Yankees Go Home and Revamp
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 20- Disaster could be harsh describing the disappointing and worst performance in a post season for the New York Yankees. However, in baseball history, this was an all-time low in the post season for a team in baseball. It hurts, stings, and will be an everlasting memory of the 2012 New York Yankees.
Before it can be analyzed, as to what has to be done to make it better, this for the $200 million team of failure, answer what went wrong? And were the Yankees built as a team to hit the home run with failure to realize that good pitching in the post season will prevent the home run ball?
The Yankees obviously realize that hitting a team record and Major League Baseball record, 245 home runs will not deliver a world championship. Success to the Yankees is always reaching and winning the World Series, and if they want to win their 28th and first since 2009, they must have a better plan to get by a first or second round post season series.
Winning the divisional title is an accomplishment. But a fan of the New York Yankees, more so, management, is not content unless another championship flag is flying high at 161st Street and River Avenue. It does not matter that they won an American League high 95 games, second in baseball to the Washington Nationals who also went home early.
But the Nationals, who did not spend nearly as much money, were not expected to exceed expectations so soon. The Yankee were a different story
“We fell short of our singular and constant goal, which is a World Series championship,” said Hal Steinbrenner the Yankees’ managing general partner in a statement Friday afternoon. “Make no mistake this was a bitter end to our year.”
He went on to say, “We fully intend to examine our season in its totality, assess all our strengths and weaknesses and take the necessary steps needed to maintain our sole focus of winning the World Series in 2013.”
The son of the late George Steinbrenner is not like his father. Had George been in charge, heads would have been rolling and changes would have been implemented immediately.
However, this is a new hierarchy running the New York Yankees, and one or two changes will be made, not as fast and much differently the way “The Boss” used to do it.
Yankees fans should not expect much change from what they saw on the field in the eight games of a post season, one that fell short after defeating Baltimore and losing to the American League Champion Detroit Tigers that swept New York in four games.
To begin, the payroll has been projected to be significantly lower, not in 2013 but the year after. The goal is to get the best out of what they have because of contracts with incentives and options.
This same nucleus of players that combined for record post season lowest batting average of .188 will go home, and many are expected to return to Tampa Florida when spring training convenes in February.
Is this what the fans want, no, but the Yankees may have no other options. Because in this era of the player contract, the Yankees organization has been accustomed to spend and sign the long term deal and complicated options.
Since that final out in Detroit Thursday, manager Joe Girardi, the General Manger Brian Cashman, and baseball people in the know, are baffled and perplexed as to what went wrong with Robinson Cano. His .075 batting average, 3-for 40, in the post season are hard to explain after hitting over .600 the final five weeks of the season.
The absence of Derek Jeter, who will recover from a broken ankle and surgery, did not make a difference. The Yankees scored three runs in the 39 innings played in four games with the Tigers.
In the end it was a team failure, except for a pitching staff that finished with a post season ERA a little of 2.00, and that was supposed to be the question mark in a short series.
Girardi said, “It wasn’t one guy. It wasn’t two guys. It was a bunch of guys.”
A bunch with questions for next year, and maybe the years ahead as the Yankees are not getting younger. Jeter will be 39- years old, and do they bring back a veteran 40-year Andy Pettitte who returned after a brief retirement and will make the decision for 2013 to be on a veteran pitching staff?
It was a season of adversity, dealing with injuries and losing a 10-game lead to the Oriole s in the AL east. The lack of scoring runs was a season issue, with an occasional streak of the Yankees bats at times living up to expectations.
But in the end, adversity was with the Yankees failure to hit and drive in runs. Again, there is no answer as to how a team with so much ability to drive in runs failed to do so. Hitting is contagious, and the Yankees defined that definition.
Curtis Granderson and a 43- home run season means nothing with 16 strikeouts and going 3-for-30 at the plate in the playoffs. Do the Yankees re-sign Nick Swisher with three runs batted in and a .167 average in eight games? Do they bring back catcher Russell Martin with his one RBI and .161 average, and Eric Chavez coming off the bench and starting, going 0-for-16?
Some of the many issues facing Cashman will make this an interesting Yankees off season. He reportedly will take a few days off and return to his office at Yankee Stadium Monday, starting the many hours of a long process to get it right.
But, the major issue is Alex Rodriguez and his $114 million contract that includes incentives for another five years. One season, the championship year of 2009, is the lone one that stands out with the ten-year $250 million investment the Yankees made.
Girardi benched the slumping A-Rod in games three and four of the Tigers’ series, a move made because Rodriguez could not make contact with his .111 post season average and 12 strike outs. The denials still stand that he was punished for throwing a baseball with his phone number to a bikini model by the Yankees dugout as he took a seat for Raul Ibanez.
Rodriguez became a story of the New York Yankees 2012 post season.
Yes, there are tons of issues with the New York Yankees that goes along with a fan base that would rather see Rodriguez playing elsewhere next year. No team in their right frame of mind would want to take on a contract of his magnitude.
He is a player that obviously is on the decline who has difficulty handling a fastball. Girardi says everything is fine with him and his third baseman and believes the swagger will return with A-Rod’s bat.
Nothing is fine though with the New York Yankees, when they are not playing baseball deep in October. And to fix that will be the question for the next few months.
How to do it, that is another question that will take time to answer.
E-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com and listen and watch Rich Thursday evening live 8-10pm www.inthemixxradio.com also on your phone apps.