(First of all, I’d like to apologize to all eight of my readers for not having this up yesterday. Apparently, I clicked save instead of publish.)
If one were to put on a blindfold and then be face to face with a Yankees fan today, they might think they were standing in front of a television set playing the parade scene from Animal House with Kevin Bacon insisting, “Remain calm! All is well!”
Most Yankees fans want you to believe it doesn’t bother them that the fact their division rival made two of the biggest acquisitions of the offseason, while the Yankees lost the player they had focused seemingly all their efforts on to a team that underbid them.
But make no mistake, being turned down by Lee does hurt the Yankees and leaves the team with a lot of holes remaining to be filled in the next few months.
A rotation with C.C. Sabathia, Lee and Phil Hughes as the top three starters is one that would be feared by a lot of ballclubs, especially if A.J. Burnett in the fourth slot could return even a little bit back to his earlier form. A rotation with Sabathia, Hughes and Burnett as its top three just doesn’t scare many people. Miss Sabathia in the rotation and life is a lot easier.
And yes, Andy Pettitte may decide to return, but if the Yankees are resting their hopes on a 38-year-old who pitched – albeit well – in 21 games last year, they may be in for a rude awakening.
Now don’t get me wrong. The Yankees are still a very good baseball team and offensively, they’re still very, very dangerous. The Yankees had four players (Mark Teixiera, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher) in the top 10 in home runs in the American League and three (Rodriguez, Teixiera and Cano) in the top 10 in RBI.
Their bullpen is still very strong with Mariano Rivera remaining the anchor. With a 3.47 ERA, they were one of the strongest units statistically in the American League. But the question still remains. How will the Yankees get to that bullpen with a lead?
The San Francisco Giants proved last season that pitching trumps power more often than not, especially in the short series. Can the Yankees recover from the failure to sign Lee and make something happen to improve that rotation? Only time will tell.