Davidoff: Yankees positioned well for 2011 - Newsday

Davidoff: Yankees positioned well for 2011

Robinson Cano celebrates in the dugout after his Robinson Cano celebrates in the dugout after his third-inning homer as the Yankees host the Rangers in Game 5 of the ALCS. (Oct. 20, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams

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Ken Davidoff Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff.

Davidoff joined Newsday in 2001, covering the Yankees for the better part of four seasons, and was

ARLINGTON, Texas - Well-run organizations don't make evaluations based upon the small sample size of a postseason performance. The Yankees are, generally, a well-run organization.

So forget about the idea of Nick Swisher being traded this winter because of his lousy first five games of the American League Championship Series. Impending free agents Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth will just have to find their money elsewhere. And they will.

Really, as the Yankees tried to save their season once more by beating the Rangers in ALCS Game 6 Friday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it wasn't too early to start taking stock of the Yankees' organization as a whole.

It fires up the fan base to talk of any titleless season being a failure, and on a visceral level, sure, that's true. On an intellectual level, however, you have to take a step back from October to fully measure your campaign.

With that in mind, let's take the next 444 or so words to examine what went right and what went wrong in this Yankees season, relative to their big picture. For instance, the failures of Javier Vazquez and Nick Johnson have no macro impact because neither is signed beyond this year.


What went right?

1. Phil Hughes. Regardless of how he pitched in his start Friday, Hughes displayed his promise in his first full season as a starter. He'll be eligible for arbitration this winter, so he'll no longer be a bargain. Yet he'll still come far cheaper than his equivalent on the free-agent market.

"Any time you can have a starter that's young and give you innings and give you wins, that's extremely important to an organization," Joe Girardi said Friday. "He had 17 wins as a starter, one as a bullpen guy, and that's pretty good. I think you sign up for that every year."

2. The outfield. Swisher and Brett Gardner put up terrific campaigns, Gardner in his first as a starter. First-year Yankee Curtis Granderson got off to a very slow start but finished strong and provided hope that his 2011 should be better.

3. Robinson Cano. He doesn't rank higher because we shouldn't be that surprised at this point. He's a really, really good baseball player.

4. The bullpen. Kerry Wood probably will get an opportunity to close somewhere else. David Robertson delivered, and Boone Logan salvaged the Vazquez trade. Joba Chamberlain? Too inconsistent, yet his strikeout ratio increased and his walks decreased, so not a wasted season.


What went wrong?

1. A.J. Burnett. What a fiasco. The Yankees' best hope is to sign Cliff Lee and bring back Andy Pettitte, pushing Burnett back to the fifth starter's job.

2. The left side of the infield. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez delivered the worst seasons of their major-league careers. A-Rod, 35, is signed for seven more years, and Jeter, 36, will negotiate an extension that will get done. But the Yankees will have to keep a close eye on them.

3. Catcher. Jorge Posada still can hit some, yet he became a worse receiver and, at 39, is not as durable as he once was. Francisco Cervelli offered solid evidence that he probably shouldn't be an everyday catcher. The optimal solution probably calls for Posada and Cervelli to share time with top prospect Jesus Montero, with Posada and Montero getting plenty of time at designated hitter, too.

So what's the net evaluation? Don't believe the talk about these being the 1964 Yankees, primed for a collapse. They're intelligently positioned for 2011 and beyond. They have become, after many years of not being so, a well-run organization.

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