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The numbers are not promising for local MLB teams

POSTED March 28, 2013
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia

I thought it'd be fun to start things off with some numbers today.

Player 1, potential opening day left fielder: .303 batting average, 40 doubles, 32 home runs, 106 RBI, .357 on-base percentage.

Player 2, potential opening day first baseman: .312 batting average, 46 doubles, 22 home runs, 92 RBI, .372 on-base percentage.

Were those numbers compiled last season? Nope. Or the year before, or the year before that. Not even in the last six seasons.

We're talking 2006. And we're talking Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay, who each, respectively, are slated to take the field with the New York Yankees on Monday against Boston in the season opener.

Needless to say, Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner and friends have fallen on hard times.

In fact, locally, we may be looking at the first baseball season without the Yankees, Mets or Red Sox in the playoffs since 1993.

The Yankees, who are desperate to meet a $189 million payroll cap set by ownership, turned away Russell Martin for Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart, let Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez, both key contributors last season, go for nothing, and have littered their roster with washed up veterans on the minimum hoping against all odds to strike gold.

The injury situation seems to get worse by the day. Their crew currently on the disabled list is better than their current lineup with Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and, yes, even A-Rod all out.

With the rise of the Blue Jays and Orioles, the division will be harder to win than in recent times. Plus, with the 100-plus loss Astros now in the AL West, securing one of the Wild Card spots will be more difficult as the teams in that division now have an 18-game punching bag in Houston.

Joe Girardi will have to do his best work yet if the Yankees are to see October. Don't bet on it.

Boston, meanwhile, has issues of its own. Coming off a horrid last place finish in 2012, the Sox made it a mission to steal John Farrell away from the Blue Jays to be their manager. After a terrible job in Toronto, the Blue Jays were more than happy to oblige and send Farrell packing to their division rival. If that is not a red flag, I don't know what is.

By the way, David Ortiz has yet to take an at-bat in Spring Training and Jonny Gomes is expected to compete for every day playing time. I would hold off on any parade plans.

As for the Mets, it is all but certain they will finish in fourth place in the NL East. The Nationals, Braves and Phillies are all better and the Marlins, thanks to their roster dumpings, are worse. Simple analysis, but all true. While they do have promising young pitching, hitting will be an every day struggle.

And all three teams are also in the midst of box office struggles.

Boston's decade-long sellout streak is slated to come to an end for its second home game of the year and the team announced free food deals in April trying to convince fans to buy tickets. The Yankees, who had playoff games last season with 5,000 or more empty seats, are in the middle of a childish war with StubHub over the rights to the secondary ticket market.

If you are on the Mets email list, you would have received a message this week offering free tickets to a game if you purchase ones for opening day. Once upon a time, opening day was a guaranteed sellout, now they are trying to stave off the embarrassment of empty seats by pawning off free tix.

Time are pretty rough around here on the baseball scene. The numbers don't lie.

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