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Offseason decisions coming back to haunt Yanks as deadline looms

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Well, it’s finally here. It’s July 31st, otherwise known as the non-waiver trading deadline, and in a matter of hours the Yankees will have either added another bat, or decided  to ride out the remainder of the season with the guys they have.

Coming off a stinging loss by way of a walk-off single by Dodgers’ second baseman Mark Ellis, the team now stands at 55-51. Slowly sinking closer to the mediocre .500 mark, the Yanks have now fully embodied the club we all expected them to be when the season opened – a power-less, atrocious offense coupled with good, but not great pitching.

Sitting 8.5 games out of first place in the A.L. East and somehow just 3.5 games out of the Wild Card race, the Yanks are by no means “done”. Brian Cashman Ownership brought back Alfonso Soriano, Jeter has returned, and Curtis Granderson is finishing up his rehab assignment, so the lineup will certainly be given a boost by having those guys back.

Meanwhile on the pitching front, (aside from CC and when Hughes starts at the Stadium) things have been improving. Pettitte is finding his groove again, Nova is pitching even better than in his breakout 2011 season, and Kuroda continues to be a dark horse in the A.L. Cy Young race. The bullpen continues to impress with the likes of Shawn Kelley, Boone Logan, D-Rob, and of course Mo, so there is nothing to really be concerned about there.

This is stating the obvious, but for the first time in years, the lineup is the overwhelming achilles heel to this season. Even with Sabathia’s treacherous season and Hughes’ long-ball woes, this current pitching staff coupled with any Yankees lineup from the past decade would easily win 90+ games.

But that’s the thing – this isn’t any Yankees lineup from the past decade. It’s 2013’s.

There’s no Sheffield, no Bernie, no Giambi, no Abreu, no Matsui, no Posada, no Swisher, no Teixeira, no A-Rod…must I keep going? Even with Sori, Jeet, and Grandy, they would need a Giancarlo Stanton-caliber bat added to the mix to really make them a threatening team. With the way Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Boston are all playing, even if there are signs of improvement from the players currently on the roster, I can’t imagine it being enough in the end.

As mentioned, the Yankees are either going to make a move, or they won’t. Stanton is not on the block, nor does the team have the caliber of prospects needed to make a deal even if he was. The best hitter that could be on the move is Hunter Pence, followed by Michael Young, Nate Schierholtz, and [depending on Schierholtz] David DeJesus. Pence is adamant about staying with San Francisco, Young prefers Boston than the Bronx, and the Yankees have too many outfielders to realistically take on a Schierholtz or DeJesus.

Like I said, even if any of those guys were to be fitted for pinstripes in the next few hours, it wouldn’t make much of a difference when comparing this “Bombers” lineup to that of the Orioles, Red Sox, or even the Rays. Power is not the tell-all, be-all factor of a team, but all three clubs have, and can out-slug the Yanks, even in their own bandbox known as the new Yankee Stadium.

It would be great to see the team rally around Mariano Rivera’s final season and go out and make a valiant playoff push, but I just don’t see it happening. At it’s worse the pitching has been steadily above-average, but at it’s best the lineup is nothing close to deserving of a spot in October.

Maybe I’m being harsh, and perhaps this club as constructed could have been better in another season with less competition. But the fact remains that the Yankees picked the worst year possible to let so many core guys (Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, and Raul Ibanez) leave via free agency, and just hope that the oldest team in baseball would have one last magical run in them.

Clearly they don’t, and no matter what happens by 4 o’clock PM today, the Yanks should begin making plans to go golfing come this fall. It’s unfortunate, but we can’t act like we didn’t see this coming.

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Are the Yankees in the process of (gulp) rebuilding?

With the Yankees not spending money this offseason, could Hal Steinbrenner be implying that the Yankees are trying to rebuild?

With the Yankees not spending money this offseason, could Hal Steinbrenner be implying that the Yankees are trying to rebuild?

When the 2012 offseason began, many Yankees fans were hoping that the Yankees would snag the big names off the free agent boards. Scenarios like possibly putting Josh Hamilton in pinstripes or maybe even re-signing Russell Martin were flying all across Twitter and Facebook. Of course, since the season ended in mid-October, all the Yankees have done were twiddle their fingers as the big names came off the board. Russell Martin? Signed a two-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates (and joined former Yankee A.J Burnett). Josh Hamilton? Signed a mega deal with the LA Angels and left the Texas Rangers hanging. Nick Swisher? Took his talents to Cleveland for the next four years. Raul Ibanez? He’s going back to Seattle to play for the Mariners. Eric Chavez? Taking his talents to Arizona to help the Diamondbacks get back into another postseason race. Even names like Mike Napoli and A.J Pierzynski came off the board although it made no sense as to why the Yankees didn’t offer either of them a contract with basically no catcher slotted for the 2013 season.

The only new signing the Yankees made so far was Kevin Youkillis who will play third base on Opening Day due to Alex Rodriguez needing hip surgery. The Yankees have made re-signings with some of their players such as Hiroki Kuroda, Brett Gardner, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Ichiro Suzuki, all whose contracts were rather small and for the most part one-year deals (minus Ichiro).

Many would believe that the reason the Steinbrenner’s aren’t spending as much money is due to keeping the payroll at $189 Million in 2014 in order to avoid a luxury tax, but this is something that Yankees fans aren’t used to. Yankees fans are used to spending money on players; giving lucrative contracts for players who can bring their talents to the Bronx and help the Yankees bring home another World Series Championship. However, with an aging Ichiro playing right field, no catcher, no DH and a very light bench, it seems that the Yankees could be heading towards the dreaded “R” word that we all know and hate: rebuilding.

