What a long, stange trip it's been.
After an off-season spending spree which landed the Yankees another crop of overpaid free-agents and one month of actual baseball, we here in the New York Metro area are already arguing over the merits of GM Brian Cashman's acumen in bringing in stars such as Mark Teixiera, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett (How long until A.J. drops the periods in his monicker ala CC? I say July). One can not turn on any sort of sports show without being bludgeoned by so called "die-hards" spewing his virtuous vitriol over how the Yankees need to rebuild instead of spend, put an end to their orgiastic spending and move back across the street into the old Stadium since opposing teams are hitting dingers into right field at an alarming pace.
Calm the H-E- DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS DOWN, PEOPLE.
Nothing makes me more mad than fans killing a team for a poor April performance; ready to slap the panic button and prematurely deeming the young season a failure. Let's break down the Yanks' major moves with a broader scope than 25 games, shall we?
Move #1: CC Sabathia
The argument: "Wow, we spent all this money on a guy who didn't want to be here, threw an extra year and $20 million at him to break his resolve, he came, and he stinks."
The reality: Has anyone ever watched Sabathia in April before? It hasn't been pretty, kids. In his career, CC has a 1.96 KO/BB rate per game in the months of March and April, with an opposing OBP of.337. This point is aimed at the fans who can not believe that he hasn't come in this season and struck out 15 batters per game, and that his control is not that what it once was, therefore confirming the fact that he's a bust. By September/October, however, his Ko/BB rate jumps to 3.36 and his opponents' OPS deflates to .279, while his BA against drops from .263 to .220 within that same span. Not to mention the fact that Sabathia is good for 220+ innings per year, will take the ball on short rest and is a devestating lefty option worthy of the "Ace" title bestowed upon him. I have no qualms about stating the fact that by the time the leaves begin to turn and we're all tired of summer, we Yankee fans will be dancing a dance and will be eating Quarter Pounders in reverence of the Bombers' new Hefty Lefty.
The Prediction: 16-8 with a whole pile of no-decsisions, 220+ strikeouts and the knowledge not to go eat too many falafels or beef-kababs after the games.
Move #2 : Mark Teixiera
The argument: "This guy is hitting .187 and all he has is warning track power in a home-run hitter's ballpark. He's too soft for New York."
The reality: If you've watched any film on this guy, you'd know that he's dropping his back shoulder every time he's swinging the bat. It's a mechanical issue, and balls that he would normally drive into the seats are dying on the warning track. Add that to the fact that he's not batting in front of Alex Rodriguez yet, and you will understand that he's seeing many less pitches to hit. As his .354 OBP shows, he is still getting his walks, as he already has 19 BB during this young season. As much as I like Nick Swisher, he's no A-Rod; I know that as soon as A-Rod starts batting behind Big Tex that Teixiera will be dealt a lot more pitches to hit, thereby raising every average one could come up with. Teixiera's Yankee inititation has already begun, with the boos raining down upon him loudly, I have no doubt those boos will turn to cheers within the next 30 days. Again, in March and April, Tex has a career average of .249/.349/.433 in the categories of BA, OBP and SLG in April. By September, those numbers balloon to .309/.392/.605 respectively. He'll be fine and I'm sure that he will heat up sooner than later.
The Prediction: .303 BA, 37 HR, 110 RBI
I'm not going to comment on A.J. Burnett or the forgotten move for Nick Swisher right now, as they are the subject of tomorrow's blog. The only point I really wanted to convey was that Yankee fans are quicker than most to dismiss the bigger picture than most other fans. Maybe it has to do with the 24 hour news cycle, maybe it has to do with the fact that New York is the largest media market in the country; either way, this short sample size of one month of baseball is in no way indicative of what the long term benefits will be by these two over the top free agent signings. Relax, have a cream soda and get back to me in July.
Tomorrow is another day, Yankee fans.