Saturday, March 29, 2014

Yankees 2014: The Year in Review

Baseball Opening Day is always the most hopeful time of the year.  The weather turns warmer, and the hopes for 30 teams (OK, about 20 teams) are just starting to be realized.  I remember this time last year when we all thought the Yanks had rebuilt on the fly, and we all thought championship number 28 was a lock.  While it all turned out fine, it was amazing to see how things developed.

AL MVP Brett Gardner, an afterthought once Jacoby Ellsbury had signed, was the best lead off hitter in the AL not named Trout and a solid Gold Glove outfielder, making his relatively cheap (4 years, $52 million) contract the most efficient on the team. 

That is unless you count out AL Cy Young winner Ivan Nova.  Nova's 21 wins and 3.12 ERA sparked the pitching staff comback as did AL Rookie of the Year Masahiro Tanaka who led the league in strikeouts and was in the top 10 in ERA.  With CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda supporting the two young guns, the Yanks were first in the league in quality starts and third in ERA.

Two of the new free agent acquisitions, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann provided clutch hitting (combined .327 with RISP) making everyone forget Robinson Cano (who hit .244 with RISP in Seattle).  The biggest surprise was the endurance of Brian Roberts (a solid .275 in 142 games) and 3B Dean Anna (who took over for Kelly Johnson after he started the season 1 for 36). 

World Series MVP and fairy tale hero Derek Jeter was a cinch for Comback Player of the Year hitting .298 with 102 runs scored.  He will be missed.  

The funniest story was Ellsbury, who is healing nicely from his hip replacement after injuring himself in the Yanks seventh game.   While he will never live up to his potential, his injury opened up the leadoff spot and playing time for Gardner.  Funny how things just seem to work out.

Just Sayin' . . . 

. . .   The New York Football Giants have surprised many this off season by spending big, but with time running out on the Coughlin regime (and maybe the Reese regime as well), starting from scratch was never an option.  Look for the LB's to greatly improve this year with Jon Beason and Jameel McClain providing some old fashioned thunder. 

. . .  Ranger defenseman Ryan McDonough, Norris Trophy winner?  Yes, but he'll need to wait in line - these awards seem to be given out for bodies of work, not necessarily one year acheivements.

. . . I miss fantasy football, but I'm thinking that with this much player movement, it's going to make prep time harder for everyone (and work production in the US suffer in August?).  Is Montee Ball really a top 10 PPR player?  Ugh.

. . . Phil Jackson - maybe you want to rethink this whole president of basketball operations thing?  You have to have a basketball team first.