The Cavalry Is Coming

The prognostications for the Yankees 2013 season have featured a lot of “doom and gloom” by virtue of their aging rosters and the injuries that seem to keep racking up. However, things may not be as bleak as they seem and bear in mind that I am no doctor, although I have told innumerable people that I play one on TV, but from the news that has been coming out in regards to the slew of shelved Bombers it seems that this rag-tag group that will take the field on Opening Day will only have to “hold the fort” until June.

Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, who accounted for a combined 67 homers and 190 RBI’s last season, are slated to return from their respective stints on the DL, in May (Granderson) and June (Teixeira). Even in an absolute worst case scenario where this team finds themselves double-digit games under .500 (which is unlikely), there will still be more-than-ample time for them to find their groove with their sluggers back in the lineup. The best case scenario would be if the former center-piece of the Jesus Montero trade, Michael Pineda is able to work his way back from injury during that same time span in June. Imagine for a second, what these same talking heads will say if Pineda and his power arm join this already-formidable rotation, it will undoubtedly make them front-runners for the AL East once again.

Take a moment and try to look at the laundry list of key injuries as a blessing in disguise because it may actually force this team to figure out a way to score runs outside of the “long ball.” God forbid the vaunted Yankees ever try to manufacture a run and win a game 3-2 as opposed to 8-5. In the absence of their sluggers, the Yankees will be forced to adapt and will look a lot more like the Oakland A’s than the Yankees, especially having acquired high OBP guys over the off-season like Travis Hafner and the renowned “Greek God of Walks,” Kevin Youkilis.

The Yankees being forced to adapt the way in which they score runs comes at a convenient time, as realignment (for better-or-worse) has made Inter-league play a daily occurrence. Basically what I’m trying to say is start getting used to a lot more base-stealing and bunting in order to move runners over, essentially some more National League style baseball. The prospect is also a little scary if you think about it, especially with the age of the pitching staff, the likelihood of a Starter getting injured is increased exponentially by having to pick up a bat, just ask Chien-Ming Wang.

From a spoiled Yankee fan’s perspective, a little adversity should make things more fun ala the latter Torre years where early season swoons eventually gave way to late-season rallies and playoff berths. Regardless, fans should saddle up for a bumpy ride over the first few months of this season and think about warmer weather and hopefully a healthier roster.

27 thoughts on “The Cavalry Is Coming

    • Are you willing to settle for another early exit from the playoffs (assuming they get there) too? That's exactly what the Yankee HR or nothing offense has gotten us the last few years. Once they hit the postseason, and they're facing the best pitchers on each team, all of a sudden they can't score. No one's saying they need to morph into a bunch of bunting wonders. However, IMHO, good situational hitting is a lot better than waiting for a 3 run HR which might not come.

      • I just dont get it. So instead of a guy hitting a homer run you would prefer a single? Lets think of it like this, how about you take a guy and replace every single home run he hits with a single. Now lets take a guy and replace every single he hits with a home run. Which do you think is more valuable?

        The home runs arent a bad thing people. They werent hitting singles homers doubles anything when theyve lost in the playoffs. No contact is no contact.

        • I hate how people say waiting for a 3 run homer. As opposed to what waiting for a lineup to string together 4 consecutive hits? If you hit a double and a single every inning you still might end up with a final score of 0. Home runs are very good. The problem is hitters who hit strictly for home runs (Swisher, Granderson, Tex) is that is thats all they do than when they arent hitting homers theyr useless at the plate. You dont want a bunch of singles hitters or a bunch of home run hitters. Yankees dynasty wasnt built on small ball at all. it was bult on dynamite starters and bullpen and guys who were a near perfect balance of power, contact and OBP. But homers always help, singles might not matter.

          • Let me ask you this. What do you think is easier to do, hit a single, or a home run? There's a reason hitting 40-50 HR's leads the league, while someone that hits 40-50 singles a year gets a fast ticket to the minors. Look at the dynasty teams. They didn't have a bunch of HR hitters, in fact they rarely lead the league in that category. What they did have was a team that hit in the clutch, whether it was a HR or a single to drive in a runner from third.

          • That's a ridiculous argument. What's more valuable – a dollar bill or a penny? Since you need 100 pennies to equal the value of a dollar your time is better spent trying to find a dollar rather than 100 pennies unless pennies are 100 times easier to find. Homers are rare than singles but their value makes up for that rarity since every one puts at least one run on the scoreboard which is not the case with singles. You need a balance of the two but given the choice I'll go with a power guy every time unless he has no other redeeming value which is clearly not the case with the Yankees who failed to hit in the playoffs (Cano, Granderson, Swisher). I exempt Teixeira since he hit well in the ALDS and A-Rod because he was hurt.

            You, and all of the other small-ball zealots, are just displaying a knee-jerk reaction to the ALCS when the Yankees did not hit period – singles, double, homers or otherwise. You know singles-hitting teams can be shut down over a four game period too and they lack the potential to put runs up on the board in a hurry which can lead to a lot of almost-rallies that don't quite yield any fruit.

          • You know singles-hitting teams can be shut down over a four game period too

            and the best example of this is the 1966 WS in which the quintessential singles-hitting, small-ball team – the LA Dodgers were shut down by the Orioles. They were shut out 3 games in a row and scored a total of 2 (TWO!!!) runs in the entire series. The Orioles won Games 3 and 4 by identical 1-0 scores on solo homers by Paul Blair (G3) and Frank Robinson (G4).

            LA put up a .142./.226/.192 triple slash line.

          • Since it appears this is deteriorating into a ESPN thread where people get nasty when others disagree with them, I'll play too. What's more valuable, a dollar or a penny? Now, that's a ridiculous argument. We're talking baseball here, not pocket change. Re-read my original post (if you can). I clearly said I don't want them to turn into a bunch of bunting wonders. There's a difference between quality situational hitting and small ball. What's quality situational hitting? Hitting a sac fly to drive a runner in from third with less than two outs, something they failed to do with regularity last year. Hitting (oh my god, there's that word) a single with the bases loaded to drive in 2 or 3 runs instead of trying to hit a bomb to Yonkers and popping up or striking out. That's what I'm advocating here. How that turns me into a "small ball zealot" is anyone's guess.

          • Basically agree with your stance but have to part ways with you on Swish, Granderson and Tex being useless when they don't hit homers. All of those guys draw a fair amount of walks which is not at all useless.

      • Facing the best pitchers is not the problem…it is the approach to the at bat. Great pitchers can be beaten by hitting the ball where it is pitched, avoiding pull happy at bats, shortening swings, etc….otherwise, yes, the better pitchers will eat you up and spit you out and you have anothr 1st round exit.

  1. I've been saying all along I like the Yankees chances with Gardner, Ichiro and Pettitte here for an entire season baring some freak injury and Nova has to be better then he was in the 2nd half of 2012. The pitching in general looks very good and as the piece says the Yankees only need to be within reach after the 1st 2 months. I actually think it will be more like Mid May is all they have to old on for. Besides I'm hopeful that Nunez offense will offset some of his defensive lapses. Here's to surprises all those Yankee critics in 2013.

  2. In all honesty I'm not concerned about this year at all. Tex has been in an offensive slump since 2010 but, he is being replaced by Youk so offensively its a wash. His defense is what will be missed. When Granderson returns (unfortunately, his last year in pinstripes) he will add a much needed boost to the lineup most likely in mid May. I feel like Nunez has been groomed to replace Jeter eventually anyway so I'm ok with that. I really don't expect to see Jeter out there everyday once he returns. Expect to see a lot of Nunez at short this year. I don't even care about Arod returning this year at this point. We could only hope he gets hit by a bus. This is a transition year for the Yanks not a lost season. What I don't understand is the Wells trade and the budget issue. Although I like the structure of the Wells deal I don't understand why Hal had the money for it now. I would have preferred Mesa. I'm getting nervous the way Hal is treating this team. I'm thinking he may let Cano go all because of the budget. This is a big market team, not the damn Astros. My only hope for this year is a Joba trade for a young outfielder and that Arod gets hit by a bus.

    • I may live in Houston, but I'm a life long NYY fan, however I must say Houston is the 4th largest city in the US and 5th in metropolitan rankings. I guess you'd call the Astros a small market concept within a big market.

    • Hal has said that the 189 million dollar ceiling is more like a glass ceiling. he would certainly like to but I have a feeling that they wouldnt allow it to hinder them from winning a WS. They wont go 220 million but a few above it? Sure. I dont think itll stop them from resigning Cano. What may cause Cano to go to greener pastures (literally) is the fact that his agent is an asshole. 10 years at 25+ million a year? Hell I might let Cano walk for those type of demands too

      • What may cause Cano to go to greener pastures (literally) is the fact that his agent is an asshole.

