The LA Dodgers, managed by Joe Torre, just completed their sweep of the Chicago Cubs, their first postseason series win since they went all the way in 1988. The Yankees missed the postseason for the first time since 1993 (which sounds longer than it really is – 1994 was the strike year). Since the last couple of years of Torre’s time in NY were a bit rough with The Boss, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and he was rather dramatically let go, it is…ironic that Torre has managed the Dodgers to the playoffs, and the Yankees have missed it.
If there is such a headline – suggesting that it’s the departure of Joe Torre that caused the Yankees to miss the playoffs – then it’s sensationlism and complety missing the point.
I’m incredibly sad that the Yankees didn’t make it. I routinely zone out on the playoffs when the Yankees get bounced (as they have each year since 2003, when they lost to the Marlins in the World Series). But Torre isn’t the reason the Yankees didn’t make it, or the reason why the Dodgers did. I’m no baseball analyst, just a fan, but, for instance:
- Asking 2 rookies (Hughes and Kennedy) to be aces rather than just rookies
- Not making up their mind about Joba
- When dealing with the offensive problems, not dealing with the biggest issue – Robinson Cano. With that hole in the lineup it made things really tough.
- I really like Melky Cabrera, but he isn’t ever really going to hit more than about .270 or so. If we have the production elsewhere, then great. But otherwise he’s an offensive liability.
- Losing a little bit of focus on how the Yankees should go about their offense, especially killing the base-stealing side of things.
And as for the Dodgers?
- Manny Ramirez. ’nuff said
Do I have some thoughts on next year? Sure…
His stuff still seems good, but Pettite just didn’t get it done last year. And Mussina has been a great investment but his age is an issue. And while I like going with the farm-system folks, I have to admit that there is some serious talent out on the market. Ben Sheets – too fragile IMO. But the other Brewer available? C. C. Sabathia. I think he could be the one.
That would give a rotation of Sabathia, Wang, Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy. Yes, you heard right – I think Wang is a fine #2, and I still think Hughes and Kennedy will be great. They just need to be told to pitch like rookies. Remember Peyton Manning the first year he was the QB for the Colts, as a rookie? Yeah, he threw more TD’s than any other rookie in history, if I remember correctly, but he also threw more interceptions. Get out there. Go after them. Screw up, learn, get better.
Honestly, figure out what’s up with Cano. The other issues deal with the outfield…
There is nothing “wrong” with the defense but this might be the one team I know that has way too many outfielders and no centerfielder. Damon is a great leadoff hitter, but he’s really a left fielder nowadays. And I like Nady as a left fielder even more. That guy can just hit. Period. Abreu is critical to the lineup so he stays in right.
That means we either get a killer defensive centerfielder and just let him be the #9 and be a good part of the clubhouse (ever wonder why Scott Brosius was with the Yankees for so many years?) or we get someone else. But no matter what, that least at least Matsui out of the mix entirely, and Damon is just an unknown if Nady is in left.
I like how Girardi leaned on all of the bullpen members, helping to develop several of them. I’m thinking there has to be a hard throwing guy with good stuff in the minors that is ready to climb up as a great setup guy and eventually take the reigns from Rivera as closer. I think Rivera really is a great player, deserving of notice way above and beyond any other closer, but if the overall bullpen is solid, then the fact that 90% of the time a team heads into the 9th with a lead ends up winning the game comes into play. We can have our own version of Frankie Rodriguez if the rest of the bullpen is there.