The long-standing rivalry between the Dodgers and Yankees has faded away, but the battle will always be must see TV. Since Los Angeles and New York rarely play, we brought in Jason Cohen of Pinstriped Bible to tell us more about the Bronx Bombers.
BEN: Despite the disappointing and chaotic year for the Yankees, who is the team's MVP and Cy-Young?
JASON: Hands down the MVP would have to be Cano, who has been the team's only legitimate threat in the lineup for most of the season and the Cy Young would be Kuroda, who has been the real ace of the staff now that CC Sabathia is bad.
BEN: The entire dilemma between Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees front office continues to get ugly, do you believe he will don the pinstripes again this season? Also, does A-Rod plan on making a Braun-like settlement with the MLB or battling the impending suspension through the appeal process?
JASON: Well, I always felt that people claiming he would never play for the Yankees again were all crazy, but now that Ryan Braun has been suspended I think anything is possible. I think he will return to the team because if he is suspended he can still play while he appeals and it doesn't sound like he's looking to make a deal. The real question is if the Yankees will let him play or if some more drama will unfold about trying to keep him off the team.
BEN: At 55-50 and 7.5 games back, the Yankees are in an uncomfortable position. However, playing above .500 seems very impressive because of the never ending injury problems. I know Yankees fans will consider anything less than winning it all or making the playoffs a disaster, but is that fair given the circumstances?
JASON: This season has definitely been disappointing for many reasons, but not just because of the injuries. They failed to upgrade the team in the offseason because of budgetary restrictions and the farm system hasn't been very good so they've had to rely on boring old over-the-hill type players and that's not very fun to watch, especially after April. The most disastrous thing is that 2014 doesn't look to be much better, unless Alex Rodriguez is somehow banned from baseball and that contract goes away.
BEN: The one man Joe Girardi can count on daily is Robinson Cano. The problem being, Cano hits the free agency market this summer. Have GM Brian Cashman and Jay-Z's Roc Nation (Cano's agent) talk about an extension? How much money do you expect Cano to get, and will it be for the Yankees?
JASON: There has been some talk earlier in the season, but extension talks have gone dead in the last few months. It doesn't make sense why the Yankees wouldn't try to make a deal now in order to avoid other teams jacking up the price. People keep saying Cano could get a $200 million contract, but as a 31-year-old second baseman I don't see it. Dustin Pedroia just signed an eight-year, $100 million extension, so if that is a guideline, I would be ecstatic with something in the $150 million range over seven or eight years. Really, the years are the biggest issue. We've seen what happens when the Yankees sign their players into their 40s and I don't want to see them make the same mistakes again.
BEN: Ex-Dodger and old friend Hiroki Kuroda has probably become the ace of the Yankees, posting a 10-6 record and a 2.51 ERA. If the Yankees made the playoffs, would Kuroda actually get the ball game one, and where does he fit in to their plans going forward?
JASON: I would give him the ball in game one, but Joe Girardi tends to stick with his struggling veterans, so CC Sabathia would likely get the start and then everyone would be surprised when he gets blown up for the 5454352 time this season. The Yankees are really going to have to keep him because right now the 2014 rotation is CC, Phelps, Nova, Warren, and maybe Pineda. Re-signing Kuroda should be high on the list of things to do this winter.
BEN: Meanwhile, CC Sabathia may be putting together his worst season ever. What's the problem with Sabathia and can it get fixed?
JASON: At first everyone blamed the loss in velocity, and I'm sure it didn't help, but now that it's back up it looks like the problem is really his command. He's throwing low-quality strikes and hitters aren't missing them. Just like Phil Hughes!
BEN: Any updates on the captain/Derek Jeter's health?
JASON: He played his first game off the DL against the Rays and hit a home run on the first pitch he saw, because of course he did. Joe Girardi told him to not run all out when he doesn't have to in order to preserve his body and he'll surely be playing a lot more DH, so hopefully he doesn't get hurt again, again, again.
BEN: The Mariano Rivera good bye tour has been awesome to watch, from the jaw-dropping All-Star game moment, to the Rangers dressing him up as a Cowboy. Within the fun natured events, Rivera seems better than ever on the diamond. Where would you place Rivera among the all-time great Yankees?
JASON: While it's hard to rank a reliever in with people like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, etc., Mo is as synonymous with the Yankees brand as any of them. He's definitely the best closer of all time, but his placement among position players is a little more subjective. That being said, Mariano Rivera is one of the greatest Yankees in the last 40 years, easily.
BEN: When the Yankees and Dodgers square off at Chavez Revine, there will be 60,000 plus fans. As the Dodgers attempt to become the Yankees of the west, do you believe this rivalry can ever be somewhat resurrected?
JASON: Unfortunately, I don't think any rivalry can be what they were back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s because the mentality has changed. The Red Sox/Yankees rivalry might still exist to the fans and ESPN, but the players don't hate each other like George Brett used to hate the Yankees. I can see the Dodgers and Yankees having a sort of Yankees/Braves rivalry like in the late-90s, but that depends entirely on the Dodgers ability to stay successful and whether or not the Yankees can be a good team again.
BEN: Series prediction?
JASON: The Dodgers are throwing out Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, so with this Yankees offense we should all be on no hitter watch, though I wouldn't be surprised if they score 10 runs in each game either. It's been a weird season.