Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2013 AB4AR Season Preview: The Rotation

(The Air Jordan cleats are never not badass.  Courtesy of The Daily News)

Continuing the trend that's become commonplace in the last few years, the Yankees enter the 2013 season with their starting rotation as their greatest strength.  Discontinuing what has also been a yearly trend, they won't enter 2013 with a lot of questions about new members or expected performance of returning members.  The five guys who will make up the starting rotation are all known commodities at this point in their careers, with the natural amount of wiggle room for production improvement or regression that comes with every new season applicable to each.  The biggest question that most of them will face this season will be health-related, and it's how each pitcher answers that question that will ultimately determine just how good this group will be this season.

Handicapping The Final Days Of The Outfield Roster Competition

(Boesch is probably in.  Who's joining him?  Courtesy of Kathy Willens/Daily News)

Spring Training is hitting its home stretch this week in the final handful of days before camp closes and the 25-man roster gets set.  While other roster competitions are either over or have been rendered moot by injuries, the battle for the final outfield spots is coming down to the wire.  The injuries to C-Grand and Teix have left not one, but two spots up for grabs, and the Yankees certainly haven't been shy about adding bodies to the competition.  With just a few more games to go and some guys' positions looking stronger than others, here's the standings as I see them and the odds that each contender sees his name picked for the Opening Day 25-man.

This Lineup Tells You Everything You Need To Know

(Here's the lineup post that sparked a lot of discussion over at IIATMS/TYA yesterday)

1) Brett Gardner- CF
2) Eduardo Nunez- SS
3) Robinson Cano- 2B
4) Kevin Youkilis- 3B
5) Vernon Wells- DH
6) Juan Rivera- 1B
7) Brennan Boesch- RF
8) Ichiro Suzuki- LF
9) Francisco Cervelli- C

That, or some similar variation of that, is what the New York Yankee starting lineup is going to look like one week from today. It’s a far cry from what the lineup has been the last few years and a far cry from what the lineup was expected to be this season, but it actually perfectly encapsulates everything the Yankees are right now. It shows how they’re an old, injured team with a lot of payroll tied up in its older, injured players. It shows how the self-imposed payroll crunch has limited the team’s ability to seek out trade and free agent options that best meet its needs. And it shows how little impact MiL depth the team has in its own farm system to help overcome the injuries and lack of big-time trade/FA activity.

We aren’t quite into “darkest timeline” territory yet, but it’s getting close and the Wells trade that’s expected to be finalized today does signal dark times in Yankeeland. This is a team and an organization handcuffed by its own future plans, plans that don’t allow for wiggle room to address problems in the present and result in the front office agreeing to take on $13 million for a player who’s barely worth $1.3 million at this stage in his career. Some of the other guys and gals might come on here later today and try to find some positives in this mess, and more power to them for trying. I just don’t have the energy to try to do that right now, and I definitely don’t have the right shade of lipstick to put on this pig.