Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The New York Mess II

The problems for the New York Mets and New York Yankees stem so much farther than just underachievement.  The two teams combine for a payroll well over $300 million and represent the highest (Yankees) and seventh highest (Mets) payrolls in the MLB.  The Mets are losing money due to their owner's investment scandals and the Yankees just can't seem to live up to their expectations.  The Yankees have lost six in a row and the Mets seem to hover right under that .500 mark.  The Mets are plagued with injuries once again, while the Yankees' stars are past their prime.  The starting infield makes $80 million, not even counting the catcher.  The worst part of this all is that the Yankees don't have much wiggle room.  Money is tied up long term and they cannot make drastic changes to the roster without trading away superstars with massive contracts.  This team already is locked into $153 million next year to just 12 players.  With Jorge Posada's terrible play and controversy surrounding whether he wants out of New York, he will likely not be a Yankee next year.  His contract is up after the season and many believe he will retire.  The Yankees would be delighted for that to happen, since his huge contract will be off the books and the fact they wouldn't have to deal with releasing one of their beloved players. 

With all that being said, the Yankees have enough money to comfortably fill out the roster.  The problem lies in their current players' inability to put together a championship team.  Talent-wise, the Yankees are probably the second best team in the AL East, but the whole package together puts the Rays above them.  I do not believe the Yankees can win the title with their current roster, in fact I don't think they could make the playoffs.  I will go as far as to say that the Blue Jays and Orioles will stay competitive with the Yankees for the rest of the season.  The Blue Jays and Orioles have bright futures with young stars and potent offenses.  The Orioles have an ace in the making with Sean Britton, while the Blue Jays boast the hottest player in baseball (Jose Bautista).  As of right now, the Yankees core players are aging and showing it through their terrible play.  It is easy for me to find fault in the Yankees, since I despise this team, but it is hard to ignore the numbers.  Alex Rodriguez is hitting .242 with an OPS of .781.  In his career. A-Rod is a .302 hitter with a .956 OPS. Albeit this is a small sample size, but A-Rod just looks so much older than he did just last season.  Maybe its unfair to have such high expectations for one player, but with a salary of $32,000,000, it's natural. 

I believe that in order for the Yankees to be a championship contender, they will have to turn the page.  That page might take a few years to turn though, considering how much money is tied up.  They should try and build the team around their core of Robinson Cano, C.C. Sabathia, and Derek Jeter.  It would be an awful situation for the Yankees to cut/trade or do anything but play Jeter, as he is the most important player in the franchises past 30 years.  Cano is a flat out beast and he, along with Chase Utley, are by far the best second basemen in the league.  Alex Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira, and Rafael Soriano are virtually untradeable due to their ridiculous contracts.  Soriano is a great relief pitcher, but as an 8th inning setup man, is being paid way too much; however, he is the likely successor to Mariano Rivera, so the Yankees would be wise to keep him.  It is likely that the Yankees will try and win with this group of players for the next two to three years, even though each year they will get exponentially older.  The Yankees could be facing an end of an era, but I doubt they'll admit that. 

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