Time out with John Inman
By JOHN INMAN
Question should be what do I do now that the Yankees’ promising season has ended so abruptly, with an early exit from the American League Division series last week?
I watched 164 Yankee baseball games this season, missing only two since the season began in late March. Sat through nine rain delays, sat through a day-night doubleheader that was screwed up by rain, sat by as rain forced one division playoff game to be resumed the next day, and suffered through an elimination game that ended in a 3-2 loss to Detroit, knowing the inclement weather had taken away, or at least, spoiled a good thing.
To top it all off, I picked myself up from the floor to watch the Texas Rangers play those same Tigers, and what happens? A rain delay, followed by a second rain delay.
What’s a guy to do? I turned the TV off and here I am, back writing about the Yankees and thinking about what next season holds. Next season? Holy cow, March is almost six months away, but it’s all I’ve got now.
The Yankees stood pat most of the season, not acquiring Cliff Lee from the Rangers or whatzhisname from the Kansas City Royals. Zack Greinke, that’s it (suddenly came to me). Turns out, it’s a good thing. Lee didn’t want to come to New York, anyway. (by the way, think I didn’t grin a little when the Cardinals knocked the Phillies from the National League Division Series?) And Greinke, who in all fairness, has helped the Brewers reach the NL championship series, wasn’t ready for all the attention that he would have drawn with the Bronx Bombers.
Andy Pettitte didn’t come out of retirement like I thought he would. But, good for him. He kept his word and didn’t turn out to be one of those Brett Farve wanabees. Some old guys stuck around for one more try, however, like Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, and definitely provided help, but don’t look for them to be back again.
Ivan Nova wound up being a pretty valuable second man in the rotation behind CC Sabathia, and in front of A.J. Burnett (thank goodness). I’m not a big A.J. fan, obviously.
The year 2012 may see some changes, though. Don’t expect Jorge Posoda to be back in pinstripes, and A-Rod is almost ready to move into the DH role, as far as I’m concerned. The steroids have left his body too brittle. Alex Chavez needs to come back, he is a good fill-in man at third base (not as a regular), but he is contemplating retirement. Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena at shortstop, third base and second base. Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson are set in left, right and centerfield.
Derek Jeter proved he can still play some short, but he, too, is on a decline, Robinson Cano is steady at second, Mark Teixeira is the same at first base and Russell Martin at catcher, especially on defense. The Yanks are loaded at back stop, with youngsters Jesus Montero and Austin Romine. Montero has a good bat, and is a possible DH as well as a back-up catcher, so he can fill two roles next season.
On the mound, Phil Hughes needs to return to his 2009 form, 6-8, 240-pound hard-throwing Dellen Bestances and Manny Banuelos are going to be good ones from the farm system, I think.
David Robertson and Rafael Soriano are ready to take over as closer for 41-year-old Mariano Rivera when he decides to check it in. They need to find another really good starter for the rotation, from somewhere. My sources indicate Texas’ C.J. Wilson may be interested in playing in New York. Hmmm, a southpaw to go alongside C.C. would certainly be a nice addition.
Don’t count out picking up a player like maybe Albert Pujols, whose contract is about to run out with the St. Louis Cardinals or Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers, who has said he is not returning to the Brew city. Their booming bats could surely be used somewhere. Both are first basemen, leaving Teixeira as possible trade bait, and Fielder’s left-handed swing sure would be inviting in Yankee Stadium’s right-field porch.
Me? In the meantime, I’ll just settle in, try rooting for the Rangers to win it all, since my daughter and her family are all big Ranger fans, watch the Dallas Cowboys every now and then, and begin concentrating on my book until next March. Time’s a wastin’.
Until next week’s Time-out …