Last night, the New York Yankees were blown out for one final time in 2010, watching as the Texas Rangers celebrate with ginger ale on the pitcher's mound after closer Neftali Feliz struck out Alex Rodriguez for the last out. Good to see A-Rod finally help Texas to the World Series!
More seriously though, the Yankees' window is quickly shutting, as even all the money in the world won't be able to get the Yankees out of their current troubles.
They're old. They're breaking down. They're overpaid. Like really, really overpaid. They spent $64.5 million on their starting rotation this season. Texas spent $55.3 million on their entire team. The Yanks rotation—once considered the class of the majors—was an absolute joke once the spotlight focused on them. Phil Hughes crumbled in the second half of the season (8-7, 5.55 ERA), and lost both his starts against Texas.
AJ Burnett was good for a 10-15 record, and a 5.26 ERA this season—just good enough for an $80 million deal, and a Game 4 loss.
And who could forget Javy Vazquez, who went 10-10, with a 5.32 ERA, and was reduced to nothing more than a long-inning reliever—a kind term for mop-up duty—once August turned to September?
Even Andy Pettitte wasn't the same after his arm injury, and chances stand at only 50/50 that he decides to return next season. Heck CC—or Cash Cow—was good for a 5.62 ERA in three postseason starts, getting bailed out by his offense in all of his appearances.
The hitting wasn't much better. Derek Jeter hit .270 this season, or 44 points below his career average. His OBP was 66 points lower than the year before. And at 36, his fielding is slowly starting to deteriorate. Now the Yankees will have to shower him with a new deal because—let's face it—they're not getting rid of "The Captain."
Nick Johnson was an absolute disaster of a one-year deal, and makes you wonder why they didn't re-sign Hideki Matsui, or at least make a run at Texas DH Vladimir Guerrero.
Mark Teixeira started with his usual first-month slump, but never broke out of it. A-Rod's .270 average was 33 points below his career average, though he was good for another 30/100 season. But at 35, A-Rod had another terrible postseason (.219 AVG, zero HR, three RBI) and isn't exactly a fan favorite.
Jorge Posada is 39, and is coming off a year in which he batted .248, his lowest since 1999. Look around the league, and you'll notice how few catchers there are that are over 35. Having a 40-year-old catcher is almost unheard of.
Mariano Rivera is eventually going to retire. Who in that bullpen is taking over for him? Do you trust Joba Chamberlain to really be the closer of the future?
So where do the Yankees turn from here? The Royals have put Zack Greinke on the trading block, but their No. 1 target is Cliff Lee, who dominated them in the World Series last year, and in Game 3 of the ALCS this season. The best postseason pitcher in baseball right now, Lee is set to turn 32, but when has age ever mattered to the Yankees?
But at the end, it may not mean much. Joe Girardi was out-managed all series by Ron Washington, making dumb decision after dumb decision. If we want to credit him with helping the Yanks win the Series last year, you have to fault him for them getting blown out of the ALCS this season.
Texas got hot at the right time. As a Rays fan, I know this better than any Yankee fan. On paper, I take both the Rays and Yanks over the Rangers. But the Rangers steamrolled the Yanks, and save an eighth-inning rally in Game 1, the Yankees get swept in this series. So for Yankee fans, take solace that the brooms remained in the closet.
Lance Berkman, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were the only three hitters who even bothered showing up for the playoffs. And as much as everyone loves Brett Gardner and his great hustle, the fact is he batted .185 in the playoffs, and had only five home runs in 150 games this season.
I'd never count the Yankees out, because they like buying shiny new players, especially in a state of depression. Remember their spending spree two years ago, when they didn't make the playoffs (Hello CC, AJ and Teix!). I'm not saying it will be to that magnitude—especially with Jeter, Girardi, Mariano and potentially Pettitte all needing new deals—but this team will do everything possible to get Carl Crawford, bring in Cliff Lee and possibly look into Rafael Soriano to take over for Mo in a couple years. But for now, let's all rejoice—the Bronx is Burning. And all that money is only fueling the fire.
Michael Perchick is the writer/editor of TheJockosphere, a sports/Twitter site, reporting the top tweets and news directly from athletes. Follow him on Twitter @TheREALPerchick, and at http://thejockosphere.com/.