Friday, December 28, 2007

Yankees Offense Due for Recession In 2008

Going into the 2007 season, there was speculation that the Yankees offense was primed to score north of 1,000 runs on the year. Yet, even with career years from Posada (+.103 OPS from 2006) and Rodriguez (+.153 OPS from 2006) the Yankees still fell short of the mark. So what happened?

Well, to put it most simply, aging. The Yankees went into 2007 with two members of their regular lineup younger than their age 33 season. And while you'd be hard pressed to see declining trends in the production of many of the aging Yankees vets going into last season, the age of 33 or 34 is typically when players begin to hit a wall.

And hitting a wall is exactly what much of the Yankees offense did in 2007. Bobby Abreu posted the worst OPS of his career. Both Matsui and Giambi posted the second worst OPS's of their career in 2007, and Damon posted the third worst OPS of his career in the same year. But those numbers don't tell the entire story.

Of all the members of the Yankees offense, Giambi's declining production is probably most concerning. Giambi figures to start the season as the Yankees starting first baseman. And even if he doesn't play the entire season in that role, he'll likely receive quite a bit of playing time there as the Yankees would prefer to DH Matsui and don't have a solid option as a backup first baseman.

Jason Giambi will be 37-years-old in 2008 and is riddled by health issues, likely related to his previous PED use. Last year, Giambi had an OPS of .790 which is well below average for a first baseman. He also struck out every 3.84 at bats, striking out more often than he got a hit. Most concerning about Giambi, however, is the way he breaks down under the wear of the season. Last year, he hit .200/.323/.429 in the second half of the season, even though he only played in 83 games, with the vast majority of his playing time coming as a DH.

Giambi's offensive decline is rather radical, but he's only one member of the offense. The decline in Abreu and Matsui's offense is also concerning. Both players are key members of the Yankees offense who both scored and drove in 100 runs last year. His OBP fell right off the table from a lofty .424 to .369. As for Matsui, his AVG and SLG fell for the second straight season in 2007.

But a continued aging process isn't the only reason the Yankees offense will take a hit in 2008. As previously stated, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada both had monster career years last year. The likeliness of either one of those players putting up back to back career years are remote. They are especially remote for Posada, a catcher in his age 35 season.

And one factor which will especially hurt the Yankees offense is their decision to DH Hideki Matsui. Defensively, it may be a necessity as Matsui's defensive abilities have really fallen off. But offensively, it forces the Yankees to play Melky Cabrera in center. And Melky, more than any other Yankee, kills New York's offense.

Any outfielder who puts up an OPS of .718 should not have a starting job on a serious contender like the Yankees. Cabrera's offensive production as a regular player ranked near dead last among the league, even when compared to the weak hitting position of centerfield.


Anonymous said...

Yet Yankees Offense score more than 950 despite Giambi and Matsui who are both injure in 2007

I would say same thing Redsox and their Offense.

Youkilis,Pedroia will decline.. Ortiz and Manny will powers numbers and production will drop as well.

Jb said...

o, according to your logic....

1- we can't compete next year without Santana...... rolleyes.gif
2- there were alternatives on the market to LoDuca and the happy tree friends.
3- our offense is suddenly old because Posada is gonna age and decline.....yea and Cano, Jeter, Arod, Matsui, Abreu....they're not gonna show up to play.
4- we're just an average team.......yea..... that lost the division by 2 games behind your team and played better over the second half of the season
5- cashman wouldn't have given Posada a 4th year (because Varitek didn't get a ridiculous deal either)....You don't know this at all.
6- Kennedy, Melky, and Hughes are nothing to blink at.......says a fan of another team who hasn't seem them shine. Just like I would trade bucc and Masterson with would laugh at me...(alright maybe not all 3 but you get the point)
7- Cashman wants to get older and less flexible financially.....right...because signing older players to 1 year deals completely kills a payroll and team that takes 81mil off the books after 2007........

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure where the cockiness is coming from, do you really think that because you won a world series that we're somehow a team that is now inferior and in a downward spiral. I mean, we've gotten younger and better but just because the Red Sox have better position prospects in their farm, that makes us old and inflexible? I'm not biased and I try to form the best opinion I can.....but please don't respond to a post with sarcasm and red sox goggles......Because I can do the same right back.

Ethan Michaels said...

Anon, WHY will Youkilis, Pedroia, Ortiz and Manny's numbers drop, other than the fact that you want them to. If you really think they will, provide some reasoning as to why.

Ethan Michaels said...

JB, I'd love to debate things, that's what the comments section is for. But if you're going to debate me, you can't debate points I've never made.

1. I never said anything of the sort
2. I never mentioned Posada's signing
3. Your offense is old, that's a fact. Almost all of them are 34. Look it up.
4. I never said you were an average team either. I think you'll compete next year.
5. Again, I never mentioned Posada's signing.
6. I never said they aren't good, and yes I've seen them pitch. I've seen the majority of their starts. Still, none of them are proven as a starter. And none of them have ever pitched a full season, so we'll see what happens when they do.
7. I never said Cashman's name once.

Do I think the Red Sox are a better team? Yes. They had the best record in baseball virtually the entire season last year and won the World Series. Most baseball fans think they'll continue to be good for a while because of their young guys.

That doesn't mean the Yankees aren't a good team. They're one of the best teams in baseball. But right now, I think almost any fan not affiliated with the Yankees would consider the Red Sox the better team.

jb said...

Yankees won 10-8. The Yankeees can beat Redsox. Freaking Indians......

Ethan Michaels said...

Jb, how many of those games actually meant anything? Most of them were when the Sox were around 10 games up.

ljw said...

every game counts

Ethan Michaels said...

Some more than others. I doubt the Red Sox expected Gagne to make the division close by single-handedly losing 3 games. Even after he did though, most of those Yankees/Red Sox games still turned out to be meaningless. Red Sox still won and no one was close to the Red Sox or Yankees in the standings.