Monday, January 31, 2011

Is This....The End?

The Core Four (possibly three, now) are at the tail-end of their careers. A-Rod is almost 36. The starting rotation has only two reliable starters. Is this finally the end of Yankee dominance?

I’ve been hearing for a while this winter, how the Yankees are aging, and not like fine wine. How Derek Jeter can no longer produce. How Teixeira can go down the same path as Jason Giambi. And how the Yankees’ long run of postseason success since the mid 90s could be coming to an end. Well, that actually got me thinking. Is it the end?

Let me give you a hint. The answer starts with an N, and ends, with an O. No.

This season, the Yankees are clearly not the favorites to win the World Series. And that’s completely understandable, and true. The Yankees failed to do anything big this offseason, and in the process their rivals improved, acquiring two superstars named Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.  And by the way, that Cliff Lee guy went to this team down in Philadelphia. Filled with veterans, this Yankee team right now looks to be a border-line 90-win team.

But, to reassure you all, this is NOT the end. This is not a year like 1982, where the Yankees come off a World Series appearance, and then just suck for the next 10-12 years. This isn’t the last time we’ll see meaningful baseball in the Bronx for a while. And this isn’t the last time we’ll see the Yankees in the playoffs. If anything, people should consider these next couple years the start of something grand.

Take a look at the names on the Winter 2011 Free Agent Market – Mark Buehrle, Rich Harden, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Jon Garland, Aramis Ramirez – all big impact players (mostly pitchers) that can be a big force in the Yankees’ future teams of 2012, 2013, etc. And I’m certain a couple of those players will be sporting navy blue pinstripes very soon.

And then there is always the magic of trades. There’s always a big player on the block around mid-season and the Yankees of course nearly acquired Cliff Lee last season before all that stuff went down. I don’t know who could be on the market (KING FELIX, HOPEFULLY), but I’m certain if the Yankees need him, this time, Cashman will get the job done.

Also, we have once again a great farm system. Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances are leading the pack, one a power-hitting catcher, and the other a pitcher with just nasty stuff. Other players like Colin Curtis and Slade Heathcott are also getting ready for their respective calls to the Big Show.

Finally, we still have some pretty kick-ass players on the roster today. Robinson Cano has blossomed into an MVP-caliber player. CC is still the man. Mark Teixeira is still slugging 30 every year; why should Yankee fans really be worried? To me, while the old gaurd may be leaving soon, a new core of players has been formed. Young, powerful players that can be the new face of the Yankees for many years to come.

To be honest, this season, there may not be confetti down the Canyon of Heroes, but in the very near future, there’s a chance the Yankees will win #28. And #29. and 30. And so on.

And as Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over!” And this season hasn’t even begun. Go Yankees!

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