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Everybody’s selling the Yankees short

Feb 1, 2013, 11:34 AM EDT

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Richard Justice’s latest column at MLB.com has the headline “Are the Yankees a last place team?”  Then he saves us some time with his first line:

Let’s not bury the lead, to use a time-tested newsroom phrase. No, they are not.

Well, there you go.  Two observations:

  • The AL East is a tightly packed division. There is not a bad team there. Random variations of health, luck and bullpen performance could basically make any of the five teams first place teams and any of them last place teams. I have no idea how the division will shake out, but I can tell you that whoever finishes last in the AL East will not be a terrible team this year; and
  • Given all the bad press the Yankees are getting, you’d have no idea that they won 95 games last year.

If this keeps up I think I’ll hop a flight to Vegas and bet the over on their win totals. People are forgetting that it’s the New York Yankees here. They always find a way.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Ya know Craig, you haven’t written enough about the Yanks these past few days. Don’t you have a DEREK EATER picture or something in the queue? CC in the BSOHL?

    I keed, I keed.

    • heyblueyoustink - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      I’d take a Batman or Aquaman or how the original Clash of the Titans has been totally basterdized post at this point.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Wait a sec, there are some who think the new Clash of the Titans was better than the original? Break out the torches gentlemen, this cannot stand!

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 1, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      The Yankees and Derek Jeter are awesome!

      I worry about the Yankees age, but I like having older/mature guys in New York, way too much
      trouble here to get yourself into. I find it incredible guys don’t get into trouble in NYC as it is.

      I worry about Tampa and Baltimore they are both managed very well and good young talent.

      I worry if the Yankees stink the summer will be less fun followed by a miserable fall and winter.

      oh boy!

      we have about two more weeks til the boy’s report…………….
      woo hoo………………..
      can’t wait!

      • badintent - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:27 PM

        In Jose’s book, Juiced, he tells how Joe Torre told him the first day how things were gonna be or he be on the next plane to Miami so fast his bats would catch on fire. Yankees don’t put up with any crap from bench players and very little from starters. AN NO CHICKEN IN THE CLUBHOUSE DURING GAME TIME.

  2. bigharold - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    The Yankees are a last place team? Did anybody tell the Yankees this, .. cause if they’re not informed they might go put and run off another 95 win season. There is no dominant team in the AL East.

    Every year the Yankees are too old, ..too brittle, .. not enough pitching, .. whatever. And, yet from 1994 through 2012 they’ve missed the playoffs just once. Every year the Yankees have to hear it about throwing money at problems but the one year that they don’t, .. due in large part to the fact that there wasn’t a lot out there that fit their needs, .. their a supposedly a decaying dead team. What horse pucky!

    The Yankees have one of the best rotations in the AL East, the best pen, and a powerful line up. So, for everybody out there that thinks this year the Yankees to crash and burn, .. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    “… it’s the New York Yankees here. They always find a way.”

    Or as they like to say here on the bridge of the death star… “We’re the Yankees and your not.”

    • cur68 - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      I’ve been paying attention to this blog for a few seasons now. I’ve noticed something. Craig’s pretty accurate. He can call a good team and a bad team reasonably well. Better than I can, in fact. So, yeah. The Yankees are competitive. What’s more they’ll have their big slugger returning rested, re-habbed and healed right after AS break. Not to mention seriously motivated to shut up his critics. JUST in time to make a big push at the post season. So, once again, The AL Beast is gonna be a dog fight. But the best news? The best news is that, for a change, The BeaverMen are getting a nod from Mr. Calcaterra as having a chance. With Lex Luthor in our corner we CAN beat the Empire. Just need to build up enough of a lead that when ARod returns and resumes laying waste to AL pitching My Boys are well out in front.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        What’ll be fun (and heart attack inducing) this year is that I honestly think every time save the Sox has a decent shot at first place, as Craig mentions, depending on how the dominos fall. If the Beavermen stay healthy, they probably have the best team on paper. If the Yanks get similar production out of their returning players and a few performing a little better (cough Teixeira cough) they have just as much a claim for first with that pitching staff as anyone. The Rays are always good, but that lineup minus BJ won’t scare anyone, same with the Orioles. I just don’t see the Sox, with that staff and lineup, being first place worthy.

        I could easily see a bunch of teams around 85-88 wins, with the winner taking 90 if that this year.

      • cackalackyank - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        I agree that the Jays are going to be more competitive than they have in long while. The thing about this game though, is that you just never know. I would have placed the Jays ahead of the Rays for a couple seasons in the last four or five…but the Jays have had injuries out the ying yang imho. Given the way injuries can happen and the way occasionally a “fill in” will turn into a difference maker, I would say that all the teams in the AL East except for the Sox can place anywhere from 1-4.

    • jwbiii - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      Or as some of us like to say, “We made it through the third grade and you’re a Yankees fan.”

