Friday, February 8, 2013

Yankees Ranked 13th in SI.com Power Rankings


Late last night Joe Lemire of SI.com posted his MLB Power Rankings. The Washington Nationals took the top spot, which isn't all that surprising. The Nats had a great 2012 season, and their top pitcher Stephen Strasburg, along with a couple of other key players, missed a significant chunk of time. The additions of Denard Span, Dan Haren, and Rafael Soriano should make the team even stronger too.

Unfortunately Lemire didn't rank the Yankees #2, #3, or anywhere in the top 10. The Yankees were actually ranked 13th in these Power Rankings. Here is the write-up on the Bombers...
Additions: 3B Kevin Youkilis, DH Travis Hafner, RP David Herndon, RP Jim Miller 
Subtractions: OF Nick Swisher, C Russell Martin, OF Raul IbaƱez, OF Andruw Jones, 3B Eric Chavez, RP Rafael Soriano, RP Derek Lowe,* RP Freddy Garcia* 
If it's possible to be miserly with a $200 million payroll, the Yankees have accomplished it. New York handed out only one multi-year contract (a two-year deal to re-sign 39-year-old Ichiro Suzuki) and doesn't have much depth, which is a problem for a team whose starting left-side infielders, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, are recovering from major surgeries and whose lineup was already three years older, on average, than any other AL team. Leftfielder Brett Gardner and closer Mariano Rivera return from injuries, at least.
Like Washington, this isn't a bit surprise. The Yankees big losses were Russell Martin and Nick Swisher, and their replacements (Cervelli/Stewart and Suzuki) don't instill a ton of confidence. I think Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner can have big years for the team (if healthy... not a small "if"), but the offense seems to have taken a hit. The pitching shouldn't be much different, either in the starting rotation or bullpen (thanks to Rivera returning to take Soriano's place as the closer), but overall I don't think I'm alone in saying the Yanks are weaker.

Lemire, as well as many others, point out that the team got older, but that argument has never held much water with me. Sure, an aging player can hurt a team if he's under a long-term contract (see "Alex Rodriguez"), but only one of the seven players at or older than 35 have contracts longer than 2 years (take a wild guess at the answer to that one). Yes, as a player ages his value declines, but it all comes down to what they can do... not the date on their birth certificates. So I'm not going to let a team's age alone dictate what they can or can't do.

Are the World Series favorites in my opinion? No, but they aren't a total loss as some may make you think either.

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