Yankee fans are still scratching their heads following the recent postseason disappointment. While they might want to settle in and enjoy their Jets or Giants, this playoff run was too frustrating to quickly move on.
The Yankees were historically bad at the plate, batting .188 in the postseason, an MLB worst for any team to play at least seven playoff games. Additionally, it was the first time the Yankees had been swept in the playoffs since the Royals swept them in the 1980 ALCS. Couple those numbers with the off the field drama, (see Rodriguez, Alex), and you had a recipe for turmoil in the Bronx.
Not shockingly, many fans and even some pundits believe blowing up the Yanks will fix things overnight. Unfortunately, there is no overnight fix for this team.
Alex Rodriguez has been a lightning rod on the Yankees for the last several years. I never thought I could muster the following statement, but . . . I feel bad for A-Rod.
A-Rod didn't help the playoff cause, but he wasn't the sole reason behind the failure. By sitting Rodriguez for the final couple games of the ALCS, the Yankee front office made him their scapegoat. But try and get the savvy fan to buy the "It's all Alex's fault" line. I believe most Yankee fans are too smart for that. They know the numbers, and understand the problem was far greater than Rodriguez.
Of the nine Yankees with over 20 at bats this postseason, five batted below .200, and A-Rod wasn't even the worst (Nick Swisher, .167, Russell Martin, .161, Rodriguez, .120, Curtis Granderson, .100, and Robinson Cano, .075). This was not simply an A-Rod choke job.
As we knew all season long, this Yankee team was an old squad that relied heavily on the home run. Problem was, when the postseason rolled around and the best pitchers consistently got the ball, it wasn't as easy to put the ball over the fence.
Whether or not A-Rod stays in New York next year won't make an enormous impact on the 2013 season. Some fans may believe he's a clubhouse cancer, but all reports I've read say he's fairly well liked in the locker room. Maybe the Marlins are a serious trade partner. But whether they trade him or not, the Yankees bid against themselves for A-Rod and have no one to blame for such an awful contract.
The Yankees have decisions to make on free agents Andy Pettitte, Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda, Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, and Mariano Rivera. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano each have options which are expected to be picked up. Regardless of what management decides with its free agents, the Yankees need to get younger. That doesn't happen overnight with a farm system that appears to be overrated compared with what scouts thought it was a couple of years ago.
Signing Josh Hamilton and/or Zack Greinke would be a bad move for the Yankees. Think these current Yankees aren't performing under the enormous pressure that comes with wearing pinstripes in October? Josh Hamilton is a .169 playoff hitter. Add in his personal struggles along with a $200 million contract, and you create a potential disaster in the Bronx. Greinke previously acknowledged psychological issues, and the stress of playing in New York certainly wouldn't help those.
This is one of the few times in GM Brian Cashman's career that he can't quick fix the Yanks. While some fans realized this day would come, I'm sure most were in denial. The Yankees should still be good enough to contend for a playoff spot. But Yankee fans might want to think beyond next season for World Championship number 28.
Pete is a lifelong Montauk resident and former sports talk host at 88.7FM WEER. He can be reached via email at Peterfmundo@gmail.com.