I know, I know. You are sick and tired of hearing about the Yankees, but just here me out. The run of consecutive playoff berths for the Yankees may be coming to an end as soon as next season.
This postseason has been a rather tumultuous one for the Bronx Bombers. It started with the loss of Derek Jeter to a fractured ankle and ended with a sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. In between, there had been all sorts of things going on. Distractions, predictions, and some crazy heroics by Raul Ibanez. Well, I have a prediction for the fate of the Yankees too: they’re going to fall apart, and a one year reloading process already has begun.
It’s already started with Alex Rodriguez. Although the rumors of A-Rod to Miami have no substance as of right now, the Yankees do want to move him, if possible. This postseason, A-Rod proved that he’s no longer interested in playing the Yankees brand of baseball, and per usual, he is focused on himself and his own needs. Usually the Yankees can deal with these egos, but in the case of A-Rod, it may be too much for even them to handle. If A-Rod wants to mess around with ladies in the dugout and play below average baseball, Miami is a great fit.
With A-Rod gone, next comes the Derek Jeter problem. While I don’t think his injury will be career ending, his productivity and his longevity could have taken a massive hit. Derek Jeter was seemingly Mr. Invincible. He played in most every game possible. An injury not only derailed his air of invincibility, but could have derailed his teams hope for the near future. It’s no mystery that Derek Jeter is getting up there in age, and even before this injury, his impending retirement was already a looming question. Now it will be even more so, and may even make it’s way to distraction status sooner rather than later.
The next domino to collapse may come in the form of Nick Swisher. Swisher, while not the most prominent of the Yankee players, surely had a very important role on this Yankees team. His production in the postseason took a sharp decline and heading into free agency this offseason, Swisher may want to test the waters (Oh please Mr. Swisher, won’t you come to Cleveland?). Swisher’s value to this team has always been quite understated. He was a glue guy that kept this Yankees team from getting ahead of themselves. His comedic demeanor and on-field production brought nothing but positives to the Yankees, and believe it or not, they will miss that more than they could imagine.
With A-Rod out of town, and the Captain on the decline, Swisher in Cleveland, (I asked nicely!) the Yankees are seemingly still very talented. Robinson Cano caught fire at the end of the season, adding onto his already MVP caliber statistics and Mark Teixiera is still a very productive hitter and fielder. However, the Yankees won’t have that spark. They won’t have that leader who can not only play a leadership role off the field, but can lead on the field as well. A guy like Curtis Granderson, who can hit the crap out of the baseball and is one of the best outfielders in the game, has never been put in a leadership position, especially in a place like New York. For as long as I can remember it’s been Jeter. Even when A-Rod came to town, Jeter still was and always will be “The Captain”. To have anyone else filling that role on the field would certainly be unwelcome and would allow for a great amount of struggle before the checkbook balanced the win total.
A guy like C.C. Sabathia could certainly be a leader for the Yankees, but again, Sabathia was a leader in Cleveland, not in a place like New York. He just doesn’t have that confidence about him that you would see in a leader. And he’s a pitcher. That in itself would call into question his ability to be a leader simply because he’s on the mound only once every five days.
While he may not be a leader, Sabathia can still pitch at an elite level. Outside of C.C. however, I’m calling the Yankees rotation into question. Andy Pettite has most likely thrown his last pitch in a Yankee uniform, Derek Lowe is Derek Lowe, Phil Hughes has been a massive disappointment, and we seemingly know nothing about Boone Logan. Hiroki Kuroda could be the only other legitimate pitcher for the Yankees.
On top of their starting rotation, their bullpen could be in serious trouble as well. While Mo Rivera is slowly making his way out of the big leagues and into the Hall of Fame, the Yankees bullpen will surely falter in finding a closer. Joba has been incredibly inconsistent, so I think the only option could be Rafael Soriano.
All of these little things may cause a massive domino affect against the Yankees. First Rivera goes down, then A-Rod starts acting up, then Jeter goes down, then they get swept handily by the Tigers, and finally Swisher ends up leaving town. While, granted, the Yankees have the checkbook and the talent on hand to simply “reload” rather than “rebuild”, next year is going to be a transitional one for the Yankees. I think Joe Girardi, for the first time in a Yankee uniform, could certainly be on the hot seat going into next season, and unfortunately for him, it won’t be his fault.
How great would it be to see a postseason without the New York Yankees? It would be a most welcoming breath of fresh air. Who knows, maybe the Indians with Francona, Youkilis, Swisher, and McCarthy could take their spot? Of course, I’m kidding, but with the Yankees out of the postseason, I believe it would be smiles all around.
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove