Now that the Yankees have given up hope of making the playoffs (if you disagree, look at last night's lineup), it is time place blame on those responsible. Finding someone or something to blame is necessary because crediting the Red Sox on their division title would be morally reprehensible.
If you are not overly upset with this season and would rather look forward to next year, choosing injuries is a solid
copout reason for the lack of success in 2013. The Yankees have had one of the worst runs of injuries seen in a long time losing Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, and Francisco Cervelli for a majority of the season. While the time missed by Jeter and A-Rod may have been expected to some degree, the Yankees were counting on production from Granderson, Teixeira, Youkilis, and Cervelli. Only Granderson provided even a small amount of help to the team. Offensively, the team floundered after April and never came together until it was too late to make a run. Injuries are the obvious answer, but booing injuries is difficult and people like to boo. On to some other options.
Many Yankees had poor seasons. CC Sabathia pitched without the ace stuff seen in previous years. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain had disastrous seasons heading into free agency. Chris Stewart, Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, and every third baseman all performed poorly. Ichiro Suzuki fielded well, but provided little with the bat. Blaming the players is certainly something seen on this site all season long, but look over that list of players. Other than CC Sabathia, is it really fair to expect much more than they gave? Which means the blame game can revert back to injuries, or...
The guy who kept pitching Hughes and relying on Chamberlain in big situations. The guy who batted Nix and Ichiro at the top of the lineup. The guy who repeatedly played Chris Stewart despite his obvious deficiencies. The guy who batted Overbay and Wells at cleanup. The guy who called for sacrifice bunts so much you would think he did not know they counted as outs. The guy with the binder. Girardi could have done better, but somehow this reminds me of a story I once heard involving some chairs and an old ship. It did not end well. I'm sure someone else can fill in the blanks.
After last offseason, Cashman was faced with losing A-Rod for half a season, and Russell Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki and Nick Swisher to free agency. Jeter had just destroyed his ankle. Michael Pineda, his biggest move from the year before, was unlikely to provide a meaningful contribution in 2013 due to injury. Cashman responded by letting Soriano and Swisher go in exchange for draft picks, signing Kuroda, Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis to one-year deals, signing Ichiro to a two-year deal, but refusing to do the same with Russell Martin. When more injuries popped up, Cashman traded for Vernon Wells and brought in Overbay, among others. The later trade for Soriano turned out well, but how many of the above moves provided a positive for the Yankees in 2013? Letting Rafael Soriano go made sense given Mariano Rivera's return and the draft choice. The same argument could be made about Swisher, and signing Kuroda and Andy Pettitte were positives. Unfortunately, not a single other transaction can be viewed positively. The farm system provided little help. Much of the blame for failure in 2013 falls to Cashman, unless...
Even if the Yankees choose not to follow through with the plan to get under the luxury tax in 2014, their plan to do so impacted roster moves last offseason. In hindsight, failing to re-sign Martin appears to be a big mistake (hindsight really is the worst. Nothing good ever follows the phrase, "In hindsight..."), and even the average production the Indians received from Swisher would have been a big improvement for the Yankees. Those two moves alone may have made the difference in the Wild Card race. Not convinced the owners are to blame? That leaves just one other choice.
The NYDN may provide a hot sprots take blaming A-Rod for the demise of the Yankees in 2013. You will find no such nonsense here.