According to an article in the New York Times last March, Hal Steinbrenner was quoted by saying, “Budgets matter, and balance sheets matter. I just feel that if you do well on the player-development side and you have a good farm system, you don’t need a $220 million payroll. You don’t. You can field every bit as good a team with young talent.”

Yes, certain teams in baseball have had success with using young talent from the farm system in order to save on payroll. The Oakland Athletics, the Tampa Bay Rays are to name a few. However with the Yankees, this method won’t work. The Yankees farm system is bleak and some of their top prospects aren’t going to be ready to play for the big leagues in the near future. Their best prospect Jesus Montero was traded last offseason to the Seattle Mariners for Michael Pineda who hasn’t pitched an official inning for the Yankees. (Although, he has made headlines throughout the year). Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances were both plagued with injuries last season, setting back their chances of making it to the Major League ball club in the near future as well.

In all honesty, pitching wise the best breakout Yankee prospect that we’ve seen in the last couple of years was David Phelps who has proven that he could play at a Major League level (and was a big help to the Yankees 2012 season after the injuries to Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia). Austin Romine could be a possibility for the catchers’ role, but he has been plagued with back injuries and concussions in his playing career.

The Yankees could stay competitive in 2013 with the likes of Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson in their lineup but what’s to happen in 2014 when Cano and Granderson become free agents? Will the Yankees offer a contract to Cano and let Granderson go? Will the Yankees sign the both of them to return? Will the Yankees let both of them go in order to try to rebuild a farm system that doesn’t look promising for the next couple of years? We’ve heard the dreaded “R” word surround other teams, but as for the Yankees (gulp) rebuilding, it seems like the end of the spending era and the beginning of an era where the Yankees just sit and wait until they win a Championship.

Morning Bits: Steinbrenner, Cashman, Girardi, Yankees

Good morning everyone! First pitch for the Yankees/Phillies game is at 1:05pm with Ivan Nova on the mound. Watch it on MLB Network! Now, onto the morning links!

– Hal Steinbrenner says that the Yankees are not “slashing” the payroll. Okay, so cutting the budget to $189 Million by 2014 to avoid paying luxury tax isn’t slashing? Whatever works Steinbrenner.

– Brian Cashman says that although Hal Steinbrenner is altering the budget, that doesn’t mean he’s going to alter the way the Yankees handle business. Yes, because nothing stops Brian Cashman from handling business with money.

–. Even though we all know publicly that Mark Teixeira is not a fan of the new wild card changes, there might be someone in the clubhouse that disagrees with him; his boss Joe Girardi.

– Do you love the current New York Yankees? Well take a good look at them while you can. The New York Post writes that the market will dictate who stays a Yankee for the 2013 season.

Spring Training Notes: 3/1/12

David Robertson

Yes, it’s officially March meaning Yankees Baseball is back! Yankees first televised game is Saturday at 1pm and the starting outfield (Swisher, Gardner & Granderson) will make the trip to Clearwater to play against the Phillies! Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s get to the notes for today!

– Today was an abbreviated workout for the Yankees since they went on their annual Field Trip! Where did they go? The Comedy Club! They did improvisations of other teammates and Joe Girardi had pre-written sketches for the players to act out when they got there. You might be surprised, but Rafael Soriano might have a knack at comedy since he loves to sing.

– Hal Steinbrenner spoke with reporters today after the Yankees left. He says that he would like to keep the payroll at $189 Million by 2014. He also said he’s not a fan of extending contracts in the middle of contracts but he didn’t rule it out.

– The Yankees play their first game tomorrow against the University of South Florida and everyone except for Robinson Cano will get a turn to bat in the lineup.  Cano won’t bat until Sunday when the Yankees play the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The outfielders Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher & Curtis Granderson will make the trip to Clearwater on Saturday to play vs. the Phillies.

– And Courtesy of the Daily News, (the same as last year) the Yankees had taken pictures on the field (Trust me…it was a lot of pictures). So here are your 2012 New York Yankees!

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Hal Steinbrenner and Boras met to discuss Edwin Jackson

Hal  Steinbrenner and Boras met to discuss Edwin Jackson

by Matt S.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner met recently with agent Scott Boras to discuss right-hander Edwin Jackson. Jackson is said to be seeking a five-year deal worth around $15 million annually, which is why interest has been so low. If he makes that asking price a little more attractive, things could pick up quickly. E-Jax posted a 3.79 ERA and 148/62 K/BB ratio in 199 2/3 innings last season between the White Sox and Cardinals. The Orioles have also expressed interest this winter.

Our own writer Fishjam just recently wrote about E-Jax coming to the Yankees on a 2 year deal. Click here to read that article.

Morning Bits: Darvish, Chavez, Hal

Good morning all. Here are today’s links:

The Yankees have their eye on Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish.

— Brian Cashman may strongly consider bringing Eric Chavez back next year for the right contract.

— Hal Steinbrenner called the status of the Yankees rotation a “concern”.

— Despite past failures in Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu, the Yankees are not worried about Japanese pitching imports.

Have a great day.

Cashman/Steinbrenner To Continue GM Talks

Cashman/Steinbrenner To Continue GM Talks

by Delia E.

Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner are scheduled to meet again next week to discuss a new GM contract. Steinbrenner predicts that all talks providing a new contract won’t have much rancor. Cashman became a free-agent General Manager after the 2011 season ended in an early 1st round knockout vs. the Tigers.

Sources: Joel Sherman

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