Not the offseason for change

The Yankees concluded their 2011 season in a way that is all too familiar to us. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the sting of yet another brutal first round exit from the playoffs.  This one hurts a lot because it was all lined up so perfectly. We had Mariano Rivera and David Robertson available for two innings each, and we were coming home with momentum.  All we needed was one big hit and we could not get it. That is the main difference between the Yankees dynasty of the 90s and the last decade. Those teams had players like Bernie, Brosius, Tino, O’Neill, and Jeter who raised their game from the regular season to the playoffs. The teams of the last decade have had better regular seasons than postseasons.  However, another disappointing playoff series does not mean that this team should make radical changes this off-season.

Brian Cashman has always said you cannot make decisions based solely on the postseason. He is absolutely correct. The sample size is way too small to be considered worth more than the regular season. Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez obviously were the main goats of this postseason and. The only one of those three you could do anything with is Swisher.  Let’s say hypothetically, you do not pick up Swisher’s option, and you replace him with Michael Cuddyer.  You cannot guarantee me Cuddyer, or any other replacement, would hit in the playoffs. There is no possible way of knowing. However, I do know that Swisher will produce better in the regular season based on a larger sample size. Plus his 10 million dollar option is cheap and you can go out and find somebody else next year.  As for Teixeira and Rodriguez you have to hope they dedicate themselves this off-season to get better.  Teixiera needs to improve his mechanics from the left side as his line of .218/.327/.462/.788 suggests. Rodriguez needs to develop an exercise routine that can help him stay on the field.  Signing Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder to big bucks is not the answer with all money they have tied into Teixiera and Rodriguez. Texeira and Rodriguez improving is the only option.

This is also not the off-season for radical change because of the big free agent class next year.  Matt Kemp is an elite outfielder who could potentially replace Swisher. He is a five tool player and is only 27. He makes much more sense than Pujols or Fielder would.  Stud pitchers also will be available like Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Zack Grienke, John Danks, Shaun Marcum, and potentially Dan Haren and James Shields. Some of these guys may also be available at next year’s trade deadline. This is why the Yankees should not blow their money on C.J. Wilson or Yu Darvish this off-season. Sure they will need to sign or trade for a pitcher or two, but it does not have to be for major money. It is also why the Yankees do not have to go completely all out to extend CC Sabathia. I say 6 years at 150 million is a good meeting point. If Sabathia is dead set on 7 years letting him walk is probably the better option. The long term risk of a man who is close to 300 pounds is scary. All those innings will have to take its toll at some point right? Th St.Louis Cardinals are proved you do not need outstanding starting pitch to win a championship. You can win with clutch hitting and an outstanding bullpen. The Texas Rangers also got to the World Series without great starting pitching. So I would defiantly try to extend Sabathia, but it is not a necessity.

This Yankee team needs fine tuning this off-season and not a major overhaul. Winning 97 games in the AL East this year was a major accomplishment and should not be taken lightly. That is the sample size that you should trust more. The postseason is a complete crap shoot that can never be predicted.  However, if next year we have similar results in the postseason, we can consider more major moves because there will be elite players out there.  The outlook for the Yankees next year is bright and winning the World Series should be within our reach.

About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on October 30, 2011, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Good stuff. Nice read Matthew.

  2. Well done Matthew!

  3. Great column Matt! Way to nail it.

  4. Yankees lack role players on this team and I’m sorry, but even waiting for Matt Kemp and signing him is another example of foolish thinking on the Yankees part and here’s why. Matt Kemp will be 28 if the Yankees were to sign him in free agency next year. Ok, but he’s not going to be the same 324 hitter he is now 5 years from now. I want to find the guy who who will still be under 30 and I could still count on to give me that kind of production many years down the road. I don’t want Swisher back next year he’s over 30 now. Gardner is a good role player, but I think he’s a joke in the sense that with all his speed he is still only able to manage batting in the 260s. He should be hitting 280 with his speed. I wish there was a way to get rid of A Rod and Tex, but obviously like you detailed there is no way of doing that. Granderson’s a really good player and I don’t have a problem with them keeping him, but he’s in his 30s now and he doesn’t fit with what this Yankees team needs offensively. Yankees need more hitters like Michael Young and Robinson Cano, guys who hit for high averages. The only way to do that is for Cashman to learn from signing guys to long term contracts and start thinking about ways I could get guys from my farm system that fits the need of this time (less power reliant and OBP guys and more guys who kill the ball consistently.) The Yankees offense has been so bad in the postseason that it’s been predictable from year to year at last for me anyways. It won’t change in my opinion until the Yankees bring in more role players. Just look at the Cardinals with David Friese.

