- Why did the Yankees lose the ALDS? Were they the better team?
You know, it always seems to me that in a five game series, anything is possible. It is a small enough of a sample size that a team can get hot or cold enough to win the three games they need. I don't think that the Yankees were necessarily a better team, but I don't think they were worse either. In a series that short, sometimes talent just doesn't win out.
I don't think the Yankees were helped by the rain-out of Game 1 after it had started, as they could have used Sabathia for longer most likely in Game 5, but I don't know how much that would have changed the outcome of the game.
- What can they do to improve in 2012?
They need starting pitching that they can trust, probably a No. 2 type. The thing that seemed to keep coming up during the playoffs was that the team did not know what they were going to do after Sabathia took his turn. I think they will go after C.J. WIlson and Yu Darvish both, and likely end up with at least one of them.
If they somehow didn't end up with one of them, I could see them looking to try and make a trade. The team has a much better farm system than they used to, and with players like Manny Banuelos, Austin Romine, and Dellin Betances, they could probably find a solid No. 2-3 starter on the trade market as well. Pitchers rumored to be available that would make some sense could be Jonathan Sanchez or Gio Gonzalez. Another name that I actually think they could go after if they were hoping to just spend money and not give up high-level prospects could be Carlos Zambrano. He's only under contract for 2012, and it's become abundantly clear that he will not be back in Chicago next year.
- Which will be the biggest albatross contract in coming years, A-Rod, Teixeira, Sabathia or Burnett?
I think the one they are going to come to regret by the end of the contracts is the A-Rod one. Sabathia seems like the type that will still find a way regardless of how his conditioning may turn out. He seems like he would find a way to pitch well regardless. As ugly as the Burnett contract may turn out to be, it only has two more seasons left on it. Burnett still manages to pitch extremely well every once in a while.
The problem for the A-Rod contract seems to be the fact that the only other place to move him if he can't play thidbase any more is to DH, as firstbase is occupied by Teixeira. Throw in that A-Rod is five years older than Tex and also under contract for an extra season beyond Tex, and it looks like the most likely contract to be a problem by the end.
- Should Russell Martin be the primary catcher again in 2012, or should it go to the offensively superior Jesus Montero?
I'm not familiar enough with the complaints about Montero with regard to his defensive abilities, but the fact seems to be that the consensus around the Majors is that he cannot be an everyday catcher. I think Martin had a much better year than expected, and provided at least average defense behind the plate. Since Martin is under team control for another season, there's no harm really in keeping him and hoping that Montero might pick up enough to make him serviceable behind the plate for 2013.
To me though, if they think that he cannot become an everyday catcher, they either need to figure out somewhere for him to play in the field long-term (maybe right field?), or use him to help acquire a solid starting pitcher. I believe that they will need that DH spot to help rest their veterans while keeping them in the lineup, and I think it will become a problem having a player, regardless of his skill at the plate, who can't really be moved elsewhere to allow for that.
Thanks very much, Jason!
I can imagine the uproar if the Yanks landed both Yu Darvish and C.J. Wilson.