The Yankees will have to wait at least another season in their pursuit of their 28th World Championship as the Rangers eliminated the Yankees last night in game 6 of the ALCS to advance to their first World Series in franchise history.
This ALCS was very frustrating this year. I thought the Yankees would walk right through Texas on their way to the World Series. Especially after they disposed of the Twins with such ease. But it was Texas that dominated the Yankees in every facet of the series. It wasn't that Texas just dominated the Yankees, it was coupled with the Yankees just not showing up. They seemed disinterested throughout the entire series, lacked a sense of urgency, and at times even though they were saying the right thing they came across as arrogant. Maybe they were just rundown and more beat up than they let out. They had no starting pitching, their bullpen imploded, and the offense was non-existent especially in clutch situations. The Yankees had opportunity in almost every game and failed to score when the team needed it most.
The Yankees looked old and slow. The Yankee bats were dominated by mediocre pitching. CJ Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Tommy Hunter are decent pitchers but there is no way they should have been able to put up performances like that. Cano was the only one in the Yankees lineup that was hitting, even his outs were hard hit balls. Jeter batted .231, A-Rod .190, Gardner .176, Thames .125, Swisher .091, and Teixeira .000.
Pitching was even worse. Pettitte is the only that put up a decent start and that ended up a loss against Cliff Lee. CC struggled, Hughes got lit up twice. I have never seen a pitcher affected more by the situation, pressure, crowd, etc. than Hughes in his starts at Texas. He lacked the ability to calm himself and focus. Wood pitched well for the most part, but Robertson was dreadful. His ERA in this series was in the 20's. Logan had one job to do and that was to get out Hamilton. He failed miserably. And if you would have told me Joe Girardi would be out managed by Ron Washington I would have said you're crazy, but that's what happened.
This series made me sick to watch and it will be a long offseason, which will start a little sooner than the Yankees and their fans had wanted. With BIG questions, Pettitte, Mariano, and Jeter are all up. Yankees hold options on Kerry Wood, and Lance Berkman with Javier Vazquez also expiring. Seeing that Vazquez wasn't added to the post season roster I would say it's highly unlikely he will be back in pinstripes. Also unlikely are Berkman and Wood. And though I feel obligated to bring Jeter back, I would not give him a blank check. Let's face it, what would a 36 year old shortstop with limited range, declining speed, declining batting stats (power and average) get on the open market? Orlando Cabrera making about $4MM, Edgar Renteria making $9MM, Craig Counsell makes $2MM. I would argue that if the Yankees offer him $10MM Jeter would be the most overpaid player in baseball. Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes could be options if the Yankees decide for some reason not to bring Jeter back.
Rivera will certainly get about the $15MM he's making now. He showed no signs of slowing down (THANK GOD)!!!
Of course the big fish on the market is Cliff Lee, and I have to think that the Rangers making the World Series drastically hurts the Yankees chances of signing him. If the Rangers can come close to the Yankees offer Lee may decide to stay in Texas. Conversely, the Cubs filled their managerial spot already so I would say Girardi will most certainly be back with the Yankees. He most likely gets a 3 year deal and a nice raise. As bad as this ending is, you can't win a world championship and go back to the ALCS and not get another contract. Most teams would kill for that.
The other pitching name out there, on the trade market not free agent market, is Zack Greinke, but I have read multiple sources that have New York and Boston on his no-trade list. This is good thing...Greinke has had some challenges dealing with depression. If that was in KC he couldn't handle the pressure of a big market like NY. I would say the perfect fit for Greinke is with the Twins. That could be the ace they need to get them over the hump.
Yankees need to get younger real quick. A-Rod and Posada aged dramatically this season, and A-rod is under contract for another 7 years!!! Jeter, Mo, and Pettitte are all getting there too. Montero should help that a little next year. As could Brackman. I wouldn't be surprised to see Joba shopped this offseason.
First Yankees Hot Stove report on YES is November 11th. I look forward to seeing what the Yankees will do.
114 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.