The New York Yankees off-season has been a quiet one due to ownership implementing a new frugal stance.
Instead of storylines about signing the biggest free agents, Yankee fans were relegated to watching the realities of missing the 2013 postseason grow by the day.
So as a result, fans, the media, and bloggers alike have been provided with plenty of things to grumble about.
And for the first time in almost two decades, the paved regular season road to October that the Yankees build during the off-season is no longer a smooth ride.
But in reality, not all hope is lost yet; and here are three reasons why.
1) Expect a MONSTER season from Robinson Cano. The second baseman will want to showcase off all his talents for the baseball world to see, as 2013 is a contract year for the four-time All-Star. Cano is the best player at his position in the game, and he is well aware that Hal Steinbrenner might not pay up so making sure some other team will be a priority. Cano is one of the last legitimate homegrown Yankee position players and I know Yankee fans, like myself had hoped he would be in pinstripes for life.
2) The 2013 starting rotation will feature CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and either David Phelps or Ivan Nova. Now does that sound like a broken record to you? Well that is because it is the same rotation that the Yankees had throughout most of 2012 season, which is a good thing. They might be a tad older, but they are flat good and all six know how to pitch in tough situations. Unlike in the past, the rotation is what will carry this team to the playoffs and has the talent to be a devastating force in the AL. And if fans have any concern about Sabathia’s injury riddled 2012 carrying over, NBC Sports Joel Sherman recently put those fears to rest. Sherman just saw Sabathia at the BBWAA dinner on January 19th and tweeted that the Yankee ace is in the best shape of his life.
Observation from Bbwaa dinner: CC Sabathia is way thinner than I ever remember him #Yankees
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 20, 2013
Also note that Hughes is in a contract season, and it is no secret better (pitching performance) equals bigger (paycheck).
And finally, there is Michael Pineda. Who is that? In case you forgot, Pineda was the key piece the Yankees got from the Mariners in return for top prospect Jesus Montero at this time last year. Pineda has yet to throw a pitch in pinstripes as he came from Seattle overweight and with shoulder tendonitis that required surgery. Amid the serious rehab needed to come back from such an injury, Pineda got a pretty serious DUI in Tampa as it was reported he couldn’t speak and had on no headlights. Pineda displayed ace-like talent in Seattle at just 23 years old and his return in June could be HUGE but not making it a focal point because of what has happened since he became a Yankee. Pineda cannot be trusted until he proves it but hopefully he will.
3) Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki and Cano is about as solid a trio to have a top of any team’s batting order. Some critics will scream about Jeter and Suzuki age, as both guys will be 39 years old by June. But looking back these two seemed ageless last season, as Jeter had the most hits in baseball with 216 and a batting average of .316. Yes, the Captain’s ankle has to be monitored but so far his recovery is on going great and right on target. Now about Ichiro, from the moment this apparently declining outfielder put on the Yankee pinstripes he was revivified. Even amid a trade last season, Ichiro played in all 162-games and was the only productive Yankee in October when he posted a .353 BA, with six hits, one homer and two RBIs. And everyone knows the damage that Cano can do at the plate so look for some magic, and a little smaller ball being played at the top of the order in 2013.
Now after I finished writing the above, my negative sentiments about the 2013 season magically disappeared. Mind you, I am not delusional about the situation as it is easy to forget how good other teams have gotten but it doesn’t seem as dire at this moment.
Hey I guess time will tell how the Yankees will fair but as the saying goes…when you’re right, no one remembers, when you’re wrong, no one forgets.