How dire is the 2013 outlook?

As the weather warms up and the Alex Rodriguez scandal fades a bit with real baseball games being played, expect this to be the new top problem for the Yankees:

You have to go all the way back to 1992 for a spring training of lower expectations than this one for both the Yankees and the Mets, where in both cases, our locals have a better chance of finishing last than finishing first this season.

[...]

When last seen, the Yankees were being booed out of the Stadium amid a blizzard of strikeouts en route to being swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS last October, while the Mets, after playing above .500 baseball up until July 20, limped home with a 12-18 September, in front of a lot of empty seats, finishing fourth, 74-88.

Unfortunately, the offseason bore little fruit for either team in its hopes for a better ending in 2013. In the Yankees’ case there is sufficient evidence that they’ve regressed while GM Brian Cashman has sat back and watched one prospective improvement player after another go elsewhere, the latest being switch-hitting shortstop Jed Lowrie, who had 16 homers and 42 RBI with the Astros last year, and went to the Oakland A’s for defensively challenged first baseman Chris Carter and a couple of so-so prospects.

How will they contend without Jed Lowrie’s 90 games indeed?

You certainly shouldn’t be surprised by this, if only because I’ve been telling you for years that a significant portion of the fanbase needs this sort of pessimism is to create a sense of drama to following the Yankees, and that’s where the mainstream press finds their audience these days. So there’s going to be plenty of the papers over the next couple of weeks, and the key is to keep it in proper perspective and know when to shrug it off. I mean, more likely to be last than first? They’re closer talent wise to Boston than to Toronto? C’mon.

Most of all, keep in mind that despite all of their success, it’s not like the Yankees haven’t been down this road before. The 2007 and 2008 teams both had issues that were obvious from Spring Training on, and contra Madden, I don’t think this year is nearly as precarious as 2011 looked when camp opened. That, of course, was the year that Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia were competing for a job in the Yankees starting rotation (and both were eventually starting in April), while the Red Sox were being talked about as one of the greatest teams of all time. No disrespect to Toronto. This current roster at least looks better than that year’s team did, and the Yankees still won more games than any other American League team.

Which is not to say that everything is roses and there’s no chance of the season taking a horribly awful turn for the Bombers, just that it’s far too early to fret about that, and this team isn’t nearly so bad that you should assume that’s going to happen. Or find yourself pining for Jed Lowrie.

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.

15 thoughts on “How dire is the 2013 outlook?

  1. srosegots

    Wait, Bill Madden is predicting doom and gloom for the Yankees? No. Way.

  2. OldYanksFan

    There are just so many IFs with this club.
    IF… CC and Pettitte stay healthy and Phelps matures some more, our SP could be better then last year at this time.
    IF… Mo is Mo and Joba can be good Joba, our BP could be better then last year at this time.
    IF… Ichiro is close to what he was last year with the Yankees, the downgrade in RF might not be that great.
    IF…. Gardner has a good year, he should well outproduce Raul.
    IF…. our group of Catchers can step up, considering Martin had a poor offensive year, the downgrade at C might not be that great.
    IF…. Teix can be better then last year (not that inconceivable) , that would be a great help.
    IF…. Grandy can be better then last year (not that inconceivable) , that would be a great help.
    IF…. ARod come bask in July and can post an .800 OPS, that would be a great help.
    IF…. Gritner is in CF, we could have an elite OF defense to save some of the Runs we will lose on offense.
    IF…. Jeter can be God (again), that would be a great help.

    And finally….
    IF…. the Queen had balls, she would be King.

    • chris

      IF is every team. IF any team loses its ace to an arm injury or IF any team has DL problems or ill-timed slumps from hitters. On paper the Yanks are no worse than they were last year and are arguably better. They lose home-runs but gain a ridiculous defensive outfield that is arguably the best in the A.L.. They get a whole year of Andy (who was good last year when he pitched). Hughes, Kuroda and CC all looked fine at the end of the year and there is no reason to not expect numbers close to what they did. The bullpen looks great and healthy. Tex is still the best defensive 1B in the AL. and, despite the crybaby fans, hits close to 100RBI every year. Cano is still Cano and Youklis is an upgrade over Chavez in every facet.

