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Should the Yankees get younger?

Nov 22, 2009, 11:50 AM EDT

In a piece for the New York Times, Jonah Keri makes a rather interesting and detailed case for the Yankees to get younger next season.
While the dangers of complacency are numerous, he highlights the 2002
Anaheim Angels as the classic cautionary tale for what Yankees general
manager Brian Cashman faces in the coming months.




After winning the World Series in
2002, the Angels replaced just two players during the offseason, a
roster that was largely built on a house of cards due to small sample
sizes from the likes of Scott Spiezio, Adam Kennedy, Ben Weber, Russ
Ortiz and Jarrod Washburn. In 2003, the Angels lost 22 more games,
finishing below .500 and in third place in the American League West.




Obviously the Yankees are a much
different case, with an ability to absorb a few bad contracts, but Keri
sees danger in the Yankees standing pat going into 2010. He writes that
few players are more likely to see a regression than those in their
late-30s following a bounce-back season. Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon
and Andy Pettitte all played key roles in New York’s championship run
in 2009, however they are all 35 or older, with regression to the mean
far more likely than repeating their previous success.




Though he doesn’t offer alternatives to the players mentioned above, Keri argues that the Yankees should
try to add younger players to avoid such regression. As of now, it looks like the Bombers won’t heed his warning, as they hope to retain Damon while Pettitte is also expected to return.
To Cashman’s credit, Matsui, the biggest injury risk due to his surgically-repaired knees, is on the back burner.

  1. Old Gator - Nov 22, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    You’re making this entirely too complicated. All they need to become younger is the fresh blood of street waifs. In this economy, finding them should be no problem; it’s how to keep the New York Post from finding out about it that should concern the Steinbrenners.

  2. Lawrence From Plattekill - Nov 22, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    Keri’s argument about the 2002 Angels is odd. They relied on players who had career years. The Yankees in 2009 didn’t have players with career years–they had players whose performances were in line with their careers, but who may be facing falloff because of age. It’s a different thing.
    And also, the general plan is to get younger by waiting for some kids: Montero, Jackson,e tc, and moving HUghes or Chamberlain into the rotation. Seems like a plan. Holding on to Damon for one more year will actually help them implement it.
    My guess, though, is that Damon is more likely to regress big time than Matsui, so they should punt him now.

  3. haiku-man - Nov 22, 2009 at 8:50 PM

    Yankees had more homegrown players,56%,then any team in MLB in 2009.
    They have a young pen,starting rotation,and outfield.
    Only the vets are older but still performing at high levels.Mo was the only closer in postseason to not blow a save.
    Andy performed great on short rest and has the most postseason wins then any other pitcher.
    Jeter had a record breaking year,passed some Yankee greats records,and won a gold glove.
    Alex came alive big time in posrseason.
    YANKEES ARE FINE FOR NOW!!
    -Haiku-man

  4. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Nov 23, 2009 at 7:50 AM

    The Yankees in 2009 didn’t have players with career years–they had players whose performances were in line with their careers, but who may be facing falloff because of age. It’s a different thing.

    They got a couple. Cano and Damon both had career years, but Cano is only 27 so it’s expected. Matsui and Posada had close to their best years, and should be expected to regress a little. However, as you mentioned, these are all stop gaps for one more year until the young guys come up.

  5. YANKEES1996 - Nov 23, 2009 at 2:18 PM

    O.K., listen up Mr.Cashman the Yankees do not necessarily need to get younger right now. However we should be looking to stock pile reliable pitching (i.e. John Lackey), if you get the chance to get some youngers players do it, as there are other teams looking for youth. The Yankees did protect the right players for the upcoming Rule 5 draft. The protected players should not be offered in a trade package for anyone (i.e. Roy Halladay). There are several younger players now playing for the Yankees and several of the younger guys look real good, so relax and concentrate on pitching. Be aggressive and sign Matt Holliday, offer Johnny Damon a fair 2 year deal and let Matsui go. Then pay close attention to the Farm clubs and continue to bring the younger guys along we are going to need them soon enough. We don’t need to get young all at once as we showed this year a nice blend of youth with the know how of veteran leadership will pay off.

  6. BIGBRUCE11047 - Nov 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    With the Yankees winning the World Series in 2009, they won’t be spending the money they spent in the offseason of 2008. They do need to begin developing position players in their farm system to replace the “old men” that are playing now. The Yankees are worried about winning now and in the next few years the big contracts are going to come due and there won’t be anyone (other than free-agency) to replace them. It cost less money to develop players in the farm system than paying a player millions for a couple of good years. They won’t do anything right now and one of the next few years they are going to fall flat on their face.

  7. Bobby - Nov 23, 2009 at 5:29 PM

    Without HGH, we are going back to the old days when older players will break down and not come back quickly from injuries. Mr Cashman – sign Pettite and Godzilla for 1 year contracts. Adios to Damon.

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