Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The New York Yankees are old. Who cares?

Cliff Lee is right. The New York Yankees are old. But who cares? They're not ancient and can still be very good.

It's not like the Yankees team is stacked with just old guys. At the top of the lineup, the Yankees will have the veteran Derek Jeter and a young speedster in Brett Gardner. Mariano Rivera is still the king of the hill, even at age 41, while his new set-up guy Rafael Soriano is a decade younger. Jorge Posada, who will turn 40 this summer, has been replaced at catcher by 28-year-old Russell Martin. And so on and so forth.

Can the Yankees’ “old guys” still perform? Mo is not a question mark, even at his advanced baseball age, as people continue to marvel at his superior conditioning and command. Jeter is dealing with some age questions only because he had a bad year (by his standards) in 2010 and plays a demanding position, but I expect his new swing will help him bounce back. The real question with Posada is if can adjust to being a full-time designated hitter, a move that should help him continue to be a productive hitter if he can manage the tedium associated with not playing on the field.

I don’t think the Yankees’ biggest question is age. It is really all about their rotation: trying to settle on who will start games after CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett and whether those new guys have what it takes to beat the Boston Red Sox and rest of the American League East. Hey, not all teams can be the Philadelphia Phillies with their Fantastic Four rotation (although they have some age on their team too) and Lee knows that. I wonder why he even felt the need to raise the age issue. Maybe his little dig will serve as motivation when the Yankees and Phillies meet again in the World Series.

Thanks to artolog and Fui in terra aliena via Wikipedia for the photo.

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