The New York Yankees had a solid 2011 season. With so many question marks heading into the season, the Yankees actually fared quite well and in fact got lucky in some situations.
It is hard to look at ways to improve when you win the toughest division in pro sports with 97 victories. That being said, there are some glaring issues with this roster.
Let us examine seven huge issues with the roster that need to be addressed.
It is pretty evident which of these two issues are more pertinent this offseason.
The offense was not the problem. The Yankees ranked first in HR, BB and second in RBI, R and OBP during the 2011 season.
The biggest issue with the Yankees offense is coming through in the clutch as A-Rod, Teixeira and Russell Martin all hit .176 or lower in the postseason.
The pitching is the clear issue of this squad. With C.C’s 6.23 postseason ERA, there is a large crack at the top of this rotation.
Let us examine this issue in more detail.
Sabathia has been one (if not the most) consistent pitcher since the turn of the century. Sabathia has started at least 30 games every season since 2001 (save the 2006 season where he had 28) adding up to 2,364.1 innings pitched.
Statistically speaking, his ERA was one of the lowest in years, but his WHIP was one of the highest. Yet after his poor postseason showing, the Yankees must ponder the idea of whether or not C.C. is going to start to regress and break down.
So the question remains, if C.C. opts out of his contract, is he worth the huge deal he is seeking? After 355 career starts, it is tough to ascertain that his dominance will continue.
C.C. is a big man at 6’7" and roughly 300 lbs. That will lessen the wear and tear on his body, and he is only 31 years of age.
I believe that C.C. will continue to be a dominating pitcher in the next couple of years.
The curious case of Phil Hughes has been well-documented. After an impressive campaign where he had 18 wins, he followed that up with an injury-riddled 2011 where he posted an ERA of 5.79.
With the emergence of Ivan Nova, Hughes’ spot in the rotation was in jeopardy. However, with some of the old one-year wonders most likely gone (ex: Garcia and Colon), Hughes could have his spot cemented in the rotation.
But is this a wise move? Hughes has shown to be brittle and you wouldn’t want to rely heavily on an oft-injured starting pitcher.
At this point, Girardi doesn’t have many other options, and as he stated today, he believes Hughes will be in the rotation.
Both Colon and Garcia are now free agents. Both of these starters stunned the world with their success this season but also hit the disabled list.
Colon started on fire but finished very poorly, going winless in August and September. At 38 years of age, it is tough to rely on such an elder statesman.
Garcia on the other hand, finished 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA. Unlike Colon, Garcia finished with five wins in September. At 35 years of age, Garcia would be a decent innings eater for the Yankees if they cannot covet any free agents.
These three young pitchers seem to be part of the young foundation of this pitching staff. Noesi started a few games this season, and Girardi believes that he could start to challenge for a position on the roster. In fact, Girardi stated: “I think the kids could start to challenge”
It will be interesting to see how the offseason plays out and if they do in fact sign a big -name pitcher or leave the spots vacant for the "kids to challenge."
With such Yankee stalwarts as Teixeira and A-Rod both struggling in the ALDS, one must wonder how to resolve this issue.
This is a pertinent yet tough question to answer.
Rather than sit here and speculate on what could be done to address the poor offensive showing in the playoffs, I will just simply state that this is an issue that needs to be resolved.
Everyone in New York will be clamouring for the Yankees to make a move to bolster their rotation. I believe that Wilson and Darvish would be the two best options available on the free-agent market.
Wilson, another hard-throwing lefty (to combat the short porch in right) would be a great addition to the Yankees' rotation. After converting from a closer, Wilson has lit up the opposition in the past two seasons.
Set for a big payday, it will be interesting to see what the Rangers elect to do once their playoff venture has ended. Regardless, the Yankees should throw a lot of money his way.
Yu Darvish is another young phenom who currently plays for the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan. I have written an article on the advantages of signing a player like Darvish, and I believe that the Yankees would do right in signing him.
Although there seems to be a lot of competition and a high price tag on his rights, the Yankees are usually the most successful in these regards.
Jorge Posada is at the end of his four-year contract with the Yankees. Could he have played his last game as a Yankee? It is clear that his skill set has diminished so will he retire, try one more kick at the can with another squad or will the Yankees sign him to a cheap contract for one final season?
If Posada did anything positive this season it was hitting .429 in the postseason with a league best .579 OBP. There are many teams who could use his experience and expertise on their roster, so what will become of one of the core four?
Like every other issue in this piece, it is completely up to the Yankees.