Monday, April 9, 2012

Are They Too Old?

"What? No! I'm not too old for this job. I am too senile for it though."

While looking around at various blogs, to see just how many Yankee fans were overreacting to the Yankees terrible start to the season, I ran across a question that many Yankees fans have heard time and time again... "are they too old?" My immediate reaction was "no", but I decided to do a bit of research to see if I was right.

Instead of looking at the whole team, I wanted to concentrate on the regular position players. First of all, pitchers can be serviceable longer than position players. I mean, just look at the fact that Jamie Moyer is back in MLB at age 49. Heck, right here on the Yanks Andy Pettitte, who will turn 40 in June, is trying to make a comeback. So I'm skipping over the fact that Hiroki Kuroda turned 37 in February, and Freddy Garcia will be 36 in October. On that note, I'm also not counting the bench. These guys aren't looked at to play many innings anyway, so I see no reason to worry about them being older. On top of that, nobody on the bench is signed beyond this season either.

Derek Jeter is getting up there at age 37 (turns 38 in June), but his performance this season doesn't concern me. When it comes to Derek I'm more concerned about the last/next two years of his contract (assuming he takes the player option for 2014), especially being the starting shortstop. Derek's had a healthy career through 2010 (averaging 152 games/year during 15 full seasons), but after 131 games in 2011 (he only DHed in 10 of those games), how long before he'll need to DH or sit the bench for 50 or so games?

The only other player whose age concerns me is Alex Rodriguez. Alex is currently 36 years old (37 in July), which isn't exactly "ancient". But seeing as how he missed 63 games last season, mainly due to knee surgery in July, I tend to think he's more apt to play in 137 games a season like he did in 2010, rather than 158 games like he did in 2007. Actually, even 137 games a season could be pushing it, as that'll likely be the maximum number of games he appears in this season. Just imagine how many games he'll play per season at ages 39-41... the last three seasons he's under contract.

After those two we have Mark Teixeira, who'll turn 32 in a few days. I'm not worried about him at all at this point. He's averaged 157 games played the last three seasons, and I expect that to continue for a couple more years. Even in the last two seasons of his contract I think he can play in 130+ games a year. Of course it helps that he's a first basemen, and first basemen don't have to endure the rigors of the other 7 positions on the diamond.

The rest of the regular position players are either on a one year deals (Raul Ibanez), or are 31 or less. And they all could be out the door within the next year or two.

But how do they compare to other teams? To find out I made a spreadsheet using the Yankees and five other "top" teams in the American League. By "top" I mean the teams favored to be in the postseason this year. I only used the AL due to them having the DH, which can skew team's average ages when compared to National League rosters, as many DHs (like Raul Ibanez, David Ortiz, and Michael Young) are older players that shouldn't be playing the field anymore (*cough*Ibanez*cough*).

*For argument's sake I used Raul Ibanez instead of Andruw Jones at DH, since Raul is older. Not to mention that Raul will likely get more plate appearances than Andruw, seeing as how there are more right-handed pitchers in MLB, and that's who Raul is going to face.

So the Yankees, when compared to other "top" AL teams, are the oldest. I was hoping that it would turn out they weren't the oldest, and I could rub it in the faces of people that like to talk about the "aging Yankees". But I proved myself wrong, and instead must continue putting up with the comments. Although, I don't think it should be a big concern at all. After all, the Yankees are still favored by many to not only make the playoffs again, but to win the whole thing. We'll see if I'm singing a new tune come 2015, or if Brian Cashman can install some youth into the lineup.

9 comments:

  1. I dont wanna hear you of all people complaining that Raul Ibanez is not an outfielder anymore when you are the ONLY person who wanted him over Damon solely because he was not a "DH ONLY" kind of guy where Damon is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When did I say Raul was a regular OF? I said the Yankees wanted him as he could play OF if/when they wanted to, not play him out there with any regularity. I was against him starting out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You never said he was a regular because it was never a question whether he was a regular or not the question was always can he play every once in a while, hence not being a DH only.

      He has done nothing to show, to me anyway, that he is not a DH only. He has been a definite liability in the outfield, not to say that Damon would be better whatever.

      Delete
    2. Exactly... "not to say that Damon would be better". Besides, it was one game. I suppose the team will go 0-162 as well.

      Delete
    3. The fact was never if Damon was better then Ibanez, the fact was that Ibanez should be signed because he can play the field. Even though Damon hit righties better, albeit not by a huge margin. This is, and never was, a Damon vs Ibanez. It is whether Ibanez can play the outfield.

      I am not basing this judgement off of one game so the 0-162 comment was uncalled for, I was simply responding to your comment about Ibanez not being an outfielder and being a player that "shouldnt be playing the field anymore" when you were the only one in favor of it BECAUSE he could be playing in the field.

      Delete
    4. The 0-162 comment was an exaggeration to make a point. Ibanez is not an ideal OFer, but he can do it every once in a while. So although he shouldn't play the field anymore, he can. Ibanez gives Girardi some flexibility... that's the point.

      Delete
    5. SO what basis are you using to say that Damon cannot play the field in a pinch?

      Delete
    6. To re-iterate...

      Ibanez shouldn't play the field anymore, but if a situation calls for him needing to be put into the OF late in the game due to substitutions (offensive or defensive)... fine. Having Raul start the other day, or any other day in the future, is a mistake.

      Delete
    7. "SO what basis are you using to say that Damon cannot play the field in a pinch?'

      I watched Damon play out there for a few years and I wanted to hurl. And that was a couple of years ago. Ibanez isn't a gold glover in the outfield, but at least he played out there as recently as last season.

      Delete