Yankees will be an old team in 2009

December, 17, 2008
Nice bit from Calcaterra on the Yankees' geriatric lineup if they wind up signing Manny Ramirez:

    In response to the Yankees' reported interest in Manny Ramirez, Jason at IIATMS says, "But three years? On THIS team? With this many 35 year olds who will need to have a day or two in the DH role? Good lord, no!!!!"

    Good point! Everyone knows that the Yankees are getting old, but it's worth remembering that, if Manny signs, the Opening Day starters would look something like this (2009 season-age in parentheses):

    C Posada (37)
    1B Swisher (28)
    2B Cano (26)
    3B Rodriguez (33)
    SS Jeter (35)
    RF Nady (30)
    CF Cabrera or maybe Cameron (24 or 36)
    LF/DH: Some combination of Manny, Damon, and Matsui (37, 35, and 35).

    That's not a baseball team. That's the cast of "The Big Chill," with Cano playing the Meg Tilly character. Between innings they can listen to oldies and talk about what happened to their vanished youth.

It's an old lineup, no question. But Posada's a catcher, and would need a reliable backup anyway. A-Rod and Captain Jeter are future Hall of Famers and historically quite durable. Cameron has played 150 games just once in the last six seasons. And those other guys? Well, that's why you want three of them, right?

As I wrote yesterday, the Yankees will score plenty of runs, even if they don't get Cameron and Manny. Sure, Joe Girardi is going to spend a lot of intellectual energy figuring out how to keep everybody fresh. But old talent is still talent.

The Yankees do have a chance -- not that they're likely to take it -- to get younger in 2010. Jeter is signed through 2010, Posada through 2011, and of course A-Rod is signed forever. But Damon and Matsui are both free agents after 2009, and whoever plays center field in 2009 -- Cameron, Cabrera or someone else -- is likely to be replaced by young Austin Jackson in 2010.

The Yankees will never be a young team. They just don't have the patience for it. But they might never again be quite as old as they will be in 2009. Enjoy the old geezers while you can.



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