For those who've been lamenting the increase in Insider-only ESPN links, you should be all over David Schoenfield's team-by-team ranking exercise of all 30 MLB clubs that he's doing at ESPN SweetSpot. He kicked off the annual countdown yesterday with the 30-25 teams and today's block of 24-19 included the New York Yankees at 21. If that ranking seems low to you, it did to me too. My eyebrows went up when I saw it and then I did a double-take when I saw the final record prediction: 78-84. Wow, 6 games under .500? Really? That would be pretty bad. Schoenfield explains: "The Yankees have been outscored each of the past two years, although they managed to finish over .500 both seasons. While a lot of people are pointing to a healthier rotation and better seasons from some of the veterans as reasons the Yankees will contend this year, I turn that around and say: Who's a good bet to improve? The only thing I'm sure of is the Yankees will have better defense at shortstop. I'm taking the under .500 -- for the first time since 1992."
As surprising as the ranking and sub-.500 prediction are to me, I can see where he's coming from. Schoenfield is basically saying he expects the bad outcome to all the rotation health ifs and probably more than 1 of the same bad outcomes with the older parts of the lineup. As well as the team did in improving its position player depth this offseason, the same can't be said for the rotation. And a rotation that is without Tanaka, Pineda, and/or Sabathia for large chunks of time could lead to some ugly stretches of games, especially if the lineup is also banged up and under-producing.
So if you've had a particularly rosier and more optimistic outlook for the 2015 Yankees recently, this should definitely help bring you down a peg. It's not like we didn't know this was a possibility already, and it's not like the Pythagorean numbers haven't spelled this out before, but it does stink to see it spelled out in black and white by somebody else.