New York and its citizens might be bracing for baseball disappointment. They say it is the city that never sleeps but the 2014 baseball teams that will be on their fields may make them have nightmares. Plus, Sandman will not be entering to save games this year.
For the Met fans, let’s give you a few positives, with the key word being few. You do have a nice young catcher in Travis d’Arnaud. He does have a minor league career of impressive power with an above average batting average. But the downside is that in 99 major league at-bats he had a .202 batting average. You have one of the game’s best third baseman in David Wright who proved during the All Star festivities that he is also a great ambassador for the game. You also have a player who looks to be a gem in pitcher Matt Harvey. Unfortunately, he will miss this year with injury. The Mets have not won more than 79 games for 5 consecutive seasons. Based on that, looks like your team needs an overhaul. Apparently management came to the same consensus as they allowed 16 different players to leave the team this off-season.
Here are the negatives. The Mets decided to shell out 87.5 million on three free agents. They must be good players for that kind of money, right? The first is a platoon outfielder in Chris Young. The second is an aging overweight starting pitcher who noticeably ran out of gas at seasons end last year and was suspended for 50 games for using P.E.D.’s in the 2012 season in Bartolo Colon. The third of these three signings may be a bit familiar to New York fans as he has traded in his pinstripes for blue and orange. Curtis Granderson was signed by the Mets to patrol the outfield and protect David Wright in the batting order. Of these three signings I do not fault the Mets in trying to capture some of the Yankee magic and bring it to their side of the city. When you put together the three contract, the total dollars spend is absurd. They have lost their best starting pitcher in Harvey, 1st base is questionable, and the Mets outfield will be a mixture of backups and the unproven. Injuries have compounded the problem and it doesn’t help that your closer had neck surgery in the off-season. All told I think the ceiling is about 70 wins for the season.
As for the Yankees, your beloved captain is 39 years old and played in only 17 games last season, with this being his last season. Your entire infield is one big question mark. Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira are attempting comebacks from major injuries, your regular second basemen left for another team and baseball suspended your third basemen for the entire season. So to combat this, the big money Yankees signed infielders; Dean Anna, Kelly Johnson, and Brian Roberts and still, the infield is filled with question marks. Speaking of question marks, a major league roster has 25 players and the Yankees allowed 18 players to sign with other teams in the off-season while signing 8 additional players. It is widely agreed that they have a farm system that ranks below most other teams. This leaves me wondering, where are the productive infielders going to come from?
If you thought $87.5 million for 3 players was bad, how does $283 million for three players sound? The Yankees signed an aging player, playing what most people would consider the toughest position on a baseball field in Brian McCann. They signed an even older outfielder who has chronic bad knees in Carlos Beltran. Then, they signed another outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, whose best attribute is speed, to a seven year contract. The Yankees are hoping to his best years will be between 30 to 37. These 3 players add up to the aforementioned $283 million, but the big money Yankees would not stop with them. Next up we have Hiroki Kuroda who was reportedly signed to a 1 year deal worth $16 million plus incentives (that Bartolo Colon contract at 2 years $20 million does not look so bad now) notwithstanding the fact that he went 1-7 in his last 10 starts down the stretch last year with a 5.40 ERA and is now 39 years old. To top off the spending spree, he Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka to a reported 7 year $155 million dollar deal.
The good news is that I think the starting pitching will be enough. With an improved year from a slimmer C.C. Sabathia, Tanaka, Ivan Nova and the forgotten Michael Pineda the rotation does not look half bad. Unfortunately, half your bullpen is gone and you have an unproven closer with huge iconic shoes to fill. This, coupled with and the infield deficiencies, I do not see the Yankees not winning the division I predict they will not finish over over .500 without some trade deadline help.
In an off-season full of spending, New Yorker’s will need an exterminator, because the big apple will have several worm holes by seasons end.