Sunday, January 2, 2011

Indecision 2011

    The Yankees have failed to sign the caliber of free agent they have previously shown they are capable of.  Cliff Lee slipped through their fingers after drawing most of their focus through winter meetings.  The Yankees were so focused on signing Lee, that they were blindsided when the Red Sox signed another prized free agent, Carl Crawford.

If you had to sum up the Yankee off-season in one word, that word would be UNCERTAIN.  The Yank's biggest current question is: Will Andy Pettitte retire?  Many believe that Pettitte will not return to pitch in 2011.  As of right now, the Yanks could benefit from added depth to their bullpen, bench and an extra utility outfielder.  However, the main focus needs to be starting pitching.  As of today, the Yankees only have 3 set starters and A.J. Burnett is a big question mark. 

The Red Sox have effectively made the Yankees' off-season woes even worse by not only signing Crawford, who was the top free agent position player of the winter, but also trading for all star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.  The Sox have created one of the most dominant lineups they have ever had.  However, their focus has not stopped there.  They have also added depth to their bullpen by signing Hideki Okajima and slotting ex White Sox closer, Bobby Jenks, into their late inning equation. All these moves paired with an already dominant pitching staff (if healthy) makes Boston the favorite in not only the east, but the American League. 

We have already talked about the options that the Yankees have to fix their issues.  But how did the team get here?  How is it that the New York Yankees can not seem to give money away.  Why did the Yanks lose out on Cliff Lee twice and why is it that Kerry Wood chose to go to Chicago for far less than what New York was offering?

The truth is, George M Steinbrenner III is dead.  An era has ended in the Yankee organization and in Baseball.  The team may have to rethink their strategies on how they approach free agents, because it seems like players do not have any interest in talking to the Yankees. 

This is no longer the same organization that has grown to be the biggest juggernaut ever seen in sports.  No one is saying that this organization can no longer be successful.  All that is being said is that the powers that be need to find a way to make it work with out pretending that this is still Steinbrenner's team.  It is entirely possible that the Yankees can win with the team they have plus some added youth from the farm, but if they don't, an overhaul could be coming in 2012. So in a way, not only is uncertain a fitting word to describe the off-season.

The future of the Yankees is also uncertain. 

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