New York Yankees – ‘end times’ for the Core Four?
Tags: A J Burnett, Andy Pettitte, anno domini, batting order, career Yankees, catcher, closer, club option, clutch, contract, Core Four, cutter, David Eiland, Derek Jeter, Derek Sanderson Jeter, designated hitter, Hal Steinbrenner, home run, Joe Girardi, Jorge Posada, Laura Pettitte, manager, Mariano Rivera, monetary terms, Mr November, pitcher, pitching coach, shortstop, triple, World Series, World Series ring, Yankees brass, Yankees captain
It’s decision time for the New York Yankees. Joe Girardi is locked into a new three-year contract, so he will have to keep wearing (somewhat in hope) the number 28 on his managerial uniform. There is also the matter of a new pitching coach to be considered, as the long, and mysterious, mid-season absence of Dave Eiland finally bore fruit with his instant dismissal, as soon as the Yankees season was finished. However, these events are relatively minor when compared with the difficulties surrounding the fate of the remaining members of the Core Four.
The futures of Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada all pose problems in one way or another. Age is finally beginning to be a major factor among the members of this incredible group. Mo is nearly 41 now, but is still a closer capable of breaking bats and crushing the morale of an opposing batting order; just not every night, and not with the casual, almost arrogant, delivery of his signature cutter. My suggestion? Offer Mo another two years at around $15 million, with the second year strictly a club option. Jorge? Oh my! Such struggles behind the plate, such animosity towards AJ Burnett! He will limp through his final year behind the dish with the club, his aching, battered body having finally betrayed him. Yes, he will still hit his share of homers, but mostly as a designated hitter, not a catcher, and do not look for him to leg out any more triples. Andy? As usual, he will debate and wonder and ponder; his wife, Laura, will play a big part in his final decision, no doubt. It is likely that the Yankees would prefer to get him to come back for one more year, particularly in the light of AJ’s spectacularly bad season, and Andy himself ‘doesn’t want to leave anything on the table’, neither in monetary terms nor World Series rings, I suspect.
Now we come to the most difficult of problems. The very core of the Core Four, the Captain himself, Derek Sanderson Jeter. Has anno domini finally caught up with Mr November? Is Derek’s clutch finally slipping? I am sure that there were times during the season when Jeter’s performance left fans wondering whether this was the start of the ‘end times’. Various sources are indicating that Jeter wants no less than a six year contract, and possibly, an increase in pay. This would make him 42 by the end of such a deal, and, as much as the Yankee brass love their shortstop, as Hal Steinbrenner said recently, “They’re career Yankees, as far as we’re concerned. Having said that, we’re running a business here, so if there’s a deal to be done, it’s going to be a deal that both sides are happy with.”
With at least one of the Yankees, there may be choppy waters ahead.