The New York Yankees will not advance to the 2012 World Series. While this sucks, I think we should celebrate what the Yankees did this season.
The 2012 New York Yankees overcame a ton of adversity just to get as far as they did. According to Jeff Zimmerman over at Fangraphs, the New York Yankees lost the most player-days to the disabled list in the American League in 2012. Michael Pineda, Brett Gardner, Mariano Rivera and Pedro Feliciano all missed essentially the entire season. Austin Romine’s spring training back injury sidelined him for most of the year, forcing the Yankees to trade a valuable arm for Chris Stewart. Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte spend considerable amounts of time on the disabled list. Even CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and David Robertson missed time.
But unlike the 2nd and 3rd most injured American League teams – the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays – the Yankees didn’t let up. Without making a single major trade (Ichiro doesn’t count), the players that remained persevered and won a very competitive AL East.
Robinson Cano is the big hero among the hitters. Cano led an offense that saw every other non-Jeterarian hitter underperform expectations yet still score 804 runs – just 4 runs behind Texas (and their home ballpark) for the MLB lead. They were supported off the bench by Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez.
And despite all the home runs and injuries, Yankee pitchers weren’t half bad. They were 4th best in the AL in runs allowed, just behind the Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field. Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia probably the best Yankee starting pitching staff since 2003, and Rafael Soriano and David Robertson led one of the better bullpens. Had the team not lost almost 1400 days to injured pitchers on the disabled list, the could possibly have challenged Tampa Bay for the best defense in the league.
Because of the way the playoffs ended, we’re going to be tempted to remember the 2012 New York Yankees with a lot of negativity, but we shouldn’t. Out of 30 MLB teams, the Yankees made it 4th farthest. That’s an accomplishment. The playoffs are a crapshoot, and the team’s hitters hit a slump at precisely the wrong time. But if you told me at the beginning of every season that my baseball team would win 95 games, the division, and make the ALCS, I’d take that every time over an unknown outcome.
This doesn’t mean the Yankees should sit on their success. The Yankees can definitely be improved, and Brian Cashman has work to do to keep his team of players rapidly exiting their prime years going. But take a look at the 2012 Boston Red Sox next time you want to see what a failure really looks like. The 2012 New York Yankees were no failures.