Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Posada's shoulder and the Yanks' fate

No, it doesn't sound too good, does it?

Jorge Posada, the proud Yankees catcher whose throwing has been obviously impaired by a labrum injury, said he is considering season-ending shoulder surgery. Posada will have a magnetic resonance imaging test on Tuesday to assess the extent of the damage to a shoulder problem that will not go away.
The Yanks have had a miserable year of injuries. Posada, Matsui, Wang, Hughes, Kennedy, Damon, ARod. Jeter has been off most of the season. Melky has regressed and Cano is only just starting to heat up. Abreu has been up and down. Posada's fill-in, Jose Molina, has been great with the glove/arm but terrible with the bat.

I believed, as I think they did, that enough of their holes could be filled from within the organization. And if we've learned anything about the Yankees over the years, it's that we shouldn't consider them dead until we've got an actual corpse.

All that said, this latest news strikes me as a dramatic point in the narrative. It looks like the Yankees won't get anything this season from Kennedy or Hughes.
Chien-Ming Wang, their presumed ace entering the season, probably won't pitch
again until September. Can they really get into the playoffs with
Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner in the rotation? Can they really get into the playoffs with Jose Molina playing almost every day, and eating up outs like Ray Oyler?

Well, probably not … but you know, I still don't see that corpse. Believe it or not, the Yankees have some upside. They're third in the American League in on-base percentage and sixth in slugging, but somehow just seventh in runs scored (and not far from 10th). Last year, their starting second baseman and shortstop batted .306 and .322; this year they're batting .258 and .282.

Losing Posada is a blow, no question. If the Yankees do extend their postseason run to 14 years, they're going to have to catch some breaks over the next couple of months. But write them off now, considering the talent in their lineup? Show me the body, and we can talk.

I'm not ready to count this team out, but I also am not optimistic about them playing into October once again. I've said this many, many times: So long as the team keeps moving forward with the development of their farm system to buttress their ability to sign strategic free agents, I am happy. I'm not happy tossing young talent after established mediocraty.

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