Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How are the Yankees Like Quint from Jaws?

In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, please allow me to make a Jaws reference.

Imagine that Quint is the Yankees' playoff hopes and Jaws is the current lineup, which last night featured Jayson Nix (.303 OPB) hitting second and Vernon Wells (.634 OPS) in the cleanup spot. Well, here's what's been happening the last month:

The Yanks either need a bigger boat, a.k.a. immediate lineup help, or they're going to continue spitting up blood. Even though they came from behind to win 10-4 last night, they still had this and this happen in the past week. They're just lucky the Twins were even sloppier (3 wild pitches, 2 errors, 1 passed ball) than them last night.

A bunch of articles have been written about the Yankees' struggles over the past few weeks (here's one from Grantland's Jonah Keri and here's another from the Post's Joel Sherman), but the problem is that there does not seem to be much help on the way. The team is exactly halfway through the season, but much of the early excitement has dissipated.

Here are the three most important questions the Bronx Bummers face the rest of the way:

1. Should they make a big trade?
I hate to write this, but I say no. The Yanks' main problems this season have been age and injuries, and I'd hate to see them sacrifice any valuable young guys for the sake of a playoff push. Fortunately, I think Brian Cashman has learned from the organization's recent bad contracts and won't continue to mortgage the future. Unfortunately...

2. Will any of the DL-bound players help?
Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Francisco Cervelli, and Alex Rodriguez all hope to return sometime soon (whatever soon means), but can fans reasonably expect much out of them? Granderson, Jeter, and A-Rod have all had recurring injuries and can't be relied upon to produce like their former selves. That means the team needs to hope that the rotation keeps them in most games. Michael Pineda is rehabbing and has looked good besides a rough start (3 IP, 4 ER for Double-A Trenton) on Sunday. Hopefully, he can slide into the starting five and David Phelps can add more depth to the bullpen. As the weather gets hot, CC Sabathia usually does the same. The rotation has to be strong the rest of the way. The Yanks also need someone other than Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano to produce at least a little. And speaking of the star second baseman...

3. How many years will the Yankees offer Cano in the off-season?
This is looking way ahead, but I've been thinking a lot about Cano's free agency lately. Even though he went through a small slump in June, his at-bats are basically the only consistently watchable events during Yankee games lately. He's hit three bombs in the last two games and should be primed for a big summer. But at the end of the year, what type of contract do the Yanks plan on offering? As great as Cano has been, he'll also be 31 in October. I'd hate to see the Yankees give him a seven- or eight-year deal and end up in the same type of mess that they're experiencing now with Teixeira, A-Rod, and the rest of the Medicare Mashers currently on the DL.

Now that I'm sufficiently depressed, I'm going to put on my David Adams jersey and stand in front of the 4 Train.

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