The Yankees have been spoiled for 15 years by the daily presence of Jeter, Rivera, Posada, and Pettitte, and 2009 was no exception. Each of them was irreplaceable members of yet another championship team, yet each is also at least 35 years of age.
Pettitte provided 14 wins and a 4-0 postseason record, Rivera added 44 saves and a sparkling 1.76 ERA (0.56 October ERA), Jeter made a run at an MVP by hitting .334 with a Gold Glove, and Posada’s renaissance season proved he was not yet ready to follow in Jason Varitek’s footsteps.
It was a season full of magic, good fortune, timely hits, and storybook finishes, but can 2010 possibly provide a worthy sequel?
One would have to believe that even a disappointing season from Jeter would net a .300 average and 100 runs scored. A “failure” for Rivera would likely result, barring injury, in a 3.00-3.25 ERA and 35 saves.
On the other hand, the downside of a Posada and Pettitte nightmare scenario could be crippling to any hopes of a title defense.
Not much is keeping Posada from a full-time parking place at designated hitter, and even less is separating him from another lengthy DL stint. Additionally, Pettitte’s balky shoulder and elbow are one pitch away from disaster.
When experiencing discomfort in 2008, Pettitte pitched to a 4.54 ERA, and now two years older could be looking more like the 11-10 and 5.15 ERA that Mike Mussina compiled in 2007.
The “Core Four” has done nothing but perform at the highest of levels throughout their Yankee careers, but all good things must come to an end. Yankees Universe is hoping that this end is still far on the horizon.