A lot has been made about the Yankees and their offensive troubles in 2014, but it’s not only the team in the Bronx that has had down numbers. In truth, offensive production has been down all around baseball and their are a lot of reasons for this. One being the emergence of great pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, David Price and although they’re currently hurt, Jose Fernandez and Masahiro Tanaka. The declining use of PED’s, scientifically engineered defensive shifts as well as defensive-oriented fielders like Manny Machado, Ben Revere, Asdrubal Cabrera and others, who can steal hits away from batters just as easily as a shift can. Yeah offense is down in New York, but it’s because of the usual cookie cutter statement “The Yankees give older players big contracts” which in reality is a lame excuse that has absolutely no effect on offensive production.
Oh it won’t last either. It’s a cyclical pattern much like the beards players sport. Throughout baseball history, offense has both spiked and sputtered at times and it’s never something to worry about. But when the Yankees brought in Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, their fans were expecting some big pop that hasn’t come. It’s easy to look at McCann and say “Oh! That was a bad deal!” when it’s only the first year of a five-year contract. The problem is probably because he’s a catcher and as a catcher he has to do some things that other players don’t have to when switching over to the American League. He needed to learn a whole new league of hitters to help his pitching staff. He needed to adjust to a whole new league of pitchers to bat against. He also had to get comfortable with a whole new pitching staff before opening day and then basically had to do it all over again once injuries crushed the rotation. All that could pose a distraction for McCann in his first season in as a Yankee. Beltran’s problem has been injuries as it always has been in his career. But in the next and final two years of his contract (And likely his career) he could easily pick it back up again.
It’s easy to point to the Yankees and call out their offensive struggles when really it’s all of baseball. We never give credit to the pitchers they face or the great fielders they have the unlucky privilege of running into. The sport is sometimes an unfair one. You take the best swing possible and you’re a little late because somehow that fastball is a change-up. We yell and holler at players swinging at balls in the dirt but we forget that’s what the pitch is meant to do. The Yankees aren’t the only team with offensive struggles this year, and soon enough the entire league will be crushing the cover off the baseball again and we’ll complain about pitching. We’re not a fan base that is very easy to please.