The 2011 season is an unusual one for the Yankees. They normally go into Spring Training as the best stocked team in professional baseball. And the emphasis is normally on depth of starting pitching.
This year they are still one of the best staffed teams – but it is debatable whether they have the best or even the greatest depth. And most people’s answer to that debate would be an unequivocal “no”. Starting pitching, especially, is where they are at their weakest. They went into Spring Training with only three-fifths of the rotation spoken for – and one of those three needing to rebound hugely. The other two slots will be filled by the aging and the under-experienced.
So what does this mean?
Is this a sign that the new generation of Steinbrenners is more like their Dad was in the late-eighties than he was in the late-seventies or the late-nineties? Few Yankees fans would trade the days of Tim Leary and Chuck Cary for the days of Catfish Hunter or those of Mike Mussina and David Wells.
Or is GM Brian Cashman the one who allowed the passed ball by not expecting Cliff Lee to go to the Phillies over the Yankees, not anticipating that Pettitte would follow through on the suggestion he might retire, and not thinking that reliever, Kerry Wood would be willing to sign for Chicago in a deal that by modern baseball standards is almost next to nothing.
It will probably be 5 years before we can assess the route that Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are to take with their generation of the New York Yankees.
So ask me again in 2015 or 2016, by which time much water will have passed along the Hudson and 2011 issues will be a moot question.
Over the next week, I will post four reports from Spring Training. One will deal with the infield, one with the outfield, one with the bullpen and one with the knotty problem of that starting rotation and I will try and give a loyal outsider’s perspective on what the Yankees and their fans can expect to have found by the dog-days of summer.
Let’s Go Yankees!!!