Are The 2012 Yankees Really Better Than The 2011 Yankees?
A lot has happened for the Yankees since the ALDS loss to the Detroit Tigers last fall. The Yankees acquired Michael Pineda while sending away Jesus Montero & Hector Noesi to Seattle. The Yankees signed former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda who luckily remembers one teammate very well; Russell Martin. Veteran pitcher A.J Burnett ended his tenure with the Yankees as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2 minor leaguers. Jorge Posada retired, ending his tenure with the Yankees & the Yankees re-signed Andruw Jones (who had to change his uniform number). But when you think about it, are the 2012 Yankees better than the 2011 Yankees? After reading an article on ESPN New York by Wallace Matthews, it had me wondering if we are really all that much better. Here is an excerpt from the article:
As we head into Spring Training 2012, there is really only one question that needs to be asked and answered of the New York Yankees: Are they better than they were in 2011?
It is a question we can ask today but can’t really answer for another nine months, when the story of the upcoming season is completed.
And the answer might seem to be an easy one: Sure, they’re better, because with one fell swoop on Friday the 13th of January, GM Brian Cashman settled all remaining family business by adding not one, but two formidable starting pitchers to the Yankees rotation.
On paper, that seems to be the answer because if there was one glaring weakness going into the 2011 season, it was a rotation made up of CC Sabathia, two kids, two retreads and a head case.
But in reality, the starting pitching wasn’t the problem at all when the 2011 season’s moment of truth arrived. Even A.J. Burnett pitched well in his one and only start of the postseason, working into the sixth inning and holding the Detroit Tigers to just one run in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, a game the Yankees won, 10-1, to bring their season home for one more night.
The fact that that night turned into a bitter disappointment was not the fault of Ivan Nova, who had to leave after two innings, or of Sabathia, pressed into service on short rest, or of Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano,David Robertson or Mariano Rivera, all of whom pitched well enough for the Yankees to win.
The fault lay squarely at the feet of the offense, the heart of this Yankees team, the one area that is supposed to be unassailable.
When you think about it, the New York Yankees offense is practically the same as it was last year. The same guys (minus Jorge Posada) who were all in the lineup last year. So what is so different about the Yankees?
This season on paper the Yankees look as if they are the team to beat. With the rotation coming into full form and an offense that led the league in home runs, the Yankees look as if they are the favorites to win the American League East. But the thing is that you can’t predict how the team is going to play. An example would be the 2011 Phillies. With Roy Halladay & Cliff Lee as the 1-2 punch and with an offense that was potent, you would think that the Phillies wold go all the way to claim the World Series.
Wrong. Halladay lost the final game of the series 1-0 to Chris Carpenter & the 2011 World Series Champions the St. Louis Cardinals.
Here’s another example. Alex Rodriguez & Mark Teixeira are power guys who are able to bring home a lot of runs. Brett Gardner is a guy who has the ‘Garderian” swing and is able to get on base and steal. Mind you, Gardner doesn’t hit a lot of HR’s and doesn’t get a lot of RBI’s. In the 2011 postseason, Mark Texeira & Alex Rodriguez were horrendous while Brett Gardner all of a sudden became Mr. Clutch and was one of the few who was able to hit Justin Verlander.
So to prove my point, are the 2012 Yankees better than the 2011 Yankees? We don’t know. We’d have to watch them play for 9 months before we can determine whether or not they are better. But hopefully what is on paper will translate to the field this year.
To read the full ESPN article Click Here