Every year it seems that the Yankees get off to a bad start or go into some sort of mid-season funk and then pull it out. This year, they look exceptionally bad due to (not a lack of conditioning) but a pitching roster with more holes in it than Blackburn Lancashier (itâ€™s a reference to a Beatles song, I didnâ€™t want to say the age-old reference, â€œSwiss cheeseâ€?).So whatâ€™s the problem? Itâ€™s not hitting, although it could be timely hitting. The pen is not in great shape and the starters are injured-inconsistent-and-not deep. The fact is it is tough to be a top team even if you do have the best line-up in baseball. Why? Because if your hurlers canâ€™t stop mediocre hitting, your team is in deep trouble.
Is the problem Torre? No, what can he do? Was it the conditioning coach they fired? (Are you kidding?) The problem is NYâ€™s GM Brian Cashman, who in the past five-years has been unable to put together a pitching staff capable of winning the World Series. Actually, they havenâ€™t been capable of getting to the World Series. The man with the biggest budget in baseballâ€”over $200 millionâ€”and the most aggressive owner in the majors has been unable to put together a solid pitching rotation.
First, thereâ€™s the reliance on veterans. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with veteran pitching but the Yankees have had their share of vets who break down. Then thereâ€™s the lure of the big bucks for pitchers who donâ€™t have the mental make-up for the Bronx Zoo. Randy Johnson had both the physical and mental problems alluded to.
Torre is partly to blame. How many seasons has he been going to the pen early in games and simply wearing out the arms. So that by September some of those rotator cuffs seem to be handing by a thread. If Torre tends to manage that way, shouldnâ€™t Cashman stack the pen accordingly?
Of course there is the near-perfect Mariano Riveraâ€”who is still a major force but, again, an aging one. Finally, there is a lack of depth in the pitching staff. If Cashman could replicate the depth he has on the bench for position players in his pitching staff, they Bronx Bombers would be unbeatable.
One major problem for the Yankees is not in that organization but anotherâ€”the Boston Red Sox. The fact is after John Henry and company took over the team from Beantown the Yankees finally had a rival that was aggressive in getting players, focused on winning it all and able to evaluate talent. When John Harrington owned the team, the front office was a lethargic mess. Henry brought in Theo Epsteinâ€”the Wunderkindâ€”and the Sox had a long-range plan and a commitment to it.
Thatâ€™s something the Yankees seem to have forgotten along the way. Planning for the future. When you have all the money in the world and youâ€™re willing to spend everything and anything to winâ€”the quick fix is mighty attractive. But, like any habit, it can cause more problems than yield solutions.
So, where will the Yanks finish this season? Oh, manâ€”here I go. Out of the running. I donâ€™t believe they have the arms to get them to the playoffs. And although they have a lot of cash, thereâ€™s precious little effective talent available that they can purchase. Pitching is a tough commodity to secure at any time and once the Hot Stove season is over, itâ€™s almost impossible to fill the man holes the Yankees have.