The door to the Yankees clubhouse opened at 10 a.m. yesterday — essentially the start of their spring training — and, oh my gosh, Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart really were the catchers.
This wasn’t some “Dallas” Bobby Ewing dream that explained away an un-Yankees offseason. Pitchers and catchers reported and the Yankees seemed short on half of that equation. Or at least they had invited a bunch of defense-first backup types to camp — none of whom has ever started more than 80 games or hit more than four homers in a major league season — in hopes of unearthing a leading man.
Kind of like auditioning a bunch of Will Arnetts to star in a blockbuster and believing a Will Smith will emerge.
You might not have liked Russell Martin’s .211 average, but there is no doubt he is a major league starting catcher. His exodus and the uncertainty it leaves behind the plate symbolize how the Yankees are doing business these days: one eye on competing for a title, one firmly cast on getting beneath that $189 million 2014 luxury tax threshold.
“This team can win 95 games and get to the World Series,” Joe Girardi said. “Because there is a lot of talent in that room.”
He is right. The best-case possibility is still Canyon of Heroes. But what is different from at any time in the past two decades is the worst case. The Yankees have played .540-or-better ball (the equivalent of 87.5 wins in a 162-game season) for an unprecedented 20 straight seasons. The previous record was 18 consecutive years by the dynastic 1926-44 Yankees.
It is an amazing streak that speaks to the depth of talent the Yankees have had, a depth that has meant even if things pretty much went haywire, the Yankees still would figure out how to win 87 games. Heck, in 2008, the only season they failed to make the playoffs since 1993, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui and Chien-Ming Wang got hurt, Andy Pettitte pitched through injury and Darrell Rasner was essentially the No. 3 starter, yet that team still managed 89 wins.
Bombers still talented, but lack of depth could spell end of era
New York Post | Feb 13