It’s been a common topic for at least three or four seasons already; are the New York Yankees too old to compete? Should they go with a youth movement on offense? Or even, can they? And how is this affecting their MLB odds?
New York fields one of the oldest, if not the oldest, starting lineups in baseball on a daily basis. No doubt about it, experience can go a long way toward winning games and championships. But when you’ve got too many guys who can’t get around on inside fastballs, or are too sore to leg out base hits or can’t get from first to third on balls hit to the outfield, you’ve got problems.
That’s not to mention the decrease in range on defense.
Derek Jeter, who’s soon to be 38, is actually off to a good start, leading the team in hitting at .336, although he also only has 15 extra-base hits. But after that the Yankees’ veterans are struggling.
Alex Rodriguez, who turns 37 in July, is hitting .283 with seven homers. Mark Teixeira, at 32, is hitting .257 with nine homers, although he’s been coming around lately. And Nick Swisher, at 31, is batting .244 with eight dongs.
Of course, when you talk about guys being too old, you’ve got to consider the alternatives. And unfortunately for the Yanks, there not a whole lot they can do.
They could call up Jack Cust, a guy with 100 career ML homers, who’s hitting .281 with nine HR at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But at 32 he’s no spring chicken. And 29-year-old Steve Pearce is hitting .326 with 11 homers at Scranton, but he plays first base. What are the Yankees gonna do, bench Teixeira?
Barring injury, Jeter and Rodriguez will continue to play regularly. They won’t be benched, and they could both take up space for several more seasons.
Through it all though, New York leads the Majors in homers with 76, ranks fourth in team OBP at .336 and eighth in scoring at 4.6 runs per game. Going into the weekend they’ve won six of their last eight games, averaging better than five RPG over that span. At 27-23 they sit just a game and a half out of first place in the AL East.
So the situation has not reached red-alert status, at least not yet.
As of Thursday morning, 5Dimes.com is lining the Yankees at +475 to win the American League pennant this season and at +900 to win the World Series.