  3. Bill

    This is a ballclub that will need a lot to go right in order to win a championship. But then, can't you say that about every team? Toronto did some things that on paper look great, but this is also the same team that can't keep its starting rotation healthy, has a bullpen that isn't the most reliable and is relying on players that never were this good to be that good again. Baltimore's numbers last year were bizarre for a 93 win team. Can that happen again? Wouldn't bet the house on it. Tampa Bay has done it with mirrors for years and a couple of those mirrors (Upton and Shields) are not there anymore. And the Sox have some work to do to get back to the level they were during the championship years. Can the Yanks finish last? If everything goes wrong, sure. Are there a lot of IFs? No question. But is this team in the same bind as the Mets? Pardon me, but I don't think so.

    And this goes back to a statement I've made before. Who in the heck thought Bill Madden was worthy of the Hall of Fame? The people on this blog have forgotten more baseball than he seems to know.

  4. Dan

    If everything goes right, they could win 95 again. I'm expecting 88-90, which might be enough for the playoffs. But with a really strong Blue Jays team and and a top heavy AL West (that's about to get a new whipping boy for Texas and LA to beat up on), not to mention the Rays, O's and Sox, there's a substantial chance they don't make the playoffs.

  5. not Montero's dad

    hey…Madden is a HALL OF FAMER! He MUST know his stuff, right?

  6. Vengeance74

    For all the talk about the Yanks stepping back,can we analyze the Toronto moves everyone seems to be worried about? Reyes is a health risk underachiever and Josh Johnson is lights out WHEN HE'S HEALTHY,which hasn't been for a couple of years.Buerhle had a pretty good season,can't argue that one. I truly believe Dickey is going to get lit up,he was a journeyman before his breakout with the Mutts.. All in all,while not the same age/health risks as Yankees,still plenty of risks on their own. As for the rest of the a.l east,Boston hasn't gotten better, Baltimore has only gotten better in the sense of their kids getting xp, and TB still can't hit and traded away their 2nd best starter. The Yankees might be able to squeak into the playoffs with 90-92 wins.

    • chris

      Yeah I agree about Dickey. The AL East is used to a guy like him. Wake pitched for a long time here. Granted the stuff Dickey has is better but it is not like the AL East does not know the method. Also, last I checked he lasted only 6 innings against the Yanks in 2012 giving up 5 runs. Not to mention he could lose the feel anytime. Reyes is a hot mess who gets hurt more than Joba and playing on Turf will only create more injuries.

      • Sherm

        "Yeah I agree about Dickey. The AL East is used to a guy like him."

        Hence, Dickey's back to back one-hitters with double digit strikeouts last year against the Rays and the Orioles. And lets not forget how effective knuckleballers are in domes.

        "Reyes is a hot mess who gets hurt more than Joba and playing on Turf will only create more injuries."

        That must explain why Reyes has had at least 586 plate appearances in seven out of the last eight seasons. The turf could be his undoing, but it could also lead to a career year with tons of triples. The turf can really help a fast player with a high contact rate and a line drive swing. If he can survive the wear and tear of playing on the turf, he will have a monster season.

  7. Sherm

    Yankees look like an 86 or 87 win team to me. No catcher, whatsoever — will be lucky to get replacement level performance there. A 39 year old, defensively-challenged shortstop coming back from ankle surgery. No DH. A has been in right with no power. A question mark at third.

    The pitching looks pretty damn good, but with the age there I'm not sure if its reasonable to expect the pitching to carry the team to a 90-win season.

  8. Norm

    Jed Lowrie? Really, Mr. Madden? If he was so great, the Sox wouldn't have let him go. Seems to me he couldn't stay on the field when he played for Boston. If the Yankee's success this year depended on signing guys like that, we're doomed from the start.

  9. Edmund_Dantes

    Everybody needs to chill. This team is better than the 08 team and that one just missed the playoffs.

  10. James Dogg

    While I wish they were younger, I find it hard to see a significant drop from last year if all are healed- the playoff chances for the yanks depend more on what Toronto and Baltimore do. On paper we open with a better defensive outfield with less pop, a better bullpen, possible more consistent starting pitching. Real questions at catcher but loss of Russ was a mixed bag at best. For both the teams playing ability and psyche it would be best to state silently that ARod will not play this year– Cano, Granderson Youklis have the ability to knock in what should be more RISP then last year- then it stares back – are they too old to be a more little ball defense and pitching team for 162? time will tell – better to expect less and get more than same old merryforound that has produced 1 WS win in last 12 years almost all being a disappointment-

  11. Sherm

    PECOTA has them at 92 wins, which I think is slightly optimistic. PECOTA has the Mets at 80 wins, which I also think is slightly optimistic.

  12. James Dogg

    PERCOTA in April 2012 had Redsox at 92 wins off by 23, Baltimore at 71 off by 22. Don't you love spring…

Comments are closed.