I have immense respect for the New York Yankees.

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera — first-ballot Hall of Famers who have spent their entire careers with the same franchise — are class personified. Even amid talk of the mythical $189 million ceiling for next year, the Yankees (unlike other franchises) have an enduring commitment to winning, with 27 World Series championships to prove it. Their run of 17 postseason appearances in the past 18 years — a major league record — stands as one of baseball’s great achievements in an era of increased competitive balance.

But I do not expect the Yankees will be very good this year. That’s why I’m writing this column.

The Yankees, in fact, will finish last in the American League East.

Picks are picks, usually forgotten by Tax Day, but I take them seriously — especially this one. If I say the Yankees are going to finish last in their division for the first time since 1990, well, I’d better be ready to justify it. This is my attempt to do so. You might agree with me. Somehow, I suspect you won’t.

If it’s any consolation to Yankees fans — yes, you, the one who just utilized Twitter to send me a belated valentine — I think the Yankees will be the best last-place team in baseball this year. Maybe ever.