The members of the "Core Four" have been the faces of the New York Yankees for many years. As the 2010 season comes to a close, one must realize that the Core Four cannot go on forever.
Andy Pettitte turns 39.
Derek Jeter turns 37.
Jorge Posada turns 40.
The Great Mariano Rivera turns 41 this November.
The great question is: How many more years will the Core Four continue to play?
Here is my observation of the Core Four, future Yankee legends.
Andy Pettitte has been an huge part of the New York Yankees since the beginning of his career.
The five time World Series champion has miraculously pitched better with age. Before injuring himself earlier this season, Andy Pettitte was having a career year. Pettitte was on pace for seventeen to twenty wins at age 38. In addition to this, he was voted to the All-Star game. The winningest pitcher in postseason history has an extremely important decision to make. "Will I return to the Bronx?"
Personally, I think he should come back. Yes, he faces another year of injury, but doesn't every other pitcher face it as well? Andy should come back for all the right reasons: money, championships, and statistics.
The Yankees need Andy in the rotation. A one-two-three punch of Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, and Andy Pettitte looks pretty deadly to me. (That is of course if they sign Cliff Lee!)
Andy can increase his win total to 250 just to further increase his chances of making the Hall of Fame.
If Andy doesn't retire, I think the Yankees will sign him to his last one year contract for about ten million dollars. Then, he'll call it quits.
Expect to see Andy's patented "Brett Favre" maneuver this off season as well.
Hall of Fame Worthy? Possibly. His HGH scandal somewhat diminishes his chances and he has never won a Cy Young Award, but most wins in the postseason is an outstanding accomplishment.
Will He Make the Hall? I think so. Given his achievements and what he has done for the Yankees, I find it hard for Andy not to make the Hall of Fame. But don't expect him to get in the first year of eligibility.
Jorge Posada has been the starting catcher of the New York Yankees for over a decade. He's done a great job since the beginning. Over the course of his time in New York, he has been called to five All-Star teams, four-time World Series Champion, and five Silver Sluggers. Only he and Yogi Berra have been the only Yankee catchers in history to hit 30 homeruns in a season.
Posada quietly carries the Yankees with his clutch hitting and adequate defense. Jeter gets most of the spotlight, while Posada gets barely any. He's a leader both on and off the field and has been one of the best catchers in recent years.
But all good things must come to an end.
Posada is growing older and is well past his prime. Injury to Posada can happen in an instant. He's gotten more surgeries and broken bones than any other catcher I know of.
As much as I like Posada, his catching days should be coming to a close.
Top prospect Jesus Montero keeps getting better and better, and every Yankee fan wants to see what he's made of. Keep him as the Opening Day Starter for one more season, and then he should retire.
I must say, out of anyone on this list, Posada has the most baseball knowledge. I can definitely see Posada as a coach one day, and many fans will agree.
Hall of Fame Worthy? He is Hall of Fame worthy because he has championships and batting awards on his side. However, his career batting average is decent at best and he has never won a Gold Glove.
Will He Make It? As much as I would love Posada in the Hall of Fame, I find it really hard to believe he'll get it. Posada really doesn't have any eye-popping statistics, and has never won an MVP. I could be wrong, but Posada has very little chance of making it into Cooperstown.
Remember when Ted Williams made guest appearances at ballgames years back, and he'd be announced as "the greatest hitter of all-time?"
Well, Mariano Rivera is the greatest relief pitcher of all-time, no questions asked.
Just think about it. Mariano throws primarily one pitch, the cutter. Mariano gets batters out with one pitch and they know it is coming, too.
Due to Mo's total domination, he has been an 11 time All-Star, five time World Series champion, has 559 saves (second all-time), and a 2.23 career ERA.
Mo's stats in the postseason are also unbelievable. He leads in two significant pitching stats --ERA and saves. He's one of the most respected players in baseball history.
Mariano will pitch for as long as he can. I think he'll keep going until he's about 43. Obviously, he wants to break the save record, and has a great chance of doing. Trevor Hoffman needs to retire first, however.
If Mariano can avoid injury after he is re-signed this off season, he has a great chance to even better his already lasting legacy.
Hall of Fame Worthy? Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?
Will He Make It? I don't know. Do the greatest players at their position make the Hall of Fame? Of Course!
You'll never, ever see another Mariano Rivera.
"Now Batting For the Yankees, Number Two, Derek Jeter, Number Two."
Derek Jeter has been the face of the Yankee franchise for as long as I can remember.
Arguably, Jeter has been the best shortstop of our generation.
As Captain of the Yankees, Jeter is an 11 time All-Star, five time World Series champion, four time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winner, Rookie of the Year, two time Hank Aaron award, and most importantly holds the all-time Yankees hits record as well as many others.
No worries, Yankees fans. Derek Jeter will be signed to a three-year contract. He'll finish his career in the Bronx and at shortstop. If I ever saw Derek Jeter in a Detroit Tigers uniform, I, as well as many others, would cry.
Why fans think the Yankees would drop Jeter because of coming off a career worst year is beyond me. Would the Cardinals drop Albert Pujols if he had a career worst season? I don't think so.
Of course, the Yankees have to be looking at heirs to Jeter's throne. No one is really jumping out. Hopefully, Cito Culver or Eduardo Nunez come along and become hard-hittin shortstops.
Hall of Fame Worthy? Career .314 hitter, will reach 3000 hits, a vast majority of awards. Enough said.
Will He Make the Hall of Fame? Yes. Jeter's one of the best shortstops baseball has ever seen.
Expect to see every member of the Core Four's number to be retired.
Hope you enjoyed reading, and please feel free to comment.