COMMENTARY | The New York Yankees have been to the playoffs in 17 of the past 18 seasons. The only miss since 1995 came in Joe Girardi's first year as manager in 2008.
The next year, the Yankees won the World Series.
It's been a quiet offseason in the Bronx as the Yankees come off a season which saw them win another American League East title-their 13th since 1995-before being swept by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.
Those who have been foretelling of a pending Yankee collapse for more than a decade have been louder than ever this offseason.
New York hasn't been exactly active in the hot stove league this year. The Yankees didn't go after either of the marquee names in the market-former Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels, or former Angels pitcher Zach Greinke, who moved up the I-5 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Slugging right fielder Nick Swisher turned down a qualifying offer and signed with the Cleveland Indians. Free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez left for the Seattle Mariners. Infielder Eric Chavez was allowed to leave for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They didn't make an offer to catcher Russell Martin, who went on to sign a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Yankees are too old, too beaten up and-remarkably-too cheap to keep their run of success alive … or so goes the refrain from the naysayers.
New York won 95 games a year ago with a team that was thought to be too old, too beaten up and too cheap to keep up their run of success. Baseball-Reference.com records the Yankees average ages as 32.7 for the hitters and 30.3 for the pitchers in 2012.
They will be without third baseman Alex Rodriguez for a couple of months while he recovers from hip surgery and shortstop Derek Jeter is coming back from a broken ankle suffered in Game 1 of the ALCS.
But Youkilis can keep third base warm while Rodriguez recovers and then can either be the designated hitter or allow Rodriguez to spend more time in that role.
The biggest reason for optimism, though, is the depth of the starting rotation. CC Sabathia is recovering from surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow but should be ready for spring training. Hiroki Kuroda, arguably the Yankees' ace in 2012, is back for another year, as is veteran Andy Pettitte. Phil Hughes won 16 games despite battling the gopher ball all year. Ivan Nova should be healthier in 2013 and young David Phelps is also an option to either work in the back end of the rotation or out of the bullpen.
That sort of rotation depth just doesn't exist in baseball, save for the Dodgers. In today's game, if you have starting pitching, you have a chance.
The fall of the Yankees could come in 2013. But there have been those who have been saying that fall was coming since 2001.
Indeed, predicting the demise of the New York Yankees has become almost as deeply ingrained a tradition as the swallows returning to Mission San Juan Capistrano.
One of these years, those doomsayers will even be correct. Will it be this year? Not if recent history is any indicator.
Phil Watson was a writer and editor at several daily newspapers for more than 20 years and is now a freelance sports journalist and commentator based in Upper Michigan.
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