Having just finished analyzing the Yankee’s pitchers and infielders, we now turn our attention to the Yankee outfielders and catchers.
In the off season the Yankee acquired Carlos Beltran to play right field. He has already broken down at the age of 37. The starting outfield now consists of Ichiro Suzuki, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner. Gardner leads them in power with 9 home runs. Suzuki at the age of 40 is not in the Yankee future plans. The outfield lacks power but is very good defensively. Ellsbury was acquired because of his ability as a leadoff batter. However, injuries and lack of hitting by Soriano (just released), Beltran, and McCann has forced Ellsbury to bat third in the lineup. Gardner and Ellsbury are both excellent defenders, steal plenty of bases, and get on base. Yes, they are both in the Yankees future plans. The third outfielder must be a power hitter. Beltran no longer can fill that role. I give the outfield a B grade.
The Yankees acquired McCann as a two-way catcher. After a miserable start with the bat he has recently raised his BA to .240 and showed his home run hitting ability. I think McCann will have a good second half and give the Yankees what they paid for in the future. Cervelli is an excellent backup catcher. I give a grade of B+ to the catchers.
The average age of the current starting lineup consisting of McCann, Teixeira, Roberts, Jeter, Johnson, Suzuki, Gardner, and Ellsbury is 35. Solarte and Wheeler, both career minor league infielders have shown periods of good hitting but can the Yankees really depend on two career minor leaguers to fill the infield void? For a similar reason the Yankees cannot expect Almonte to be that power hitting third outfielder.
Many of their minor league promising players have already been dealt to other teams to bring back such aging stars as Soriano, Wells, Beltran, and Overbay. The only trading chips I see for the Yankees are their All-Star pitcher Dellin Betances and their three minor league catchers, Gary Sanchez, JR Murphy, and Austin Romine. GM Cashman has already said Betances will not be traded. Without trading chips, this leave the Yankees who need infield help, outfield help, and pitching help one option left. That option is to overpay for players. Now, the sons of George are not liberal spenders like dad was. They want to keep the Yankees under 189 million dollars. Most of your future available pitchers like Kershaw or Scherzer will demand long-term contracts for about 25 million per year. The available infielders, such as shortstops JJ Hardy and Hanley Ramirez, will also demand expensive long-term contracts. Therefore, the Steinbrenners have two choices. Either go way over budget or continue to sign old retread players for one year and hope they will not break down during the year. Unfortunately, I think if the past can predict the future expect new old retreads to become Yankees.
Yes, the year 2014 will mark the beginning of another period of darkness for the Yankees. This period like the prior dark periods can last from five to ten years.
We now switch our attention to the Yankees cross-town rivals the New York Mets. Unlike the Yankees dark future, I see a new bright future for the Mets.
Whereas, the Yankees have been buying the old retread players who continue to break down; the Mets have been selling their older players at their peak to get young prospects. Recently, they traded R.A. Dickey to Toronto for Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard and they traded John Buck and Marlon Bird to the Pirates for VIc Black and Dilson Herrera. Look for the Mets to continue this trend by dealing Bartolo Colon and Bobby Abreu for some top prospects. Both Colon and Abreu are having very good years and can put some contending team over the top.
To be continued: