**Note** This blog was originally posted on December 21, 2013. Due to site upgrades, we had to repost this on December 23.
Would you trade Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera for Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran?
That’s what the Yankees just did. In fairness, Pettitte and Mo were already retiring, but I’m just trying to show all the additions and subtractions from the roster. Also in fairness, they’ll also have Jeter, Teixeira, and Soriano for a full season. Assuming A-Rod beats at least a part of his suspension, they’ll also have him for more of the season, but I don’t know whether to list that as a good or bad thing, because he could cost them so much in payroll flexibility that his presence could be downright terrible. (There’s a reason I’m rooting for him to get only 50 games.)
So, did the Yankees get better this offseason? They’ve swapped Granderson for Ellsbury, a stud, and Beltran, a probable stud who is one of the best studs ever in the playoffs (check is postseason stats, he’s up there with Babe Ruth and David Ortiz), and they decided they’d rather have a catcher who’s better than almost anyone at his position than a second baseman who’s better than anyone at the position. Then there are the two lost pitchers.
Truthfully, I think they’ve improved a little, if for no other reason than a lot of their guys are coming back from injuries. But it won’t matter unless they make significantly more moves this offseason.
The Yankees are old, and they’re not getting better. Here are the ages for the Yankees’s biggest names for next season (as of July 1, 2014): Jeter 40, A-Rod 38, Teixeira 34, Soriano 38, Ellsbury 30, Ichiro 40, Vernon Wells 35, Beltran 37, Gardner 30. Those are just the hitters. As far as the pitchers go: Sabathia 33, Kuroda 39, Nova 27, David Phelps 27, Michael Pineda 25. Only the Yankees final 3 starters are in their prime, and there’s already a pretty big dropoff between Sabathia and anyone else on the list. Only Ellsbury and Gardner are even close to their primes among the hitters, and both of them might not be able to play at the same time, since they’re pretty close to the same player.
Unless Sonny and Fredo Steinbrenner are willing to eat more money than the Dodgers and outspend anybody, the Yankees won’t get much better. As a diehard Sox fan, I’m not worried about the Yankees, and I don’t know the last time that I’ve been able to say that. It’s pretty awesome.