The 2010 Yankees season was kind of monotonic, to say the least. The Yankees did not have that one game during the season that could be described as a “momentum” boost or a “big” moment. They just kept winning in the first half of the season, and come August, they just played mediocre baseball and attempted to pass themselves off as a serious contender for the World Series.
After August 1st, the Yankees were 29-30, and had a run differential (Runs scored – Runs allowed) of only +25. This means that a lot of games were very close, and they were also losing a lot of close games. There were no real blowouts that a World Series contender should have, blowouts that assert their dominance in the American League. After almost falling down the stretch to the Boston Red Sox, a collapse that would have entitled me to go on a multi-state rampage, the Yankees “wrapped” up a Wild Card title.
It annoys me when teams celebrate after winning the Wild Card. Especially the Yankees. I know, they got to the playoffs which is important and all, but celebrating the Wild Card is like celebrating being in 2nd place. Come on. Celebrating after you have actually won something (I don’t even like teams celebrating after the Division Series, but that is something for another time).
I kind of realized that this season was not going to end well after the Yankees celebrated their Wild Card win ferociously. Not to sound sentimental, but I highly doubt Steinbrenner would have allowed something like that to happen. I do not event think he liked celebrations after the World Series, because it interrupted offseason training.
Before I get to the offseason strategy, let me talk about the regular season/playoffs, and how all the individual players did.
Francisco Cervelli: Francisco (That’s Fun to Say. I must have said that 412 times this year, much to the enjoyment of the people who watched the games with me. For those who have no idea what the hell I am talking about: here) had an average year filling in for the deteriorating Jorge Posada. He would get you the occasional big time hit, and also was insane. Whenever a game was over, I was afraid he was going to punch Mariano Rivera in the face, and then go into the stands looking for somebody to wrestle. Unfortunately for our boy Cisco, he will not be a starting catcher next year, due to the rise of super-rookie Jesus Montero. Also, Cisco slugged .335 last year. He also somehow had 3 triples and no home runs. For a 210 pound catcher, that has to be the weirdest thing of all time.
Mark Teixeira: Tex had has mandatory 1st half slump, before rebounding and going on a tear in August in which in felt like he hit a home run every other at bat. I even wrote (From August 4th):
Mark Teixeira is on fire. Honestly, if he hit like this during the whole season, is there any doubt that Yankees would already be at 100 wins? Okay, maybe at little, but is carrying the Yankees at this point, where everyone else is struggling.
Obviously, I was blown away. I was back to normal when Tex went 0-14 in the ALCS before injuring his hamstring, or something. If Tex were a graph, he would look like this:
If you replace the left hand side with either Tex’s ability to play baseball, or my happiness, you have a pretty good indication of how his season went.
Robinson Cano: Superhero. Has no faults. I think Tim McCarver thinks he is good, I am not sure though. Cano was the Yankees best player this year, and should see a Gold Glove/Silver Slugger combo of awards at the end of the season. He was also the only player who realized that in the playoffs, you should step your game up.
Derek Jeter: My favorite Yankee player of my generation put up a season that slowly killed me. He had a .270/.340/.370 split. This is okay for Yuniskey Betancourt, but for a future hall of famer, this should not be happening. It also pained me to see that Jeter has almost no lateral movement left in him. Obviously, he will be back for next season, and will have a mega contract to boot (I am thinking 3 years, 75 million. There is no way the Yankees pay him any less than that. He has been the face of the franchise for 15 years, if anything, he deserves to be grossly overpaid. If the Yankees can shell out money to Kei Igawa, the least they can do is give it out unnecessarily to someone who actually deserves it. I still don’t like Kei Igawa, if you had not noticed.), but Jeter will need to have a much better season if he wants to be a part of the every day lineup.
On second thought, who would replace him? Ramiro Pena? Jeter has the job pretty much set for next year, but if he does not have a usual Jeterian season (I hate that word), you could see the Yankees going out into free agency/trading pool and looking for someone else to play shortstop.
