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DD: Disappointed Dunski

Some Yankee notes from: It’s About the Money,  Hardball Talk, and Lo-Hud (A and B), and Sports Illustrated.

Also over at SI.com, our pal Jay grades the Yankees’ off-season:

Preliminary grade: D+. At a weighted average age of 32.7 years, the Yankee lineup was the oldest in the AL by nearly three full years, and yet they seem to have taken steps to get even older this winter while leaving significant holes in their lineup. Without a few more fixes — fixes that should be easy given this team’s resources, but which are suddenly agonizingly hard to come by — this may well be the year where age catches up to them and leaves them on the outside looking in.

[Photo Credit: Duanexharris via It’s a Long Season]

Categories:  1: Featured  Hot Stove  Yankees

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1 RIYank   ~  Feb 5, 2013 5:45 pm

"This may be the year where age catches up to them..."

Don't they ever learn?
I mean, seriously. Are sportswriters constitutionally incapable of learning from experience?

2 garydsimms   ~  Feb 5, 2013 5:58 pm

RIY: you are soooooo right. But it's not limited to sportswriters. Yankee fan callers to the sports-talk shows are in the same boat. The pre-season doom and gloom about the Yanks last year being too old and too slow....then the injuries and loss of key personnel for stretches....then the best record in the league.

Should they get younger? Sure. Are they a disaster waiting to happen? I don't think so. Let's talk again in August.

3 RIYank   ~  Feb 5, 2013 7:48 pm

True, but sports radio callers are not paid to be ineducable. :-)

4 monkeypants   ~  Feb 5, 2013 7:57 pm

well, you can poo-poo the doom and gloomers, sure. But everything I've read, including some pretty rationale prediction models, show the yankees taking a significant step back this season.

5 randym77   ~  Feb 5, 2013 8:34 pm

Ryan Braun's name found in the Biogenesis records. Not a shock, given his positive test and his Miami Hurricanes connection.

I was surprised that Francisco Cervelli's name was there. Though I guess I shouldn't be surprised at anything these days.

6 RIYank   ~  Feb 5, 2013 9:08 pm

[4] Could be right. (Although I bet they are not all that rationale. That wouldn't be very rational of them.)

But it's not because the team is old. The team has been old for a decade. Every freaking year a good proportion of prognosticators say "This year they are finally too old and they will collapse." Every year.

7 monkeypants   ~  Feb 5, 2013 10:05 pm

[6] You could be right, and I would have to look at the numbers more closely, but a quick scan on baseball-reference suggests that this is the oldest roster they've had since 2004 or 2005. Yes, every year the prognosticators predict the end is nigh, but sooner or later age *does* catch up to a team unless they can replace production that is inevitably lost as aging players decline. But where is that going to come from this year, especially if the organization sticks to its guns on the $189 million budget limit.

8 Chris   ~  Feb 6, 2013 12:12 am

Also, Chris Stewart will likely be the starting catcher. Chris Stewart. Or are we still saying otherwise?

9 OldYanksFan   ~  Feb 6, 2013 12:21 am

Has anyone this book?

This is some pretty realistic and ass kicking info.

10 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Feb 6, 2013 2:52 am

[9] Zirin is great, love his columns and his podcast can be good too when it's not so football-centric. Really great coverage of the Olympics/World Cup situation in Brazil too.

11 RIYank   ~  Feb 6, 2013 6:59 am

[7] Sure, sooner or later. And sooner or later the stock market crashes. But if I predict every single month that it will crash the next month, on exactly the same basis, even though I'll eventually be right, I'm still an idiot.

The Yankees will get more production this year from (i) Mariano Rivera, (ii) Bret Gardner, and (iii) Miguel Pineda.
They lose A-Rod, maybe entirely. But he really sucked last year. Russell Martin was also bad. The main loss by departure is Swisher, and it's also a near-certainty that Jeter will fall off from last year, even if he's completely healthy by May.

All in all, it seems like the level-headed prediction is a slight decline from last year. Still probably good enough to win the Division.

The really interesting question is: who is the main competition in the East?

12 monkeypants   ~  Feb 6, 2013 7:55 am

[11] The Yankees will get more production this year from (i) Mariano Rivera, (ii) Bret Gardner, and (iii) Miguel Pineda.

i. But will Rivera's production be an improvement on Soriano?
ii. The one almost certain spot of improvement, yes
iii. hahahahahaha

iv. likely decline at: 1B, 2B, SS, RF, C
v. likely decline at one SP (Kuroda)

I think there is a very good chance for significant decline on offense. I'd need to think more about the pitching staff.

13 Dimelo   ~  Feb 6, 2013 8:59 am

I'm in the monkeypants camp, I don't see how the Yankees will be anything but league average this year.

I will be pleasantly surprised if they do better than that.

