Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game One

It is a weird time to be a fan of a New York baseball fan. Two different news items from this weekend highlighted that maybe, just maybe, this will be a return to the bad old days of New York baseball.

The Mets situation is not so bad in reality, it is more of an optical loss. Naming Jonathon Niese your Opening Day starter isn’t a bad thing per se, it merely serves a harsh reminder that R.A. Dickey ain’t walking back through that door. Niese is a good pitcher but knuckle-balling storybook Cy Young winner he ain’t.

There are brighter days ahead for the Mets, possibly even later this season. Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud won’t start the season in Flushing with the Mets but they stand to be there come September.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are a much different story.

The end of the Yankees Empire will not come in any of our lifetimes. The next truly poor season will be the first in twenty years. 2013 won’t necessarily be that return to the bad old days but each nagging question re-introduces that possibility.

It is easy to point at the absurd amount of Yankees salary scheduled to begin the year on the DL and laugh, but more than anything the Yankees are missing talent. With Mark Teixeira suffering from a torn tendon sheath, the Yankees will begin the season without their starting center (left) fielder, their starting third baseman and their starting first baseman. That is tough for any team to take, no matter the depths of their riches.

There is something to be said for the declining value of all three players, that Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira are well into their decline phases, while Curtis Granderson just crested that hill himself. None the less, they are descending from a significant height and replacing their production will not be easy.

All the Brennan Boesch‘s in the world can’t make up for losing three very, very good baseball players. Add in bigger question marks around Derek Jeter than ever before and you have a recipe for (glorious) disaster.

The Yankees won 95 games last season, the Mets 74. One team has plenty of talent ready to infiltrate their lineup, unproven as it might be. The other bides its time and tries to stave off the inevitable aging process. While counting the Yankees out remains folly until they are dead in the ground, there are only so many setbacks they can absorb before the damage begins to show.

And the rest

Sad news out of Cuba, as pitcher for the national team Yadier Pedroso died in an automobile accident just days after returning home from the WBC [Eye on Baseball]

Some levity: here, in living color, the weirdest play I can remember seeing on a baseball field. Yadier Molina is part man, part catcher, part relentless killer who pursues his prey like a jaguar.

New guy at Lookout Landing! He’s good, rest assured. [Lookout Landing]

Vernon Wells, killing it? [OC Register]

The Biogenesis thing isn’t going away any time soon, he typed for the nth time. [Sports on Earth]

Matt Kemp did this to a poor, unsuspecting baseball [MSTI]

The importance of Aaron Hill to the Diamondbacks cannot be overstated. [Arizona Republic]

And, finally, this: