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Can the Yankees repeat in 2010?

November 10, 2009

Here are both sides of the argument:

Reasons why the Yankees won’t repeat in 2010:

1) The core four — Rivera, Pettitte, Posada and Jeter — will all be one year older. Rivera is 40, Jeter will be 36, Posada and Pettitte both 38. You can’t expect the same kind of production from aging veterans, year in, year out. It’s not impossible, just unlikely.

2) The Red Sox and Rays will both improve and compete for the division.

theo-epstein

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein looks to reload his team for 2010.

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein already declined the team’s option on catcher Jason Varitek, and re-structured pitcher Tim Wakefield’s contract through 2011. The Red Sox are prime to make a big splash this offseason, with talks of trading for Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez or Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Also in the mix is Blue Jays free agent short stop Marco Scutaro, who the Sox are eyeing to fill their vacancy at short stop. The Sox will probably also re-sign Jason Bay. They still have Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

The Rays have a young gunner in David Price and I expect him to excel next season. Guys like Matt Garza and James Shields, both of whom had sub-par years, are due for a rebound season. BJ Upton was horrific this year, but he did come off shoulder surgery early in 2009 and never regained his 2008 form. When Upton gets everything back in order, he is a top-tier offensive threat.

3) Injuries. AJ Burnett threw nearly 220 innings this season, and this year was the first time he didn’t take any trips to the disabled list in a non-contract year. With older guys like Posada and Pettitte, injuries are inevitable.

4) Starting Rotation. Will Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes be a reliable starter in 2010?  Besides CC and AJ, the other two signed starters are unproven.

matsui

Will Matsui be back next year?

5) Free agents. Three World Series heroes — Damon, Matsui and Pettitte — are free agents and nobody is sure who’s coming back. My hunch is that Damon and Pettitte come back on one-year deals, and the Yankees waive goodbye to the 2009 WS MVP. But what if they don’t sign Damon, or he takes a lucrative multi-year contract somewhere else? Between Matsui and Damon this year, they combined for 50 HRs and 170 RBIs. That’s a lot of production to replace.

Reasons why the Yankees will repeat in 2010:

1) The additions of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Nick Swisher have solidified a new core to this Yankees team. They are all relatively young (under 32) and brought a new life and identity, along with some fun to the normally robotic and professional Yankees clubhouse. The taste of a championship only makes them yearn for another.

2) The new stadium is built for left-handed power bats, and if you haven’t noticed, the Yanks have a lot of left-handed power. More homeruns equals more wins. Plain and simple.

3) A new identity. This Yankee team has forged its own identity this year, rather than trying to replicate the identity of Torre’s championship teams. This new identity is one of never backing down or giving up, and believing in your teammate. That is how the old Yankees teams won, and seems to be how this team wins. Play hard for all 27 outs.

4) Alex Rodriguez. I know, I know. He’s been on the team for five years and the Yankees won a total of zero rings, before this year, during his tenure. I just believe that once a player shakes off the criticism of not winning the big game or not performing in clutch situations, the pressure is off, and that player is free to play the game with no strings attached. It happened with Peyton Manning, and I only see Alex being that much better in 2010. He probably wins the MVP in 2010.

5) Steinbrenner’s money. If they do lose Matsui and or Damon, don’t you think Cashman will open up the checkbook to fill that void? I’m thinking Chone Figgins. The Yankees have the resources to take losses and fill them with minimal effort. Question is, will that affect this Yankee team’s chemistry?

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