Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Will This Major Pothole Slowdown the Steamengine?


Just as the Yankees season was starting to pick up, a major wrench was thrown in its side. They have learned that not only will Hideki Matsui be out for the year but Jorge Posada will likely be joining him on the bench. This team has battled injury after injury all year and they have finally put themselves in a position to make a run at the playoffs in the seasons final two months. But this news could be the straw that breaks the camels back as this might be too much for them to overcome.
Any other season where the offense was performing upto standard they could get by with these injuries. Names like Jeter, A-Rod, Abreu, Damon, and Cano should carry a team. But this year, where offense has been hard to come by, the loss of two of your best hitters is killer. Especially a switch hitting middle of the order guy like Posada. He was key to keep lefties from dominating the team. Now they are looking at the likes of Jose Molina and Bret Gardner being key bats in the bottom third of the order.
The bigger blow of losing Posada is the emotion and intensity he brings to the table every day. I have had some issues with the contract length for Posada. I have also questioned why he wouldnt play 1b or DH when the team needed his bat. I am sorry for this question now that I know he was in pain every time he swung. His defense was never great to begin with and I always favored pulling him for defense late in games. (IE Last year game 2 in Cleveland.) He just doesnt block pitches well and this year the fact he couldnt throw made his defense worse. But I never thought the lineup would be without him for a whole season. He has a certain intangible effect on the team. He actually cares about winning and the Yankees. He plays with fire and emotion and was someone who wouldnt be aftaid to get in someones face when the time called for it. That is what the Yankees will miss if he really cant play the rest of the year. He was always on a short list of guys that the Yankees couldn'd play with out for an extended period of time. (Rivera, Jeter, A-Rod the others) Listening to Posada talk lasnight you can tell how upset and hurt he is. He really doesnt want to miss a playoff run and the team really needs him. But you can tell he just had no power this year, hitting or throwing, and that something was seriously wrong. He is crushed and he deserves better. He is one of the good guys in the game.
Can the Yankees survive this? Sure but it wont be easy. They all need to step up and contribute. Molina's defense will be superb but the team is gonna need to carry his below average bat for extended time now. Everyone is going to have to do a little bit more to help the team win. This team still has a 200 million dollar pay roll and they have the talent to get there. Hopefully Jorge will get himself healthy and ready for 2009 while helping his teamates in 2008 by still being the emotional leader that he is.

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