Monday, November 7, 2011

The More Things Change

The more they stay the same.

As we wind down our fifth and final year on HYD, I've been thinking a lot about how things were for the Yankees and Red Sox the year we started this site. While some things have undoubtedly changed, it's interesting how many things haven't. Let's take a look.

The Red Sox missed the playoffs in 2006, and again in 2011. The Yankees made the playoffs both years.

The Yankees are still getting (varying degrees of) high level production from Rivera and Jeter.

The Red Sox are still looking for a replacement for Trot Nixon.

The Red Sox are still looking for a replacement for Nomar Garciaparra. I know they've had some guys do some good things in short spurts (including Scutaro this year), but it's amazing how unable they have been to fill such a key position for so long.

An intriguing Japanese starting pitcher was posted in 2006 in Daisuke Matsuzaka. It wasn't the first time this had happened, but it was the first time it created that kind of frenzy. The second time such a frenzy will be created is if Yu Darvish is posted this winter.

In 2006 the Yankees were trying to find a #2 pitcher to pitch behind Chien-Ming Wang. In 2011 the Yankees are trying to find a #2 pitcher to pitch behind C.C. Sabathia. I hope they are as successful in that quest as they were finding Andy Pettitte five years ago.

The Yankees, for all their regular seasons dominance (And it has been dominant, Cashman's .605 winning percentage since 1998 is the highest of any GM with at least 5 seasons in one organization since 1950. Think about playing .600+ ball as an organization for 14 years!) are still trying to figure out a way to dominate the playoffs in the same fashion. Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem t work that way. Which is part of what makes baseball beautiful. Once October starts, all bets are off. The Tigers eliminiated the Yankees in 2006, and again in 2011 despite being inferior regular season teams both times.

Alex Rodriguez stuggled in the postseason in 2006, and again in 2011. This is about the things that have stayed the same, but his postseason struggles have gotten so much attention over the course of this site it is worth noting two major changes to subcategories of this "stayed the same". 1. He has company now in Mark Teixeira, who is nearly as high profile and has struggled just as mightily for three straight postseasons now. 2. And much, much, much more importantly is that any postseason struggles are no longer a big deal. And that is because he put together one of the best individual Octobers in the history of this game, leading the Yankees to the one World Series they won during this site's tenure.

The Yankees were excited about Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy in 2006. They are excited about Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances now.

Jacoby Ellsbury was a prospect in 2006. He's somehow maintained prospect status five years later.

All of the stuff we've covered, discussed, and argued about the last five years has been a lot of fun. It's good to see, as we shut things down, that many of those same things are still there to cover, discuss, and argue about.

What else stayed the same from when we started this site until now?


Ross Kaplan said...

A Steinbrenner is still in charge of the Yankees, kind of. Since George's death, Hal and Hank took over as owners with Hal being the brother primarily in charge of baseball operations and Hank exiled to Florida to tend to the family's racehorses, but someone who still reappears to make asinine comments every now and then.

I remember many fans, myself included, concerned with Hal's perceived frugality compared to his father's free spending ways, but since he took over operations the Yankees certainly have not been cheap signing free agents (CC, Tex, AJ) and resigning players to huge multi-year deals (Jeter, CC, A-Rod). Unfortunately, the other thing that's stayed the same since 2006 is the influence of the so-called Tampa Brain Trust, headed by Randy Levine and other Steinbrenner cronies. George's diminishing influence coupled with Cashman's power increase was supposed to put an end to the Brain Trust, but as we saw with the signing of Soriano, it's apparent their influence is still alive and well as it was in 2006.

the gm said...

Great post, Pat.

Another thing that has stayed the same is that Josh Beckett is still a chubby stiff who shows the occasional flash of brilliance, whether fleeting or semi-sustained. Due to these flashes of brilliance, people get chubby stiffs over him and are willing to give him large sums of money. After 2006 and after 2011, people see him as a somewhat elite baseball player, and they like to start their evaluation of him with "if he can stay healthy." News flash: Another thing that is the same is that he cannot stay healthy. How much of a track record do you need? Five years apparently isn't enough; is ten?

Also, another thing that has stayed the same is that Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez are still on the Florida Marlins.

the gm said...

Also, in 2006, the hacks in Red Sox ownership were selling cards to a fan club and were appointing a figurehead legislature to this fan club. In 2011, they are selling bricks. What is this, a minor league team? Maybe in September they actually were.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this post a lot, add 'TimC is irrationally exuberant over the prospects of said posting candidate'- I like Darvish a lot although the reasons are less technical and more to due with the guy himself. As he is not truly 100% Japanese he has been handled a bit differently by both fans and media and to keep things really short I think this will make him more prepared to handle the adjustment to MLB and the USA than others that have come before him.