How easy was that? The Detroit Tigers
simply swept the over matched Yankees
aside, like dirt off their shoulders. The MLB International coverage was very good last night, something those of you Stateside don’t get to watch or hear, which is a shame. One very interesting note came late on, as they pointed out that with their season on the line, it was bemusing to see most of the Yankees slumped back in their seats. Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez were taking it like men and standing on the top step, however the rest of the Yankees were sulking back on their bench, quite literally as far away from the action as they could be without being in the club-house.
Losing is one thing, being embarrassed and not facing it like a man is a whole other issue. This Yankees team looked beaten all series long, and now has the toxic air of a broken down vehicle that has no use bar the scrap yard.
The Yankees now face a series of issues, the gravity of which does not appear to be sinking in for their own front office. Their problems are basically three-fold. First of all, they are old, Mike Illitch old. Secondly, those same old players, many of them are tied into huge salaries, the value of which would startle Donald Trump. Finally, those same players’ salaries are not only exorbitant, they are also long, long like a Miguel Carbera homerun.
Check out this list of the oldest Yankees players. This isn’t an ‘issue’, it’s an epidemic.
- Hiroki Kuroda 37
- Derek Lowe 39
- Andy Pettitte 40
- Eric Chavez 34
- Derek Jeter 38
- Alex Rodriguez 37
- Raul Ibanez 40
- Ichiro Suzuki 38
Even the Yankees ‘younger’ stars are ‘young’ only compared to the walking zombies in the group above.
- CC Sabathia 32
- Mark Teixeira 32
- Curtis Granderson 31
In terms of salaries, the Yankees as a group cost $200 million a year in pay. That’s big. In a lot of cases, it is their oldest players receiving the highest figures. Kuroda is getting $10 million. They are paying CC Sabathia, who looked older than 32 even last night, $24 million a year. A-Rod, Jeter and Teixeira combined are 107 years old are are earning a cool $68 million a year (22 each).
The New York Yankees are paying $130 million in salaries to a bunch of players who will be 30 or over for the 2013 season. That’s even removing Swisher, Lowe and Suzuki’s salaries, those three will presumably not be in pinstripes next season.
As for the length of those dead-weight, anchor or indeed anvil like contracts, the poster child for this topic has to be good old A-Rod. The Yankees are paying A-Rod $30 million dollars a season every season until the year 2017.
Read that above sentence to yourself again and let it sink in. The guy they sat on the bench for the crucial part of the ALCS. The man once called ‘The Cooler’ by his own team-mates in Texas (for his ability to cool off rallies). The man mercilessly booed by his own fans, and completely slaughtered in the press by Donald Trump, that’s the guy they are paying $30 million a year until 2017.
You think they have a snowball’s chance in hell of trading the big lug to anyone? Even the LA Dodgers are not stupid enough to take that kind of cash on board. New York is stuck to their broken down, head-case (who hands out baseballs to women in the stands looking for phone numbers during the AlCS?!) of a strike-out machine.
Worrying for Yankee fans is their General Manager appears to have his head buried in the sand. "A lot of people are pointing to this team, and saying we're old and that's the reason we're not getting anywhere,"
Cashman said. "I'm like, 'Hey, we got there and we are old.' You know, if you're old and still good, it's not an issue."
What Cashman appears to be missing is that you can beat up second tier pitching all year long. You can mash homeruns at a record pace in the dog days of summer, and build inflated numbers in-spite of the relative old age of your squad. However, when October hits, your team best have energy and stamina (something that is more present in, let’s face it, younger players) and you better be ready to hit the best pitching in the Majors.
That Tigers rotation absolutely sliced and diced the Yankees aging bats. It was a no-contest. Max Scherzer almost no-hit the Yankees in a crucial, potentially season ending game for the latter. Think about that for a second. He almost no-hit them!!
The Yankees simply had no defence.
Most worrying of all, on top of all the points above, is that the rest of the AL East is primed to simply move on without New York. Tampa is young, talented and run on a very impressive low budget, allowing them to grab free agent parts at the right time. They have a great manager and deep, talent laden rotation. The Orioles are perhaps even more deeply loaded with young talent. They also have a good manager and baseball is once again buzzing in Baltimore, the City has taken to their team again, and they don’t want to let go. The Blue Jays are a much better team than their last season, the injury bug decimated them and they will be back with a bang in 2013.
What’s going to really pain Yankee fans is their arch rivals the Red Sox removed their problems like a surgeon removing an unwanted growth, biting the bullet and giving away the 2012 season in order to be competitive next season and beyond. The Red Sox are young, baby young compared to the Yankees, and have the financial freedom to rebuild their club in any manner they see fit.
The Yankees are an old, decaying team, and they are tied to the weighty contracts of those same players for many years to come. There is no wiggle room.
Where does that leave the Yankees? The answer might be, out in the cold, looking in, as the rest of the AL East blasts off without them. The Yankees didn’t just lose a game last night, or a season either.
They lost their dynasty. Follow Cormac on Twitter