Alex Rodriguez: If A-Rod plays more than 150 games and is healthy, he probably goes 40-140 with home runs and RBI’s. He reverted back to old playoff A-Rod, where he was a liability at best. How does it get to the point where a fan does not want a guy who went 30-125 this season, and has over 600 career home runs (Which happened this season, it case anyone forgot) to actually come to bat. Frustrating!
Brett Gardner: A real surprise, although his looking at about 250 pitches right down the middle this season almost caused me to go into a triple bypass. He plays good defense, is the Yankees first threat on the basepaths since we had Rickey Henderson for a few days, and is a classic white-guy gritty player. (Not a racist comment. I read this in Will Leitch’s phenomenal God Save the Fan. Quick, small white guys are usually described as gritty and hustlers, even if they cannot hit the ball out of the infield. It is an unfortunate stereotype) He is also the reason why the Yankees will not pick up Carl Crawford, but I will get to that in a bit.
Curtis Granderson: Until Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long conjured up some spirits to fix his swing, Granderson was a prototypical Yankee bust. After August, he played really well, and this even went into the playoffs. He was one of two players to play above-mediocre in the playoffs, which is good, I guess. He also plays one hell of a center field, which is important, especially after having some poor fielders out there the past few years.
He is also considered an intelligent ballplayer. I cannot answer why? Does somebody have his SAT scores? Just because a guy speaks coherently does not mean he is intelligent. I am not dissing Granderson’s ability to think clearly, but we need more background. This probably is not that important.
Nick Swisher: Infuriated me after saying “Who cares about Cliff Lee?”, then not even making contact (He may have, but it sure did not seem like he did). Like most Yankees, he had a great 1st half and a crappy second half. He needs to play better if he is the reason that the Yankees will not get Jayson Werth, but I will get to that in a moment.
Jorge Posada/Marcus Thames/Lance Berkman: The Yankees DH trio had ups and downs this season. Posada looked like a shell of himself, and God bless you if he had to actually go behind the plate and throw somebody out. Marcus Thames had a great hitting season, but God bless you if he had to actually play the field. Berkman started off awful, but rebounded into a nice addition for the Yankees down the stretch. Also was not as good as a fielder as a normal first baseman should be. I guess that is why all these guys are now DH’s.
CC Sabathia/Phil Hughes/Andy Pettitte/AJ Burnett/ Javy Vazquez: Sabathia was the only sure spot in the rotation, going 21-7 and having a possible Cy Young Award to soon be his. Phil Hughes epitomized the Yankee season, having an All-star 1st half, then crapping the bed in the 2nd half. Pettitte had a great first half, but an assortment of injuries sidelined him from most of the second half. It is my thought that if Andy plays in the 2nd half, the Yankees win the division. He was having one of the best first-halves of any pitcher in baseball.
The combination of AJ and Javy were excruciating. Anyone who thinks AJ was good last year is an idiot. He led baseball in walks and wild pitches, and was helped out by the Yankees run support. This year, supporting AJ was like when I supported John McCain in 2008. I wanted him to win and do well, but I knew he was going to lose. You do not know what that does to a person, unless you are a Republican Yankee fan.
Javy just sucked.
Offseason: According to a column written today by the New York Post, the Yankees are not planning to go after Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford. This is because the outfield is already pretty secure, and it a strange development, General Manager Brian Cashman (I always thought Cashman was an awesome name for a GM, even if he sucks) says that paying for these two guys is not the most sensible thing to do with the Yankees money. Seriously? Since when have the Yankees ever cared about sensible spending? They are not a middle-class family that needs to cut back on the makeup the mom uses, they have money to spend! After that awful hitting playoffs, they should at least attempt to get one of these guys.
Cliff Lee will be a Yankee, there is pretty much no doubt about that. Even if Yankee fans cursed and spat at his wife, there is no way Lee will turn down the monster contract that he will be given.
FUN FACT: Lee went 4-6 with a 4.00 ERA with Texas, and was 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA in the World Series. Woo!
One last note. I think the Yankees spelt Girardi wrong when they fired Dave Eiland instead. Seriously, the Yankees were just looking for someone to blame. Girardi should have been the first one on the chopping block.