        Why is his agent an asshole for trying to get the best deal for his client? That's his job! Is Cano an asshole for hiring him, presumably for that precise purpose?

        According to FanGrpahs (yes, I know there are limitations to their value calculations but they're probably the best we've got) Cano has been worth $25.5, $24 and $34.9 million the past three seasons while being paid $10, $14 and $15 million. That's $45.4 million in excess value that Cano has provided over the past few seasons. He doesn't have to apologize for wanting to get paid. Is a 10-year deal in the best interests of the team? Maybe not but that doesn't mean Cano or Boras are assholes for trying to get something like those terms, which, by the way, are mere supposition and conjecture since we have no idea what they've actually asked for.

        • I just think that by not taking into account the team your playing for that the player is being selfish. He shouldnt have signed the original contract if he thought he was going to be so good. Hard to sign a guy to a contract that you know isnt worth it. 10 year deal is just too long. And we know that Boras has been quoted as talking Pujols type contract numbers.

          This whole idea that the Yankees owe him anything based on what he has done is wrong. You dont owe anyone anything based on what theyve done previously, you pay them based on what they can do. That line of thinking leads to Hank giving ARod his contract.

  3. Off topic but I thought this was worth posting here. I read the following on MLBTR this morning:

    "Turning to Cashman's Yankees, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman pulled no punches when reviewing the club's offseason, writing that "no one had a worse spring training than baseball's most storied team, maybe ever." Heyman further reports that, in spite of their public proclamations and massive payroll, the Yanks' brass is very concerned internally about the club's prospects for 2013. Likewise, ESPN's Jim Bowden predicted that New York would finish last in the AL East, writing that the club could sport a losing record for the first time since 1995."

    From my perspective, seriously does anyone believe that the Yankee "Brass" has confided how they feel about the teams prospects in 2013 or any other year for that matter to Heyman and Bowden. That post/comment doesn't pass the laugh test.

  4. Off topic…

    But I just have to take this moment to point out how effing incredible Lebron James is….


  5. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but it looks to me like the Yankees have 3 spots open on their 25 man active roster for opening day. Those 3 spots all look to be in the bullpen.

    Anyone have any ideas who might get them? At this point I think the only guaranteed spots go to: Mo, Robertson, Joba and Logan.

    Phelps at some point when Hughes returns will get one of them but in the meantime who gets the 3 spots?

      • Well let's hope the Yankees don't have to go to Epply or Warren that often because to be honest they have not looked very good this spring.

        • I kinda thought Kelly was a lock to make the roster seeing as how they traded for him. Im glad Warren is on the roster though. Hopefully his presence will prevent the Yankees from moving Phelps there and hurting his development as a starter. Yankees will definitely need to keep Phelps stretched out, and he figures to be one of the starters on next years squad.

          • Phelps is as good as gone (I mean he will wind up in the pen) when Hughes returns. The problem I see with Phelps is for whatever reason he doesn't seem to be able to go more hten about 4 innings without coughing up several runs in a chunk after that.

  6. Im very concerned about Tex. Cashman said in todays paper that despite it being a 70% chance Tex avoids season ending surgery it feels as if its more 30-70 that it WILL require surgery historically speaking. Not good. I do not want a full season of Lyle Overbay. Please just trade for Carlos Pena. Wont take much

  7. A team can never rely on injured players coming back. You can never 'hold the fort'. You can never say 'we just have to play .500 until <insert date>.' Baseball doesn't work like that. You have to make due with the players you have on the field, and assume they are all you're going to have all season. If the Yankees can only 'hold the fort' with their April lineup, then they are in deep trouble. I know a lot of Yankee fans haven't had to deal with true injury seasons in recent memory, but you can't put on the rose tinted glasses and assume the injured guys are going to come back in June and everything will just snap into place. It just doesn't work like that, except in rare cases. Either the team has to step up and play as constructed in April and May, giving some leeway here and there with callups and whatnot, or they are not going to have a good season.

    • Good point, Derpy. It's a team game, and the players sense their prospects and draw their pride from the team's abilities to hit AND defend. If they feel inferior, they can't "hold the fort." You gotta play hard, like the Athletics and Orioles did last year. That's where the real fun in baseball is!