Well at least they ended the season on a winning streak. That's something to build on for 2014, right? In all seriousness, I can't tell you how glad I am that this season is over. It was absolutely exhausting. I started writing AB4AR in August of 2009, and jumped right into the drama of a World Series run, staying up late to take notes on each game, write, drink, scream, and stomp around my apartment like a child. Covering this year's team, who won't play a single postseason game, was a way more arduous task than that. Between the injuries, the re-injuries, the bad starting pitching, the even worse situational hitting, and the front office's decision to basically stand pat and not address any of it, the 2013 season was a meat grinder of disappointment. I'm actually looking forward to covering the offseason and hot stove topics for a few months just to break up the monotony of writing about Derek Jeter's rehab, Phil Hughes' HR allowed, CC Sabathia's command, and the lineup's inability to get a hit when they really need it.
Before we jump into that offseason talk, here are some final thoughts on 2013.
- I hope there wasn't anybody out there who was upset that Mariano Rivera didn't play or pitch this past weekend. The guy was run into the ground from about mid-August on and let's not forget that he is 43 years old. He said his body wasn't up to it and there was no reason to run him out there one last time and take the risk of him performing poorly or suffering a serious injury. That would have put a bit of a damper on his send-off and nobody wants to remember something like that as Mo's final appearance. The moment with him, Jeter, and Andy on Thursday night was the right way to end it. Mo didn't owe the people of Houston anything.
- As for Andy, he got his moment on Saturday night with that throwback complete game performance. Yes the awful opposing lineup aided in that outcome, but Pettitte was dealing and kudos to Joe and his staff for letting him go for it in the 9th. Like Mo, he left it all on the field in his final few appearances and ended his career on a high note. Not many guys who can say they went out that way.
- Speaking of which, why is Andy retiring again? He gave up 13 ER over his final 10 starts and threw 2 of his longest outings of the season in his final 2 starts. This time he sounded like his mind was made up and his decision wasn't going to change, but Cash needs to put in at least 1 call to him sometime around November-December, no?
- Nice to see Joe dust off Travis Hafner for a game yesterday. That 0-4 in 6 plate appearances should really send him into free agency with a lot of buzz.
- For all the people who wanted the kids in the final games, you got 'em. What'd you think? Zoilo Almonte went 2-17 in the final 4 games with 4 strikeouts, David Adams went 2-10 in his last 2 games with 7 strikeouts (and 2 XBH), and J.R. Murphy hit .154/.185/.192 in his 27 PA September audition with a 33.3% K rate. Not saying all these guys are garbage, but it's hard to think any of them could step into a full time role in 2014 and be better than what the veterans produced.
- On that same topic, what to do about Mark Reynolds? While he's not as obvious a choice for next year as Brendan Ryan, there is some value there. He hit .236/.300/.455 in 120 PA as a Yankee, with a 25.8% K rate down from his career average. Everybody knows about the power and he's been known to draw walks. Some more time to work with Kevin Long could smooth some things out in his swing and he won't command much on the FA market after being cut from the team that originally signed him mid-season. If I'm Cash, I don't think I build my offseason plan around having Reynolds as my first 3rd base option behind A-Rod, but he's not a bad Plan B or C.
- 2 applause-worthy spot starting performances by Adam Warren and David Huff this weekend. Warren figures to play a prominent role in next year's rotation competition, as least for the time being, and Huff could be an interesting option as a ST invite. Again, not Option A for a bullpen role if I'm Cash, but a name worth keeping on the bulletin board if he can stash him away in Triple-A again.
- Whatever the plan ends up being for this offseason, and I assume it will be very similar to last year's, Cash needs to do something to try to shake things up. He needs to be much more aggressive on the trade front. He can't just sit there with his hands tied on the FA market while the team penny pinches their way down below the luxury tax threshold. Pick up the phone and make a push for Giancarlo Stanton; call the Brewers and see if they're willing to talk about Jonathan Lucroy. There aren't any prospects in the Yankee system who can help the Major League club in the next year. Might as well see if some of them can be useful on the trade market to help improve the team.
- Lastly, on Joe's contract situation, I don't think there's much concern about him going elsewhere. He knows New York, he's comfortable in New York, and the front office likes him and wants him back. The best new offer he's going to get is going to be from the Yankees and there aren't any other teams out there who he could go to that are in a better position for 2014 than the Yankees. That said, would I blame him if he left? Absolutely not. That's what happens when your front office hands you chicken sh*t and doesn't even give the impression that they're interested in having chicken salad.
(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)