2008 New York Yankees Playoff Outlook
The New York Yankees have struggled all season, but many just figured it was their typical slow-start that we have seen the past few years.
Like I have been saying for a few years now, the Yankees aren't adding pieces to an already solid core like they did in the mid 90's. Instead, they are just buying players while they watch their former stars show their age and begin a steady decline in production. At the same time, their minor league system isn't what it should be and can't provide much help to the big league club.
The result is finally manifesting itself this season, especially with all of the injuries we have seen from this club. It was really only a matter of time with this rapidly aging group.
Outfielders Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui both missed significant time, while catcher Jorge Posada is out for the season and may have to become a first baseman or designated hitter to extend his career.
Even shortstop Derek Jeter has been banged up this year and seen a significant decline in his numbers. When you see a drop in Jeter's production, you know it's time to panic.
You also know the starting rotation is having major, major issues when Sidney Ponson and Carl Pavano are called upon to solidify things. Ponson was cut by the pitching-starved Texas Rangers while Pavano hasn't pitched in the big leagues in nearly two seasons.
Young pitching sensation Joba Chamberlain began the year out of the bullpen but moved into the starting rotation, possibly at the request of Hank Steinbrenner. The result was a month or so of solid pitching followed by a shoulder injury that forced him to miss significant time.
The one bright spot has been Mike Mussina, who overcame a horrific start to the season that left many asking if he still had anything left in the tank. After having to fight for his job in spring training, Mussina has been one of the top pitchers in the American League and had one of his best seasons ever.
Things aren't looking good for a run to the playoffs for the Yankees, who are all but out of the race for the division title and definitely on the outside looking in at the wild card picture.
Still, these are the Yankees, and until they are officially eliminated from playoff contention, you never know if they might be able to make one final push for a postseason berth.