October 19, 2012
The Yankees offense was brutal all series struggling to put runs on the board. They scored in just 3 of the 39 innings in the four-game sweep. The almighty Yankees lineup struggled mightily. Their high-paid stars were left with abysmal statistics throughout the playoffs. After Raul Ibanez put on a memorable home run display in the ALDS, he couldn’t do it all himself in the ALCS.
$275 million man Alex Rodriguez saw himself on the bench for game four of the series after being pinch hit for by Raul Ibanez multiple times in the ALDS. 3 for 25 in the playoffs with no RBI is just not going to cut it. When he wasn’t busy swinging at missing at any pitch that came to him, Rodriguez was highly criticized for flirting with a woman in the stands in the 9th inning of game one on Saturday. Rodriguez got a women’s number after having a ball passed to her with a note.
He might not come close to hitting a home run on the field with his $275 million contract, but he has no problem hitting a couple off the field.
It was a disastrous series for the Yankees. The team that led MLB in home runs, scored the second most runs in the league, had the second best on base percentage, and had the best slugging percentage had suddenly gone silent at the plate. Besides Ibanez, the Yankees power that led them to an AL East title was nonexistent. It sure didn’t help that they lost their captain Derek Jeter after he broke his left ankle in game two. Jeter was the only guy in the lineup hitting consistently in the playoffs. Most Yankees fans threw in the towel once Jeter went down. Jeter down, Yankees down 2-0, and ace Justin Verlander facing them in game three would essentially put the nail in the coffin.
Curtis Granderson, who led the Yankees with 43 home runs this season looked absolutely lost in October. Granderson went 3 for 30 with just one home run in the playoffs. Manager Joe Girardi benched him as well in game four Thursday. Robinson Cano, who had an incredible season for the Yankees hitting .313 with 33 home runs and 94 RBI, was abysmal in both rounds of the playoffs going 3 for 40 with no home runs. Nick Swisher might have saw his final game in a Yankees uniform. Swisher was also a no show at the plate in October going 5 for 30 with no home runs. Rodriguez, Granderson, Cano, and Swisher all looked completely lost in the 2012 playoffs.
The Bronx Bombers didn’t live up to their name this October. Their starting pitching did all they could to keep them in ball games, but the offense could not put runs on the board. The team that scored the second most runs in MLB in the regular season left an astounding 34 men on base in the ALDS and 29 men on base in the ALCS. The saying goes pitching wins ball games, but that wasn’t the case for the Yankees in the 2012 playoffs. They could not get timely hits when they needed it most and the Tigers are just too good of a team to not capitalize.
The offseason begins for Girardi’s team and a lot of moves appear to be on the way. The first question for the Yankees is what will they do with Rodriguez. There have been rumors that the Miami Marlins might be interested in the player whose 5th all-time in home runs in MLB history with 647. The Yankees would have to eat a good portion of the $114 million he is owed over the next five years. The list of teams that would be interested in bringing in Rodriguez is not a long one. The 37-year-old is clearly on the decline after having arguably the worst season of his career. There is no doubt that GM Brian Cashman would have no problems parting ways with the high-priced third baseman. That is if he could find a team that would take on some of that ridiculous contract that Cashman gave him in 2007.
Also, expect Swisher to be on his way out after being a major disappointment this season at the plate and in the field. It is hard to imagine the Yankees would give him another $10 million to play for them in 2013.
Look for the Yankees to bring back Ichiro Suzuki after acquiring him before the trade deadline. Ichiro provided the Bombers with a spark in the second half at dish and in the outfield. He could be an affordable option for them to bring back in 2013.
While Granderson was horrific in the playoffs and he only batted .232 in the regular season, look for the Yankees to keep the outfielder. He led the team in home runs with 43 and RBI with 106. The Yankees don’t want to lose that production in the lineup, especially with the possible departure of Rodriguez and Swisher.
It will be interesting to see how the bullpen plays out for Girardi this offseason. It is unknown whether Mariano Rivera will return in 2013. After tearing his ACL in May, Rafael Soriano did a terrific job filling the hole at closer finishing with 42 saves. David Robertson was also very successful this season as the setup man finishing the season with a 2.67 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 60.2 innings pitched. The rest of the Yankees bullpen is a question mark, but Soriano, Robertson, and possibly Rivera are a solid core.
The Yankees starting rotation doesn’t have too many holes, but look for them to bring in another starting pitcher. C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Phil Hughes should stay atop the rotation. The other two spots are up for grabs. Ivan Nova should be back, but it is yet to be seen if he will stay in the rotation after posting a 5.02 ERA in 28 starts this season. The Yankees can’t rely on 40-year-old Andy Pettitte to return as he is only getting older and injuries are still an issue. Look for the Yankees to go out and get another starting pitcher this offseason to complete the back end of the rotation.