Grading the 2013 Yankees

newyorker.cover2013 – Mo made it a season to remember but if it were not for “number 42″ it would be one I’d love to forget. Here’s how I grade this year’s New York Yankees:

1B Overbay – B: An emergency signing after Teixeira’s WBC wrist injury, I did not expect much from Overbay offensively so the fact that he produced all those big hits was indeed a pleasant surprise. Still, I think Cashman could have done better than this guy.

2B Cano – A: Just the fact that he was one of the few regulars to stay healthy for the full season made him this year’s Yankee MVP. His offense went up a notch as soon Granderson and A-Rod got back and Soriano was acquired to give him some protection. Definitely the best player on a bad Yankee team and still the best second baseman in baseball, but if the reports are true that he wants $300 million for ten years to remain in NY I would not make the deal.

SS Nunez – C: His offense was horrible at the beginning of the year and then after getting hurt, his bat picked up but his defense went down the tubes. He may have finally convinced Yankee brass he’s not the best choice for Jeter’s successor.

3B Youklis-to-A-Rod – F: Horrible move by Cashman to let Chavez walk and then sign Youklis, bad back and all.

C Stewart & Romine – D -: Another horrible decision by Yankee front office to let Russell Martin go to Pittsburgh and try to save a few dollars at one of the most important positions in all of sports. Though I respect and like the guy a lot, Stewart would have trouble hitting .250 in a Little League. Only bright spot was Romine’s growing confidence at the plate as season went on.

OF Wells – C -: Another poor move by Cashman. When deal was announced and Yankee Media Dept stressed how much of Wells’ salary the Angels would be paying for the next two seasons, I knew what it was all about. Another example of Yanks trying to be clever with their bucks instead of doing what they needed to do to fill holes in their lineup. Wells started out strong but quickly fell back to form.

OF Gardner- B: Second most productive player in this year’s lineup but certainly not a guy who can carry the offense for long stretches and the fact that he’s ending this year on the DL once again is an indication he may be too injury prone to depend on long term.

OF Suzuki – C+ – I didn’t want Yanks to sign this guy for two years but it sounded like they had to, to get him back. Whatever, the reason, he is nothing but a good fourth outfielder at this stage of his career and Yanks already have too many of those.

DH Hafner – D – Again an example of Cashman trying to prove how clever he is instead of truly filling holes in his lineup. Yanks could have re-signed Ibanez or grabbed Soriano from the Cubs much earlier.

Soriano – A-, Granderson- C, A-Rod-C, Reynolds-C+, Nix-B

Starting Pitching – C+: Sabathia had worst year of his career; Kuroda, ended up being the no-better-than .500 winning percentage guy he’s been all along; Hughes was unbearable;  Nova and Pettitte ended up being the two best starters down the stretch.

Bullpen – B+: Mo wasn’t perfect but he was better than good. Robertson was too. Logan did well but should not pitch against righties. Claireborn showed promise, Kelley faded after a strong start and Joba may be ruined forever.

Manager – B: Joe Girardi – I was going to give him an A- but his team folded up on him down the stretch. He does deserve a new contract from the Steinbrenner’s though.

What really bothers me is the fact that no Yankee prospects emerged during a season when doing so was absolutely necessary. Not a single young pitcher or position player in the entire organization took advantage of the bountiful opportunities to step up and fill holes at the big league level.

GM – Brian Cashman – D- – The future is here and it sure don’t look pretty and this is the guy most responsible. The deals he didn’t want to make for the two Soriano’s ended up being two of the better deals the Yankees made since they won it all in 2009.

My final observation: Injuries kept Yanks out of postseason this year. Despite a slew of bad front-office moves, if the Yanks had any combination of Jeter, Granderson and Teixeira in their lineup for a full season they would probably have at least sneaked into postseason with a wild card spot. They should have re-signed Russell Martin and Erik Chavez. CC Sabathia’s drop off was a devastating blow to this team’s starting pitching as was Phil Hughes year-long ineptness and Hiroki Kuroda’s late season collapse. Its now too late to trade Hughes or Joba and Yanks won’t end up getting a draft choice for either.

As horrible as this season was for the Yankees, Yankee fans like myself will always remember it as being Mariano Rivera’s final year in pinstripes. It has been a privilege and an honor to watch this guy get the last three outs of so many Yankee victories for all these years. He was the best closer in baseball during his playing days, the very best there ever was and I honestly feel no one will ever come along who will do that very difficult job any better than this guy has done it for my favorite baseball team. So long Mo! I admired the way you performed on the field and the way you lived your life off of it.

1 Comment

Great summary Mike!! I totally agree with you on Cashman . . . foolish to let Russell Martin, Ibanez and Chavez go and the pick ups of Wells and Hafner were disasters. After a good start, Wells went down the tubes and Stewart is not even close to an everyday catcher. I can’t see them attempting to sign Kuroda and with Pettitte leaving, there are now plenty of openings on the starting rotation. As far as I am concerned, Joe Girardi gets an “A” and to me, is the best manager in baseball. Too many times they fielded and average AAA team and he found a way to win. With those injuries and guys like Kuroda breaking down, it is amazing that the Yankees finished .500. And, as you said, there is not much in the farm system, and with the goal to get under the cap, I am afraid that 2014 may be yet another lost year.

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