The end of September is nearing and so is the end of the Yankees season. it's a shame we didn't get more out of this team than we did. Currently, they stand 9.5 games out of the wild card and are in FOURTH place. My goodness! The Yankees are in fourth place in September. What the heck happened?
There isn't really one thing you can put to blame on this season. The bullpen was ineffective at times, so was the starting rotation, so was the offense, so was the defense. Injuries also plagued the Yanks this season. Ace Chien-Ming Wang, catcher Jorge Posada, Joba Chamberlain, Hideki Matsui, and Alex Rodriguez all missed significant time this season. Manager Joe Girardi did his best with the hand he was dealt this season but it ultimately wasn't enough as the Yanks season will end on September 28th in Fenway Park. How fitting.
The Yankees will move into the offseason with questions surrounding their GM, their first baseman, their centerfielder, their bullpen and starting rotation. Who goes, who stays? Let's take a quick look at who I think needs to go and who needs to stay.
Jason Giambi: Still prvides some pop and average defense but age will get to him sooner than later.
Carl Pavano: Hasn't pitched bad since returning but it's time to get rid of a bad investment.
Melky Cabrera: He may still have an upside but I think his glory days in the Bronx are over. Excellent arm but you need to deal him to get at least a 5th starter or a reliever.
Ivan Rodriguez: Age is catching up with Pudge and hasn't brought anything to the table since his arrival at the trade deadline.
Ian Kennedy: Cant pitch in New York, 'nough said.
Hideki Matsui: Still a valuable and solid player but age is creeping up on him as well. It's time to deal him before his value plummets.
Bobby Abreu: Still a solid ballplayer. Still hits .300 and drives in around 90 runs. Still a solid defender and a cannon for an arm. This is a no brainer.
Andy Pettitte: This one is 50-50. Depending on Andy and if he wants to return or retire, the Yanks have to bring him back, not for $16 million but something respectable as he can still be a #3 starter, at worst #4. Plus he's better than sending out Sidney Ponson, Darrell Rasner, or Ian Kennedy.
Mike Mussina: Here's your wild card. At 39 Moose is your Yankees 2008 MVP. Just as a reward for his work this year he deserves another shot with the team. #5 starter or more, he can prove to be a reliable guy in the rotation, a rotation that might need him more next season than they do right now.
That's just a quick peek at what the Yankees need to do this offseason. At season's end I will go further in-depth. But there is no reason to place blame on one part of the team. This was a teamwide letdown this season all across the board. So let's just address the needs of the team this winter and move forward into the new Stadium and get ready to reclaim the top of the AL East.