13 Yankee Resolutions for 2013
Well, it’s a new year with fresh possibilities. If the Yanks want to bounce back from their disappointing exit in 2012, here are some resolutions that will help.
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#1 | Robinson Cano: Drive ’em In
In 2012 Cano batted over .300 for the 4th straight season, batting .313, swatting a career-high 33 homers, and driving in 94 runs. However, his batting average with runners in scoring position was a meager .268 and a paltry .207 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. Cano is an indispensable part of the lineup and one of the elite hitters in the game, but for the Yanks to avoid the offensive woes they experienced during much of the playoffs, he needs to drive in runners when the occasion cries out for a hit.
#2 | Joba Chamberlain: Choose Your Destiny
Since bursting onto the scene as a strikeout phenom in 2007, turning in a 0.38 ERA in 19 appearances, Joba has yet to emerge as the elite stopper he was hailed to be. Blame the Joba Rules, but it’s now up to him to decide what his legacy in pinstripes will be. After coming back from a catastrophic ankle injury last season, Joba had a 4.35 ERA in 20.2 innings. In 2013, with the ankle and Tommy John Surgery behind him, he has a chance to become an effective bridge to the closer and finally occupy a vital role in the bullpen.
#3 | Brett Gardner: Burn the Base Paths
After an elbow injury early in the season, Gardner appeared in just 16 games in 2012, stealing just 2 bases while batting .323. In 2011 he led the league with 49 swipes. His speed adds an element to the team that few can replace. The Yanks need him to come back and have a strong year to add a dynamic piece to the bottom of the order.
#4 | Curtis Granderson: Think Small
Grandy mashed a career-high 43 homers in 2012 but at the expense of his .232 batting average, the lowest of his 9-year career. He also struck out a career high 195 times and walked just 75 times. In the postseason he was anemic, going 3 for 19 in the ALDS with 9 strikeouts and 0 for 11 with 7 strikeouts in the ALCS. Grandy needs to be more patient at the plate, look for his pitch, and drill it, but he also must recognize what the situation calls for. There are times when he is swinging for the second deck, when an opposite field knock is all that’s needed. Shorten your swing and lay off the garbage.
#5 | Hiroki Kuroda: No Sophomore Slump
In his first season in pinstripes, Kuroda tied for the team lead with 16 wins and had a solid 3.32 ERA. His performance in Game 3 of the ALDS was a thing of beauty as he yielded just 5 hits and 2 runs in 8.1 innings to keep the game close before Raul Ibanez‘ heroics. If he can repeat this kind of effectiveness in 2013 it could be the difference between night and day with the rotation.
#6 | Ivan Nova: Return to Form
Nova was the surprise of 2011, going 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA. He was also very effective in 2 starts in that year’s ALDS vs. Detroit. However, in 2012 he was 12-8 as his ERA ballooned up to 5.28. He upped his strikeout total by 55 with 153, but also saw his hit, earned run, and home run totals significantly rise as well. Super Nova has been effective in the past and can greatly bolster the rotation with a strong 2013 season.
#7 | Andy Pettitte: Stay Healthy
The 40-year-old Pettitte was effective in 12 starts with a 5-4 record and a 2.87 ERA, but fractured his ankle on a come-backer in late June. If he can stay healthy he gives toughness, savvy and a veteran punch to the team that will continue to help youngsters like Nova and Phil Hughes. The man is also one of the greatest big-game pitchers of all-time and I still like my chances with him if the season is on the line.
#8 | Mariano Rivera: Come Back Strong
While Rafael Soriano was a life-saver in Mo’s absence, there is simply no substitute for the greatest closer in the history of baseball. As Mariano goes the Yankees go and they need him to come back from strong from ACL surgery.
#9 | Alex Rodriguez: Come Back Like You Did in ’09
A-Rod, dealing with similar hip trouble in 2009, came back on May 8th and drilled his first pitch of the season for a 3-run homer. From there he hit 30 home runs on the year and drove in 100 RBIs for the 12th straight season. He then went on to have one of the greatest individual postseasons in history in leading the Yankees to the World Series. If he can come back from hip surgery well it will give the team a tremendous lift.
#10 | CC Sabathia: Be the Ace
After 19, 21, and 19-victory seasons in his first 3 years in pinstripes, CC was 15-6 last year. While being hampered by a groin injury, the Yankees lost 4 straight games in which he started in the heat of a division race with CC losing the decision in 3 of them. He was certainly the ace in the ALDS, winning both of his starts with a stingy 1.53 ERA and 16 strikeouts. In 2013 he needs to be the ace of our staff, giving the Yanks a great chance to win once every 4th game.
#11 | Rafael Soriano: Accept Your Role
When the Sandman comes back, not if, Soriano will have to vacate the closer role he faithfully occupied for the majority of last season, if he comes back that is. He opted out and declined a $13 million offer from the Yanks, but if no one offers him Yankee money he may be back. He can be very effective as part of the bridge from the starter to Mariano if he can build on his 2012 statline (42 saves/2.26 ERA) and avoid relapsing into his 2011 self (2-3/4.12 ERA in 42 appearances). If he goes to the Sox on the other hand, that might hurt.
#12 | Mark Teixeira: Start Fast
Everyone knows that Tex is a slow starter. Here are his last 4 April batting averages as a Yank: .200, .136, .246, .244. In 2009 he was able to rebound from his .200 start in to bat .292 with 39 home runs and 122 RBIs. However, over the last 3 years it’s been harder for Tex to recover from stumbling out of the gates, batting no higher than .256. Tex’ resolution should be starting fast and carrying that momentum through the rest of the season.
#13 | Kevin Youkilis: Ignore the Boos
On April 1st the Yanks will host the Red Sox on Opening Day. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict he will be booed by his own fans. When you play for 9 seasons in Boston it’s a requirement in the Bronx, even though he may be donning pinstripes. The fact that his old team is in town won’t help his reception. However, if the Greek God of Walks starts getting on base and fielding well at 3rd, Yankee fans will learn to love that bald head of his.