  3. humanexcrement - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Craig, I love your work, I really do, but I have to disagree with you here. The Yankees do not always find a way. I am about the same age as you, and grew up in the 80s-90s, when the Yankees were garbage until 1994. I remember the year the finished second behind Toronto and I thought a miracle had happened. But this team right now, except for Robinson Cano, is past its prime, mired in bad contracts, and worse than it was last year. They can go nowhere but down. They are headed for what the Red Sox experienced these past few years.

  4. gigab0t - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Sure they won 95 games…then lost 4 in a row! Hey-oh! Go Tigers!

    • historiophiliac - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Grrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. sleepyirv - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Thinking “they always find a way” is the first step to NOT always finding the way. You don’t keep playing Russian Roulette and winning.

  6. APBA Guy - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    The amazing thing about the AL East this year is that you can make a case for and against each team and those cases are plausible. Even more amazing, Baltimore and Toronto have an equal share of the opportunity this year as New York and Tampa and probably more than Boston.

    At least out West we are sure the Astros will be in last place. We may not be sure about which team will end up in 1st, but we are sure about the Astros.

    • cur68 - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      I at once grinned and winced at this analysis. Yep, the Beav have a good crack at it. But, that stuff about the Astros? Man. That’s harsh. Someone better check on my friend Stex (The ‘Stros one and only fan). He might have just placed his head in his oven. Lets hope its electric.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        One of my baseball buddies is a Houston fan, and even he calls them the Lastros.

        I met a barkeep recently with stars tattooed on his wrists. He was surprisingly up on the doings in MLB, considering his recent incarceration….so there’s three fans.

      • hk62 - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        I too am an Astros fan. Funny thing about situations where everyone expects a team to finish last (oh, I do too – I’m not delusional) – with zero pressure on them, sometimes strange things happen – there is always at least a tiny ray of hope. At least they won’t be a $90 million payroll last place team…

  7. proudlycanadian - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I read the column by Justice and in his pre-season power ranking he has the Yankees third in the AL East. Personally, I would put them in second place in my pre-season ranking. Obviously, the games still have to be played and injuries will happen. Once again, it will be fun to follow the division.

  8. cosanostra71 - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    The Yankees look an awful lot like my Lakers do. Which is not where you want to be right about now.

    • badintent - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:29 PM

      Nor the Clippers tongiht. Got smackdown crackdown by Raps ! The mayans were right.The west is doomed

  9. simon94022 - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    They are probably a 95 win team, and everyone else in that division is overrated.

    Boston – maybe will get a post-Valentine bounce, but there’s a good chance this is a sub .500 team.

    Toronto – not sure how adding a fine knuckleballer plus a bunch of Marlins rejects turns a 73 win team into a World Series favorite. 85 wins may be their ceiling.

    Baltimore – unless they repeat their 1 run game record of 54-2 or whatever it was, the O’s are almost a lock to regress significantly.

    Tampa Bay – the Little Engine that Could probably can’t get far above 90 wins.

    My prediction is Yankees win AL East by 10 games. It is not even close to being the best division in baseball, or even best division in AL.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Simon should get a gig on Comedy Central.

      • mazblast - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:10 AM

        Nah. He’s far funnier than 95% of the crap that channel dispenses.

    • protius - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:58 AM

      Not bad, Simon.

      Your assessments are realistic, with one exception. I agree, that the Yankees will take the AL East, but not by 10 games; I think that a 2 to 5 game margin will be the most that they can manage. It will be a tight race.

      New York, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Toronto will all be bunched together early on, but as May turns into June, New York will pull ahead. Toronto will stay close with Tampa Bay, and Baltimore will fall into fourth place, ahead of the struggling BoSox.

      Baltimore will surge in August, but fall back. Tampa’s excellent pitching will outshine Toronto’s so-so pitching, and Toronto will fade to third place.

      In September, the Yankees will be holding off the Rays, the same way they held off the O’s the year before.

      I’m going to cut and paste my predictions to Word, so that I can reintroduce them here at the end of the 2013 season. Just for fun.

      Composed on 2/2`/2013 at 12:54AM

  10. Brian Donohue - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Yankees = United Federation of Planets
    Jays = Klingon Empire
    Rays = Vulcans
    O’s = Cardassian Empire
    Sawx = Romulan Empire

    Oh, sorry, I’ve been thinking about the 24th century a lot lately.

    • gloccamorra - Feb 2, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      You misspelled Kardashian.

  11. uyf1950 - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    I love it when people sell the Yankees short and underestimate them. It makes their success so much sweeter for us Yankee fans.

  12. scrock25 - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Super super supermarket!!

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 1, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Dear Dick Justice: Bury the L-E-D-E. Get your industry phraseology right.

  14. thebadguyswon - Feb 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I wouldnt write them off, but there’s no question that they have an old team. No way do they win 95 games but they could certainly make the playoffs.

  15. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Feb 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Justice’s article was solid overall, but it’s a huge stretch to put their starting rotation above the Rays and Jays. Not saying it’s impossible, but pretty much everything would have to play out perfectly for that to happen.

  16. scrock25 - Feb 1, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Super super supermarket!!!!

  17. cackalackyank - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    I would love to believe Justice and absolutely I would like the Yankees to do better than most expect. That having been said, right now this is all on paper analysis and opinions. There is a reason they make the guys trot out there and actually play 162 regular season games. I will take on the age thing first. Age can be a big factor for athletes, especially in the way they heal. The Yankees do have a number of key pieces recovering from injury, so on paper that, quite fairly, can raise doubts. However, to presume that age factor is necessarily an albatross is a bit foolish. Conditioning and experience can be a factor too. There have been several teams that have had a much lower average age that have been decimated by injuries in recent years, largely because of poor conditioning etc. ( I am talking to you Mets and Red Sox fans) Where the on paper analysis really leads to the “underestimation”, again quite fairly, is in the offence. The NYY were a team that had terrible performance hitting with RISP last year. Trust me when I say they won 95 games inspite of their lack of timely hitting. Let’s not forget that they almost swooned their way out of winning the division. I really do not see, again on paper, where that situation has been improved. On paper there is a fair aguement to be made that it has gotten worse. I do not think Canzler, Hafner, and Romine or Cervelli are in any way replacements for Swisher, Martin, Chavez and Ibanez offensively. In all seriousness, no one really expects Granderson to strike out less this season do they? In all deference to Youk, I do not think he will offer the protection in the lineup for Cano and Texeira that (darn I have to say it) A-rod would. So having addressed age and the offence that leaves a big defensive question. How much of a factor was Martins pitch calling in getting decent results out of the Rotation? Was Martin familiar with Kuroda from time in LA? Who fills in at first when Mark “brittle bones” Texeira gets his annual owie? Did you say Youkilis? Then who is playing third? It just seems that one or two injuries could finish any thought of the playoffs this year in the Bronx. But, again, this is all on paper.

    • cackalackyank - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      Just saw a story that Canzler was DFA’d by NYY. So I will add on that outside of Nunez, and getting Hafner to play some 1b the NYY now have no real infield utility type. Also, will mention the survey ealier in the week that showed NYY only have 3 of the top 100 prospects right now, And they are all around AA.

  18. yankeepunk3000 - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    I see them as being competitive but I don’t see them winning 95. They have an decent starting line-up, CC coming off surgery and Andy Petite who we can only hope give us 140 to 150 innings this year. Ivan Nova is not a sure thing, and we need to wait and see how Pinieda comes back from his surgery as well. In take we have a starting rotation with a lot of questions.

    Then our hitters, who are one year older Jeter coming off an injury as well. We have Youk who can hit well but also big injury risk and now signed a DH who again is a huge injury question. We had trouble with RISP last year and this year I don’t see us very much improving. Wehn 95 games is a stretch but 85 to 90 does seem attainable. Im one of the biggest Yankee fans around and I don’t mind looking at a season realistically. If the Blue Jays take first i still will be thrilled with the season, Baseball is back and that’s all that matters

  19. yankeepunk3000 - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    I see them as being competitive but I don’t see them winning 95. They have an decent starting line-up, CC coming off surgery and Andy Petite who we can only hope give us 140 to 150 innings this year. Ivan Nova is not a sure thing, and we need to wait and see how Pinieda comes back from his surgery as well. In take we have a starting rotation with a lot of questions.

    Then our hitters, who are one year older Jeter coming off an injury as well. We have Youk who can hit well but also big injury risk and now signed a DH who again is a huge injury question. We had trouble with RISP last year and this year I don’t see us very much improving. When 95 games is a stretch but 85 to 90 does seem attainable. Im one of the biggest Yankee fans around and I don’t mind looking at a season realistically. If the Blue Jays take first i still will be thrilled with the season, Baseball is back and that’s all that matters

  20. joerymi - Feb 1, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Even if the Yankees make the playoffs, would the Angels, Tigers, or Rangers be anything but thrilled to play them?

    • cackalackyank - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:33 PM

      Well we know the Tigers would think it was……(wait for it)……GRRRRRREAT!

  21. jaybird22seven - Feb 2, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    If Toronto stays healthy and plays to their ability then they will be first in the AL East. Tampa should finish close for second place. While Baltimore, NY, and Boston battle it out for 3-5. And again if everyone stays healthy. The Yankees won’t be contenders after the all star break.

  22. scrock25 - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Lol jaybird22seven

  23. mazblast - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    The Yankees are like your average, ordinary neighborhood vampire. They’re not dead until you drive a stake through their heart.

    I think that more than other teams, Yankee fans overestimate their team and haters and non-fans underestimate them.

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