14 RIYank   ~  Feb 6, 2013 9:13 am

[12] Soriano is greatly overrated, in my opinion. His WAR last year was 1.2, and just .3 in 2011. His FIP was 3.77 in 2011, 3.32 in 2012. His xFIPs for those years, 4.18 and 3.75. Those are all weak numbers compared to Rivera.

So I think the answer to (1) is, very likely, yes.

iv. Why decline at 1B and 2B? I don't get those. Just because of age? Teixeira should be about the same as last year, I figure.

v. Maybe, but I don't see why. His FIP and xFIP were right in line with his career numbers. I think the Yankees' starting rotation is pretty clearly better this year than last.

I agree that the Yankees will probably score fewer runs this year. But they'll probably give up fewer. I can't see any grounds for expecting a big overall difference from last year.

15 RIYank   ~  Feb 6, 2013 9:14 am

[13] You think the Yankees will win 81 games?

I'm going to bookmark this page...

16 Dimelo   ~  Feb 6, 2013 11:07 am

[15] Probably between 83 - 85.

Bookmark away, I would love nothing more than to be wrong because when I'm wrong in this instance then I feel like I'm still winning. And plus, I don't mind if you gave me crap over something I said. You're a banter HOFer. :-)

17 monkeypants   ~  Feb 6, 2013 2:51 pm

[14] Cano had his best season (in terms of WAr) last year at age 29. Even if he's in the middle of his peak years, it is not unlikely that last year was his peak season.

As for Teixiera:

WAR: 2.4, 4.3, 7.0 4.2, 2.5, 1.9, 3.9, 3.6, 5.1, 3.9, 3.0, 3.6

oWAR: 0.9, 3.7, 5.7, 3.4, 2.3, 2.1, 2.6, 2.9, 4.9, 3.2, 2.8, 1.9

That sure looks like a peak at 29 and then decline. His overall WAR has been steady, but he appears to be declining as an offensive player. Since he's entering his age 33 season and since I am sceptical of the value of defense at 1B, I find good reason to be concerned about him going forward.

As for Rivera: hard to know what to expect. He's the best at his craft, which is (I believe) somewhat overrated. But more importantly, he's 43 coming off a major injury. We'll see.

18 OldYanksFan   ~  Feb 6, 2013 3:23 pm

“Other names linked to the anti-aging clinic are slowly being revealed. Jesus Montero, a former Yankees prospect who was traded to the Mariners before last season, was also named in the Biogenesis records, according to the New York Daily News, which does not make clear if any PEDs are associated with Montero.”


19 RIYank   ~  Feb 6, 2013 3:51 pm

[17] Where do those numbers come from?
Fangraphs has these WAR numbers for Teixeira for the past four years: 5.2, 3.3, 4.3, 2.9

Trending lower, but noisy. It's plausible that the 2.9 was below expectation, and that a year later he will produce the same as last year (regressing toward his mean).

I guess Cano could/should be off a little from last year, but although it is "not unlikely" that he will be, it would hardly be a shock if he had a monster year. In his walk year.

20 RIYank   ~  Feb 6, 2013 4:14 pm

Hm, this is disturbing. Fangraphs and Baseball Refs give completely different WAR numbers. For Teixeira, the numbers at the two sites don't even rise and fall together. (At all, not even close.)

Cano's numbers are also different on the two sites, but at least they move up and down the same years.

Something's wrong. I know WAR can be calculated in different ways, but two sites shouldn't be this different.

21 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Feb 6, 2013 5:17 pm

[20] Confusing. I'm not a huge WAR fan (the stat, like the band "War' of course!) Prefer state like wOBA and ISO. I just find the use of WAR a bit lazy when reading FanGraphs or chats, 'he's a potential 4-win player' doesn't really mean anything. What kind of 'stats' a guy projects to is more interesting.
[16] RIYank is indeed a Banter HOFer! But the big question is, First Ballot™ or not??

22 RIYank   ~  Feb 6, 2013 5:56 pm

[21] I know exactly what you mean about WAR. It's reductionist. It squishes out what's interesting about different players, and so on.

Still, it's useful. (What is it good for? Absolutely... well, maybe something.) Or it would be if we could be a little more confident that it was one real thing! I will look into this.

23 monkeypants   ~  Feb 6, 2013 8:17 pm

[21] No, the real questui is if he's a True Banterer™.

[20] I was using baseball-reference, and using WAR simply because it is quick and dirty. But if there are big differences from site to site, I'll have to look at some other numbers. My sense, from looking at his stats before---at least as far as I recall---is that his offensive production is in fairly steady decline. I could be wrong.

24 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Feb 6, 2013 8:27 pm

[23] Well, we know RIYank is a 'Professional' Banterer. I think he gets in on the first ballot with a solid 85%.

I'll have to wait for the Veterans Committee I fear.

[22] I've been digging FIP as I make my way through 2013 previews. Amazing to think it was only 20 years ago when we all thought 'Wow, Dennis Rasmussen won 18 games, he's the new ace!' D'OH!!

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