Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Quick Thought Regarding Age

For years people, from Yankees fans to Yankees haters, have talked about the Yankees being too old. And they've been right. Last season there were four regular position players at or above the age of 34 (Wells, Overbay, Hafner, and Suzuki*), and two of their five starters were aged 38 (Kuroda) and 41 (Pettitte). You can go year by year and find more "old" teams.
*none of these guys are scheduled to be regulars for the 2014 Bombers

While I can't argue that the Yankees haven't had old teams, I can argue against the idea that they have to get younger.

There is not a single award in Major League Baseball that has an age requirement. Barry Bonds was 40 years-old when he won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2004. I don't recall anybody calling Barry "too old" while he was bashing 45 home runs and batting .362 that season.

Do you think the Atlanta Braves put themselves in a great position to win the World Series in 2011, just because they had the youngest player in the National League on their team? By the way, that player was Julio Teheran, who had an ERA of 5.03. Then again, he only threw 19.2 innings. If Julio had thrown more, I guess he's so young that he would have learned more and gotten better. *shrugs*

I don't think the Boston Red Sox felt bad about winning the World Series this past season, seeing as how their best hitter was also their oldest (David Ortiz - 37). Did you know that their worst hitter, Will Middlebrooks, was also their youngest regular? The idea that "younger is better" doesn't apply here either.

The real fact in all of this is that age doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the answer to this question... "are they good?"

The reason it's nice to have young players is their cost. Typically, when somebody says "young" they are talking about cost-controlled players, or those that are in their pre-arbitration or arbitration years. And while it's true that having those "young" players is nice, as it allows a team to spend more on free agents like Jacoby Ellsbury or Brian McCann, it's not necessary as long as a team is able to stay competitive with what they do have.

The only thing that matters to me is that the 2014 Yankees do better than the 2013 Yankees, and so far it looks that way. Who cares if the Yankees have an average age of 32 or 22? Until the team with the lowest average age is given more wins, or some other advantage, then just give me the best team.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)