COMMENTARY | The New York Yankees failed to make the playoffs this season for the first time since 2008, and only the second time since 1995.
Here are five reasons the Yankees won't be playing baseball in October:
1. Injuries -- Derek Jeter played 17 games. Mark Teixeira played in 15. Kevin Youkilis played in 28. Alex Rodriguez played in 44. Curtis Granderson played in 59. Part of this is a consequence of an aging roster but whatever the reason, the Yankees did not field a complete team the entire season. Much of the year they resembled a JV version of the Yankees as they basically held regular-season tryouts at third base and shortstop.
2. Starting Pitching -- CC Sabathia began to show the wear and tear of 13 big-league seasons. Phil Hughes was awful. David Phelps got hurt. Andy Pettitte was so-so in his final big-league season. Hiroki Kuroda was solid much of the season but faded down the stretch. Only Ivan Nova, 9-6 with a 3.10 ERA in 23 games, exceeded expectations. Pettitte is retiring, Hughes is hitting free agency and Kuroda might head back to Japan. The Yankees need to do something to upgrade the rotation, but right now what is not exactly clear.
3. Nothing From the Farm -- When injuries struck the Yankees, they didn't have a Yasiel Puig or really much of anything in terms of top-flight prospects to turn to. Zoilo Almonte? David Adams? Preston Claiborne? That was about the best the Yankees could muster from their minor-league system and it wasn't enough. It doesn't seem as if there is a whole lot of help coming from the farm system in the near future , either.
4. Oh, Those Budget Constraints -- It has been no secret that Hal Steinbrenner wants the Yankees under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014. Because of that the Yankees have been behaving in un-Yankees-like fashion. Last offseason, they let catcher Russell Martin go to Pittsburgh and outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher go to Cleveland without really trying to keep either player. They could have used them both. They didn't bid on any top-tier free agents, refusing to offer any big-money or long-term contracts. They re-signed a couple of their own players and made a desperate, last-minute signing of Youkilis, and that was it.
5. Magic Yankee Stadium Moments -- The Yankees had a magical moment the other day when great closer Mariano Rivera pitched in his final game at Yankee Stadium. Rivera was removed from the game by Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter in a touching moment. It's not exactly a reason why they didn't make the playoffs, but it almost made you glad they didn't. How else would they have been able to celebrate Rivera this way?
Ed Valentine is editor of Big Blue View, covering the New York Giants for SB Nation. He has written about the Yankees for Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation New York, Bugs & Cranks and Hot Stove New York.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Yankees
- Andy Pettitte
- Derek Jeter
- Kevin Youkilis
- Hiroki Kuroda