  5. Couple issues here bro. Get rid of Tex? Just stop it.No need to get rid of a guy who will put up around 35 and 120 a year and plays gold glove defense. Matt Kemp at 28 is in his prime bro he is about the same age as Cano. So you think Cano will be declining soon and he we should not sign long term? Didn’t think so. Yankees had their best bench in years this year bro. It cannot get much better than Chavez, Nunez, Jones, and Cervelli. Those role players performed this year. Batting average is an overrated stat.

    • Why do you think batting average is overrated? The game is changing with pitching getting better over the last few years. I know the Yankees scored a lot of runs last year but there were plenty of times when they couldn’t muster up a much needed hit.

  6. OPS is the number one stat for judging hitters without a doubt. Combines power with your ability to get on base. It is a new school game now and if you still think BA is more important you need to get with the times.

    • I do think if things continue as they have over the last 5 years that there will be more of a premium on batting average. I do think both the pitching has improved along with more aggressive defensive positioning has changed the the game. In 07 the average AL BA was .271 compared to .258 last year. The decrease in OBP, SLG an OPS over the same time period can all be attributed in a drop of BA. If you add in those 13 points of to Obp you only lose 2 points in the last 5 years and the ratio is about the same for SLG an OPS.

      Also in 07 there were 20 batters hitting 300+ compared to 12 in 2010 and 13 last year.

  7. Not that batting average is overrated but it certainly does not entail getting rid of Tex. Why the heck would you get rid of Tex. He will hit 35+ HR and 100+ RBI and consistently a Gold Glove defender. As Mike Francesa was talking about on his show, you cant just say you’ll get rid of a guy because of 3 poor postseasons. With 1 good postseason, all the “get rid of Tex” fans wll just look stupid. Look at A-Rod. He was awful in the playoffs and then came 2009. C’mon now.

  8. Not to mention wOBA Matthew.

  9. Michael….I heard you had/have NO power! Is that still the case? Many Conn. folks have been coming down to Long Island looking for home generators, only to find out, that they are very hard to find………..Stay warm.

  10. Yup no power and no generator

    • Michael D……it gets worse. Kei Igawa, is now a minor league free agent.
      Actually, nothing is worse than NO power for a week. Think of that first hot shower!

    • Michael/YFU…a commenter, just before your last post said..”Never will would this happen!”….Am I allowed to let him know that he should check his wording?

  11. I don’t have a problem with people arguing batting average is overrated compared to OBP, but if your gonna do that then you better support it with history in the playoffs where OBP wins over more than batting average. In my opinion OBP is only good for a regular season stat. The 2009 team won 103 games and 2011 team won 97 games. Ok both were enough to make it to the playoffs so that’s fine except people drastically overlook the differences in the offense. The 2009 Yankees pitched to a team ERA of 4.20 well just looking at that stat you would think to yourself that man there’s no way the Yankees made the playoffs pitching that way no less win 103 games. Then you look at the 2011 team who pitched to a team ERA of 3.75 and you think yourself yeah 97 wins is no doubt really good, but even so why did they win less games, but more importantly why did the 2009 team score 915 runs while the 2011 team scored 859 runs. Here’s my reason.
    1.) The 2009 team drew 663 walks while the 2011 team drew 627 walks. But the bigger difference is in the number of hits as a team. The 2009 team had 1604 hits while the 2011 team had 1452 hits. Now anyone who looks at these stats would only logically prefer the 152 more hits that the 2009 team generated as opposed to the 36 more walks that the 2009. Especially when a lot of those 152 more hits could mean a lot more key hits in big spots in a game. That’s why it didn’t really surprise me that the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs early this year, because unlike 2009, the 2011 Yankee team failed badly at winning 1 run games in situations where failure to get big hits most of the time explained their losing record in 1 run games. So I really thought that lack of hitting with runners in scoring position in those high leverage close regular season games would definitely carry over into the playoffs regardless of how many opportunities the Yankees set up with walks. As for Cano, I never said the Yankees can’t have guys who are 28, I’m just saying they have too many guys either over 30 or will be approaching 30. In other words they need to more 23 year olds in their lineup to go along with the guys at or approaching 30. Comparing Cano to Matt Kemp is not a good comparison. I guarantee you Kemp becomes a 240 hitter in 3 years, compared to Cano his hitting style won’t translate to longer success especially when Kemp strikes out a ton.

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