Although most people are rather pleased that the Jeter and Rivera deals are about to get done, I find myself feeling filled with dread. I don't derive any pleasure from the endless speculations about what Jeter is worth, why was the team humiliating him, what a greedy guy he is, or any of that. On the contrary, I thought the whole thing should have been done privately. I also think the Red Sox offer to Mo was purely made from spite to drive up the Yankee payroll.
The reason that I'm on the ledge, looking down, is that I don't see a championship team re-signing its Hall of Famers. I see a team committing itself to a bunch of guys very likely to disintegrate mid- contract. And I include Mariano in this group.
The 2010 Yankees looked to me to be a team withering before our eyes. While most people point to the collapse of the starting pitching, and that was the biggest part, there is also the age issue. Teixeira is in his 30s, spent some time hurt, and had what was for him a subpar season. Should we be surprised if he's hurt again, or starts even slower?
While everyone, or mostly everyone, expects Derek Jeter to rebound from a .270 batting average and .340 OBP, how much of a rebound do they expect? In last year's "Will Jeter Break Ty Cobb's All Time Hit Record?" discussion (remember that?), most people just took his 196 hits per year for granted and projected it out. How about 150 hits, with 120 of them singles? What do you expect in 2014? If you're honest, not much.
ARod? He somehow willed himself to 30 homers last season. How likely is he to do it again? How likely is the 36 year old ARod to be less injured than the 35 year ARod? Still think he's lock to break the all time home run record? It looks less and less so, and do you really want to keep him at third base until he does it? As for defensive range on the left side of the infield, the Yankees should position Gardner in even further- between Jeter and Arod to plug the enormous gap they leave.
What of Mariano? He's not that ageless. His innings pitched have decreased every year for the last four, and his strike out rate is down. He's also been hurt (remember the shots of the heating pad on his ribs in the pen?). Again, he's 41- are you going to bet on fewer injuries in the future? Although we think he's incomparable, we might compare him to Trevor Hoffman, who went from unhittable to eminently hittable in the space of a few months- at age 41.
I hope Andy Pettitte comes back, I really do. I think he's comparable to Mike Mussina in his ability to still get people out in his late 30s throwing less hard, relying on breaking stuff, speed change, guile, and his goat stare. But again, will he be physically able to make more than 25 starts? Even if he comes back, 2011 looks like the last roundup, pardners.
Since the catching job appears to have been bequeathed to Montero, I will omit discussion of Posada, except to say that he's still on the roster.
At some point, the Yankees need to change "eras." The Core 4 era has to end and the new one has to start. There's too much talent for 2011 to become 1965, but it could easily become to 2002- 2008 era again- some bona fide stars surrounded by past their prime names who can't be dealt or released.
This is my fear, and why I'm on the ledge. Could someone please talk me down? [Quitter haters who want to see me jump need not apply].