|End of New Yankee Dynasty May Come Soon||| Print |||Send|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on April 04, 2010
We found the blueprint for beating the Yankees about nine years ago. No, it didn't happen when the Diamondbacks rode Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and a ninth-inning bloop from Luis Gonzalez to win in seven exciting games in 2001.
The true way to beat the Yankees came in the years thereafter. For every season the Yankees didn't win the World Series, it seemed they added another highly paid star: Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and the trainwreck known as the end of Kevin Brown's career, to name a few.
And the Yankees have put themselves in the same position again. They already have $144 million due to players in 2011 (according to Cot's MLB Contracts). That figure doesn't include Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez. The team's heart, superstar closer and No. 3 and 4 starters, in other words.
Figure Jeter signs for something in the neighborhood of $20 million per season, and Rivera for the same $15 million as he currently has. That bumps the Yankees commitments for 2011 to $179 million. They then need to find two starting pitchers, both of whom won't come cheaply.
They don't have anyone in the farm system and going with a rotation of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Sergio Mitre (or Alfredo Aceves) next season isn't going to soothe anyone's fears. Money is the Yankees' best (and perhaps only) option for filling their rotation next season. Pretty soon, we're back to that $200 million payroll with very little flexibility.
But what hurt the Yankees the most were long-term deals for aging players. History's repeating itself all over again. Mark Teixeira is signed until the 2016 season, when he'll be 36 years old. Rodriguez is signed until 2017, when he'll be 42 years old. Jeter figures to receive a long-term deal that will last into his early 40's.
On the pitching side, Burnett will be 36 when he's done with his contract, while Sabathia, if he doesn't opt out, will be 35. Those players don't figure to age well. The former has battled injuries throughout his career, while the latter has a ton of innings thrown at a young age.
Now, it's always tricky trying to predict the future. Guessing what a team is going to look like in 2016 is about as fruitful as guessing what they're going to look like in 2012. But there's one thing for certain: The current Yankees look a lot like the Yankees from earlier this century. There are a lot of players signed for big money in seasons their productivity will diminish.