the starts at third is crucial to the Yankees success (I really don’t care for any of the Yankees’ current backup options for more than the occasional game).  In the end, however, I think it may come down to David Robertson’s ability to put together another solid season like he did in 2011.  There are two reasons I think Robertson is going to play a critical role on this year’s team.  First, the newest injury to Joba makes it hard to know when/if he will return to the mound, nevermind whether he will be effective.  Add the rumors surrounding Mariano Rivera‘s impending retirement and there are going to be a lot of eyes on Robertson (and Rafael Soriano for that matter).  If Robertson can pitch like he did last year and the starting rotation can live up to our expectations, we may be in for an exciting season.

William Tasker: There seems to be a lot of “X-Factors” on this team. But for me, one that stands out is Rafael Soriano. Now a year removed from the “panic” signing made over the head of Brian Cashman and the vitriol that followed when he failed on an early outing against the Red Sox made Soriano a marked man for the rest of the season. It didn’t help when he was injured and missed a stretch of the regular season.

Hippeaux: A-Rod. I fear that we’ve gotten to the point that we trust the Yankee lineup to be “among the best in baseball” out of sheer habit. The only player who I fully expect to equal or surpass last season’s production is Robinson Cano. I can’t ignore Teixiera’s slow and steady decline, nor the fact that Gardner’s ceiling may be lower than many of us anticipated, nor the sheer lack of youth. I still love Granderson, but 2011 felt like a career year (and one to be proud of), so a slight step backward seems inevitable. If A-Rod could chalk up one more season in which he played 145 games and hit .300/.400/.500 it would go a long, long way towards compensating for regression elsewhere in the lineup.

Gabe Lezra: Michael Pineda. I’m still a huge believer in this guy. Like I’m all-in, 100 percent totally. He has both the mental and physical stuff (yes, he does) to make it in New York, and all the batted ball metrics think he can replicate much of his 2011 in 2012. The reason he’s an X Factor, and not a sure thing, in my book, is the tendinitis. This is an annoying, but ultimately manageable injury; however, it could cost him some time with the first club. But when he does come up (even if it’s in June) he’ll make a huge impact on the club–positively or negatively.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

11 thoughts on “The 2012 IIATMS Roundtable: Part II

  1. jay_robertson

    YES – and this ^^^ is why I read this forum FIRST. Other than Gabe's vote, every choice listed above is a "good" one. If A-Rod were to come back, that would be nice. D-Rob being as solid as last year, sure – that would have great implications down the road as replacing Mo (shudder) has to happen someday.

    But – as rarely as I agree with Brien, I think Tex has the best chance of returning to his original form and being a force; if he does that, then Kentucky's win last night will have some meaning.

  2. williamjtasker

    Under on the 30 steals. Yankees have too much invested to risk the wheels at this point.

  3. moooose

    Here's a question for the brain trust: I made a wager a few years back on the over/under for ARod's career home run total. What should that number be now? Let me know your thoughts, if you will, and I'll let you all know where we're locked in. I have the under, and a trip to Vegas is on the line.

    • Hippeaux

      I don't think he'll reach Aaron/Bonds territory, if that's the question. If I were going to set an over/under now, I'd put it at 725.

    • williamjtasker

      I think he'll just barely make it beyond 700.

    • moooose

      Since I know you're all dying to know, I have the under on 800. That's the good news. The bad news is that I had to give odds. If I win, it's airfare/hotel/transportation. If my opponent wins, it's drinks & meals, too. I'm feeling better about this now.

  4. mikeNicoletti

    As the X factor, I'd have to go with Tex. There isn't a reliever on the team that would effect the outcome of the season as much as a MVP caliber season from a guy getting paid like one. I think Brein is dead on about A-Rod (unless the German platelet treatment has him going all Kobe on us), and Tex is the best candidate for a "breakout" season. Next on my list would be Swisher then Nova, Swish as a breakout candidate, and Nova an x-factor to avoid regression.

  5. Robert

    Under 714. I think Alex has one more great year left in him and a whole lot of 2011 repeats, where he is great when he is on the field, but isn't on the field that much. Great hitters generate most of their power from their hips, and Alex has bad hips. Third basemen use their hips as much as any defensive player, and Alex is a third baseman. This spells trouble to me. The sooner they transition him to full-time DH, the better, and maybe he passes Ruth on the all-time list. But who plays 3B in that scenario? If I'm Cash, I call up Fred Wilpon and see if he's willing to take a package of, say, Betances, Nunez and $1M for David Wright. Wright's contract won't affect the 2014 salary barrier, Wilpon needs the money, and Wright gets to play for a winner without changing cities. I seriously doubt that this would happen, but it would also buy the Yankees a little time to develop an adequate replacement for A-Rod/Wright without further risk to Alex by injury or to the team by starting Nunez 60+ games each year.

  6. michael

    I don't see how Piñeda isn't the obvious choice here. I think an X factor involves a player who's season is projected with huge variance, as in huge gap between ceiling and floor.

    If Piñeda's shoulder heals fine and has a breakout season, that could swing the Yankees win total very high. This is in contrast to having Piñeda struggling to start and getting 30 starts from sweaty.

  7. Breaking Balls

    I think two writers picking middle relievers seems a bit odd. The bullpen was an undeniable strength last year. Even if D-Rob and Soriano had only average years it would still be very solid. I think Tex & A-Rod are the clear choices. Our starting pitching is as deep as it has been in years (knock on wood), and we should be fine in the department.

  8. David G

    All, Excellent blog which I enjoy reading. Two thoughts. Has it ever been talked about that there would be a legal out of A-Rod's contract because it was based on performance while taking performance enhancing drugs? If he could be like Bonds and take them now, he would stay more healthy and just hit better. His contract was based on that. I would be sending him to Germany every month and get those treatments that have helped Kobe. Second, is there a sense that the Yankees are not very good at developing pitching or are the injuries and dead arms just bad luck? Is this a wrong perception of mine vs. say, Texas or the Braves, someone like that? Or is the hype around the Yankees minor league players too big vs the rest of the league because of the huge market?

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