There are four Yankees fans who write for Sports Unbiased (Rich Stowe, Adam Solowiei, Mike Santangelo, and Mike Tursi) so we decided to ask those four some questions about the Yankees in 2013 and 2014, some questions about Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera, and to finally decide who the greatest Yankees of all-time are.
This article deals with what Yankees fans believe went wrong in 2013 and how the Yankees will do in 2014. Continue reading to see what their answers were. There are also polls after every question that you can vote on as well to let your opinions be known.
What was the biggest reason the Yankees “failed” in 2013?
Rich Stowe: While I might be tempted to say age or injuries (both played a huge part), it was the ownership being frugal in the off-season and letting Russell Martin and Nick Swisher walk, and not finding suitable replacements at any level for the aging/injured stars (ARod, Jeter, Tex) that they knew were going to have problems coming into this season. Yes they signed Kevin Youkillis to fill ARod’s slot, but that didn’t work out to well either.
Mike Santangelo: I think most of the blame for the Yankees failure this year can come down to injuries. Now, all teams deal with injuries, but the sheer volume of top stars that were injured this year for the Yankees is pretty extensive – Jeter, Granderson, Youkilis, Teixeria, A-Rod, Pettitte, and Hafner just to name few. Some of these issues can be attributed to the age of the Yankees for sure, but I don’t think there’s much doubt that if those guys are healthy the Yankees probably win six or seven more games and make their way at least in to the Wild Card round.
Mike Tursi: Injuries and a “tired” bullpen once they got some of their regular lineup back. Also, CC’s struggles.
Adam Solowiei: Age is the reason. Age tied to injury to be more specific. When you consider Jeter, Rodriguez, and Teixeira are all on the wrong side of 30 and closer to 40 for a couple, then you cannot lose that much quality (say what you want about A-Rod but he is a superior option to anything else at third this season) and expect to contend for a World Series title – it is just to hard. You could argue bench depth could be an option as well but if injury was not there then the point is moot. In fact when you look at the lineup the Yankees used this year it is remarkable they were in the playoff hunt until late September.
With the Yankees “failure” in 2013, what are the top-3 things they need to do/focus on in the off-season leading into the 2014 season?
Rich Stowe: 1) Resign Cano to a contract that is seven years and around 20 – 25 million per year. He’s not worth 10 years nor 30 million per year. He is one of the best players in the game and if they don’t resign him, it will be years before they even compete for the playoffs again. Cano was the only star among the position players in 2013 and you can’t let him walk.
2) Resign Joe Girardi – what Girardi with this roster (that at times had less payroll on the field than the Astros) was amazing. The Yankees held on longer than I thought they would and didn’t get eliminated from the playoffs until the last week of the season. If they let him go, who will they bring that could do better? I can’t think of anyone.
3) Get pitchers. They need to replace Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain and find a replacement for the setup role that Dave Robertson will be vacating. Kuroda, Nova, and Sabathia will be fine at the top of the rotation but they need a 4th and 5th starter as well. They can’t win if the pitchers are giving up 5+ runs a game – their offense isn’t that potent right now.
Mike Santangelo: There’s quite a few issues the Yankees have as of now. But top three? 1) - I think is just getting younger, the Yankees need an infusion of younger blood in to the clubhouse. They may not start as the older stars keep going, but having them there learning is definitely going to be a big thing.
2) Finding a true ace – Sabathia has been a workhorse for the Yankees, and he’s been the ace they paid for more years than not. But his performance is starting to go downhill, and the Yankees need that anchor at the top of their rotation.
3) Spend wisely – I love Robinson Cano, but they cannot give another 30 year old a 10 year contract, especially not for the money he is rumored to be looking for. There is no doubt he’s the best second baseman in the game, there’s no doubt he is a valuable part of the batting order, and the defense, of the Yankees. What he isn’t though, is worth $30 million/year. So they might need to find an adequate fill in at second base when they make the right decision to not sign him for that kind of money.
Mike Tursi: I guess that depends on how much they plan on sticking to the magic $189 million number and whether or not A-Rod is suspended and for how long. Outside of that, the top-3 things should be starting pitching, catcher, and resigning Cano.
Adam Solowiei: Just three? 1) Bench Depth – they must build a better supporting cast in case of injury or for rest of some of the older players.
2) They must NOT sign Cano to a 10 year deal for 300M or even less. The deal should be no more than five or six years to avoid what the Yankees are seeing with other contracts.
3) Derek Jeter – The organization must decide (with Jeter) what the future is. He cannot be the everyday shortstop. With his weakened range (which was not great for a long time before) and advanced age, they must agree even if that means parting ways. They cannot bring in a younger shortstop with Jeter over his head.
How do you think the Yankees will do in 2014 – miss playoffs, make playoffs, win division, ALCS, World Series appearance, World Series victory?
Rich Stowe: this is tough this early in the off-season, but if they make the right moves, they should make the playoffs (probably as a Wild Card) and then get eliminated in the ALDS against either the Red Sox or Tigers.
Mike Santangelo: At this point I think the Yankees will miss the playoffs next year. The Steinbrenner’s have decreed that they will get below the luxury tax threshold this upcoming year to reset the penalties they are paying yearly. With very few top prospects in their farm system, this means that the Yankees will not be bringing in top stars via free agency, nor will they have young studs to anchor their team. On top of that, this will be a transition year from Mariano Rivera to David Robertson. Robertson is a great pitcher, but the comfort level that comes from having Mariano Rivera in the bullpen is gone. Robinson will blow a few saves and, unlike Mariano, fans and media will be calling for his head. How he handles that pressure and scrutiny will go a long way towards deciding how long he stays a closer.
Mike Tursi: Obviously, it will depend on the health of guys like Jeter and Teixeira. I think that they are a division winner. At the very least, a wild card team. I think that they can return to the ALCS. But again, that will largely depend on health and the starting pitching.
Adam Solowiei: Miss the playoffs. Unless of course they have a great off-season. They are too thin at key positions, tied to tough contracts for players on the decline and the level of competition on the AL East and for the AL Wild Card is tough. But I say this with hope. If they stand fast, allow the contracts to expire, don’t get locked into Cano for a decade and can use the season to bring up Sanchez and other young pitching talent then it could set a team up with money to spend for another run. I lived through the 80s so I can deal with two years.
About the Author: Rich Stowe
Rich Stowe has written for many sports-based websites over the years including Informative Sports.com, Sports Nickel.com, Dugout Report.com and was a Featured Columnist for MLB and the New York Yankees for Bleacher Report. Rich is a Lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). He is also a self-published author - his book "From Abused Puppy to Beloved Family Member: The Life Story of Jacob the Rottweiler" can be found for the Kindle and in print through amazon.com.