Saturday, December 7, 2013

Yankees Have Become MLB's Version Of Florida

Jerry Seinfeld once said that "Florida is where old people go to die." (No, Mom, I'm not saying you're old. Dad, maybe, but not you.)

But if that's the case, does that mean the Yankees are where old baseball players go to squeeze out the last days of their playing careers?

Have the New York Yankees become the Florida of Major League baseball?

With Friday's signing Carlos Beltran, who will turn 37 in April, and the re-signing of 38-year-old Hiroki Kuroda, it sure is starting to look that way.

For anyone who missed it, hours after losing Robinson Cano on Friday because they refused to offer the second baseman more than a seven-year deal, the Yankees up their offer from two-years and gave Beltran a three-year, $45 million deal.

The Yankees' quick move after Cano bolted smacks of being reactionary. It also has to make you wonder why Brian Cashman was so stuck on a seven-deal with Cano. Cashman had been quite insistent on not giving Beltran more than a two-year, but when Cano signed, that all changed. Coincidence? I think not.

(Side note: The Jacoby Ellsbury deal was finalized Saturday ... a seven-year deal with a team option for an eighth. But the most Cashman would go with Cano was seven years. Hmmm ...)

Anyway, the Yankees also reached a one-year, $16 million deal on Friday with Kuroda, who was the Yanks' best starter last year, despite fading badly down the stretch.

Word has it the Yankees have started including a free AARP membership and a complimentary Cadillac in their contracts, have added a shuffleboard and Canasta tables to the clubhouse, and will be featuring an Early Bird Special with the pregame meals.

There is no truth, however, to the rumor that Major League Baseball will start allowing Yankees outfielders to use motorized scooters to field their positions, though canes and walkers have not been ruled out.

I wonder if the Yankees will get a discounted rate for hip and knee replacement surgeries.

Getty Images
Seriously. Have you looked at the roster?

Once the Beltran signing becomes official, the Bombers will have six outfielders and will also have eight players who will need to see significant at-bats at DH in order to get through season and be productive.

I wonder if anyone has told Cashman that only three outfielders and one DH can play at a time.

The lineup is particularly scary.

Setting aside the Alex Rodriguez's looming suspension (I'm looking forward to the day when I can get though a post without mentioning that), the Yankees currently have two players (Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki) who will be in their 40s next year, four more (Beltran, Rodriguez, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano) who will be at least 35, and six more who will be at least 30 (Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Brendan Ryan, Kelly Johnson, Brett Gardner and Ellsbury).

That's 16 position players who will be at least 30 next season.

It's looking very likely that the only position player on the roster who will be in his 20s will be the backup catcher ... and we're not sure whether that will be Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine or JR Murphy.

Now it's very likely the roster is going to change between now and Opening Day, but age will remain an issue. Wells will likely be cut and the San Francisco Giants may have interest in Ichiro, but the Yanks are considering signing 31-year-old Omar Infante.

On the pitching side of the roster, it's not as bad, but the younger guys are far from established. Kuroda is the only pitcher over 35, which actually is stark departure from last season, when the Yankees had two pitchers who were over 40. Of course, those guys happened to be Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.

CC Sabathia will turn 34 in July and the only other pitchers who will turn 30 next season are Shawn Kelley and David Huff ... and neither are locks to make the roster.

Everyone else is younger, but whether they'll be able to perform at the levels the Yankees need in order be successful is a huge question. David Robertson, who will turn 29, seems head to be The Great Mariano's replacement, and Ivan Nova, 27, seems to be a lock for the rotation. Everything else is up for grabs. The Yankees have to be hoping Michael Pineda, who will be 25, can regain the form he displayed in Seattle in 2011.

And if Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka does not get posted, that likely means the Yanks likely will have to add at least two more established arms who will be older than 30.

Gosh darn, this is going to be an old team. At least I can take solace in knowing that Dave will turn 42 about a week after I turn 41 in February.

Dave, what time does the Early Bird Special start?

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