There are really only a couple of teams that matter in New York, the Yankees, the Mets, the Red Sox and whoever happens to be the Mets rival.
Key additions: Rafael Soriano
Key loses: Andy Pettitte.
The Yankees essentially remain in-tact from last season and that’s a good thing. The Yanks still sport a league best offense a good mix of veterans and mid-career players along with a farm system that will bring in players if needed.
Bats, bullpen and resources. The Yankees can hit, their bullpen is stellar and they have the resources (money and prospects) to go get whatever they need.
Age, starting pitching and infield defence. The Yankees are aging. Posada, A-Rod, Jeter and Mo Rivera are north of 35. When players reach these ages, any season could be their breakdown season. The Yankees have capable backups for Mo and Jorge, but should Jeter crater, or Rodriguez get injured, they will be in trouble.
The starters behind Sabathia each have major question marks. Burnett is in major decline and at 34 is unlikely to improve (example # 4564 why you don’t give pitchers long term contract). Hughes is fine but innings and youth are still two items that don’t jive. If he can get through this season, he’ll be solid for years. Nova? Well, he seems like a good bet, for a rookie. I think the best we can hope for is Ching Mien Wang as a rookie type season. Freddy Garcia is a stop gap… its my guess he won’t last the season as a Yank.
As for the defense… well, any team with a 36 year old shortstop with shit range is going to have problems. The left side of the infield with Jeter and A-Rod is a sieve. Their bats will carry them, but ugh. Its frustrating to watch.
Prediction: The Yankees are still very, very good, 90-95 wins. Wild card.
Key additions: Chris Young, Chris Capuano, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins
Key loses: Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, Jerry Manuel
For the Mets its been an offseason of tumult. Madoff and the Mets appeared in the headlines far too often and it effected all of their offseason moves. Gone were cavalier spending Minaya and laid back Jerry Manuel to be replaced by budget conscious small market specialist GM Sandy Alderson (and his Moneyball entourage) and fiery disciplinarian Terry Collins as manager. This represents the biggest change you’ll see on the team. Most of the big contract signings are still being relied on for the teams success. Wright, Reyes, Beltran and Bay will need to be outstanding for this team to win. I estimate that if they can get 100 HR and 400 runs scored out of this group they’ll be in good shape. What I like about the Mets is that their star players are truly frontline and their weakness, the fill in players that Minaya was terrible at finding, can be addressed by the Mets new front office entourage.
Management, stars, defense.
Alderson and company have proven track records of managing baseball assets and bring the Mets into the sabrmetric era. With Alderson, DePodesta, Riccardi the Mets are in very capable hands. If they can get their Madoff issues sorted out, they could very dangerous. The Mets stars of Reyes, Wright, Beltran and Bay are top class players who are capable of carrying the team if they are healthy. If one of these players goes down, there is not much in the way of major league ready players on the farm. Defensively the team also shines. With Reyes, Wright, Beltran (in right) Pagan and Ike Davis at first, the team boasts above average players defensively at half the positions on the field. They are going to need it! The staff is weak but should seem better than they actually are.
Pitching, depth, psyche.
The Mets pitching is not good. Even with Johan Santana they would have not been good. They are relying on Pelfry and R.A. Dickey to replicate last season too much. Right now, they do not appear to be able to compete with the staffs of their division. From the Braves to Marlins and up to the Phillies, the Mets cannot match 1 threw 5 with any of those teams. The only way they will be able to compete is IF Chris Young and Capuano can pull their careers from the brink and pitch like they did three years ago. With the Met outfield defense, it just may work as both flyball pitchers will give Met outfielders opportunities to go get it. The Mets are a classic stars and scrubs team. If any of their stars goes down however, they are finished. They simply do not have the minor league depth to replace a an injured star or trade for one. Without Wright or Reyes, the Mets will be toast. Another interesting piece to this team, is their psyche. They’ve never recovered from two devastating for regular season meltdowns and now they have to deal with the Met’s Madoff Mess. Either they will pull together or they will fold under the pressure. What the Mets need more than anything is a Varitek, Rose, Hernandez type leader. Wright, Reyes and Beltran are not leadership types.
Prediction: Glimmers of hope. A team that plays hard and leaves you excited for 2012. .500 at best.
What do you think of New York’s two marquee franchises in 2011?