First a parade and then baseball salvation

Shelley set for 2008
Jeter, New York settle tax dispute

The last time Lower Manhattan witnessed a ticker tape parade, it was a different era. Bill Clinton was closing out his presidency, and in the buildup to a hotly-contested election, the Yankees had just beaten the Mets in a Subway Series. The parade through the Canyon of Heroes ran in the shadows of the city’s tallest buildings.

Now, here we are in 2008 and finally — finally — another parade. Yet again, we’re on the precipice of an election day — and if you live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or any other Super Tuesday state, go vote. The towers are gone, but the spirit of the city will be out in full force later today when Eli Manning, David Tyree, Plaxico Burress, Justin Tuck, Amani Toomer, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and the rest of the Giants will nail Tom Brady for a decisive ten-yard sack bask in the glow of an unlikely Super Bowl win.

Once the parade ends and after the Giants receive their praise from the lips of Mayor and potential presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, New York’s attention will turn to baseball. Forget the Rangers and the 14-34 Knicks. In nine days, pitchers and catchers officially report to Tampa. Most of them are already enjoying the Florida sun, and a lot of the Yankee youngsters have taken three bullpen sessions. But still we fixate on Feb. 14 when life starts the six-week march to its rebirth on Opening Day.

And that, my friends, is where you come in. With ten days to go before camp opens and a few more weeks before the games begin, the baseball news cycle is drawing to a close. A whole group of mediocre free agents and Barry Bonds remain unsigned, but after the Eric Bedard trade is mercifully completed tomorrow and Brian Roberts heads to Chicago this weekend, the wheeling and dealing will be through. That still leaves us with some time before we start obsessing over every move Joe Girardi makes and bemoaning Kyle Farnsworth’s very existence.

So here’s my challenge: Throw out some ideas of what you would like to see as season preview material here on RAB. We could do the ever-clichéd position-by-position analysis, but we already know the Yankees’ areas of concern — young pitchers, bullpen, first base. We’ve been tossing around a few ideas but give us yours. It’s all about that give-and-take.

Shelley set for 2008
Jeter, New York settle tax dispute
  • iYankees

    How about something on Damon playing first base (since he got a couple of looks there last year). I know it’s kind of eh, but it’s all I can think of lol…

    • steve

      don’t forget about matsui at first !

      how about something on the new coaching staff ? don’t remember if u guys did that or not.

    • Manimal

      I went to damon’s first appearance at first base lol 2005, melky hit a walk off in extra’s that day.

  • jew4jeter

    Top 10 prospects listed in order of who is most likely to have the greatest impact on the major league club in 2008.

  • kyle from CT

    i think the pitching breakdown (both youngsters and the relief situation) and the first base situation are probably the most talked about issues right now, so if you guys can shed some light, or your opinion on that it would be cool.

  • JeterMack Clutch

    i like jew’s idea.

    Yea Giants! I had you all the way Eli!!!

  • morecowbell

    1) Using the areas of concern along with the current and future trade market to talk about what possible deals the yanks could make
    2) State of the AL east: in light of Tampa’s alarming stockpile of talent, the emerging Jays, and the Orioles going into sell mode. Who will be the biggest challenger to the Yanks/Sox?
    3)Does Chien Ming Wang suck on turf, or does he suffer from small sample size?
    4) Maybe a look forward to the draft?
    5) Steroids…. just kidding!

    • giselle

      I agree with morecowbell’s second bullet. there’s something brewing in tampa and no one’s really taking notice (yet). I’m picking them as my sleeper to take third place in the AL.

      I think it’d be cool if you did an AL East breakdown and made some predictions such as each team’s win/loss record, starting rotation, power bats or best hitters in the lineup, bullpen strength, and prospects likely to debut in ’08/have a big impact on their ML clubs. That’d be an interesting post!

  • Scallionboy

    Seems to be a growing consensus that Jeter will have to vacate short within a few years (Carmen Angelini, anyone?). Second and third locked up. Now playing left field for the New York Yankees . . .?

  • Bob

    If you do do a position by position preview, how about doing it by the categories of offense, defense and pitching? In other words, if looking at 1B, it is not relevant whether you think Giambi or Duncan (or whoever you project to play there) hits well or in a particular way, but how well he plays 1B. Separate the offense from defense and discuss it by reviewing the expected lineup.

    Example. The shortstop is Jeter. We know he is a terrific offensive player, but is he a good shortstop? That is all that matters when discussing the position. If you compare him to Bartlett, for example, who is superior? As Bartlett will probably bat 9th and Jeter 2nd, comparing their offense makes little sense. You have to compare Jeter to Crawford offensively since both bat 2nd in the lineup, and compare NY’s 9th place hitter to Bartlett.

  • Mike from CT

    How about a look at the bullpen and the different guys who could play a major role – their strengths and weaknesses. As well as a look at the guys in AA and AAA that could play a role if people get injured.

  • Mike from CT

    How about a look at the bullpen and the different guys who could play a major role – their strengths and weaknesses. As well as a look at the guys in AA and AAA that could play a role if people get injured.

  • TurnTwo

    i know its not necessarily spring training/season preview material, but i love the prospect profiles, and would enjoy having a couple more of those.

    going along with what was said above, how about having some fun constructing the team’s best lineup, but separating it into best offensive lineup and best defensive lineup…

    or keeping it on the offensive side of the discussion, how about constructing the lineup in different ways 1-9, kind of predicting what Girardi might do to start the season…

    instead of just assuming its Damon, Jeter, Abreu, ARod, how about making the case for Jeter, Abreu, Cano, Arod, and putting Damon at the bottom of the lineup?

    or putting different players in the 5 hole, and debate who would provide the most protection for ARod (is this the year for Cano to play a more significant role in the middle of the lineup)? stuff like that…

  • Pete

    Newly Assigned Jersey Numbers

  • Mike R.

    Why don’t you have a positon by position break down with a twist? You can take each position and look at the questions at that position throughout the system. For example:

    C – Will the Yankees stick with PJ Pliterre as their everyday catcher in Scranton or will they sign someone with more experience (Like Ramon Catro last year)?

    Who should be the starter in Charleston? Romine or Montero?

    Something along those lines.

  • Ed

    I’d like to see comments on how important good arms and range are in the outfield. Bernie, Damon, and others have allowed baserunners to run rampant on the bases. It seems as if throwing ability is almost as important as range, yet I have never seen a study on its affect. I suspect that our outfield defense has really hurt our pitchers.


    • steve (different one)

      Ed, try searching at the Hardball Times.

      i seem to remember some studies on the relative importance of outfield arms, and i *think* the conclusion is that the effect is a small drop in the bucket relative to range. a rangey OFer with a poor arm is much more valuable than a mediocre OFer with a great arm.

  • Luke S.

    I think trying to predict how Joe G. will use his bullpen – presumably differently from the way Mr. Torre did – might be fun. Especially as spring training proceeds and we begin to refine our speculation on its (the bullpen’s) makeup.

  • Jeff

    Lack of At Bats: The DH Dilema… I think if Matsui is healed he is too valuable to sit. At the same time as Giambi sits the bench how do we expect to get anything out of him. Keeping the bench sharp at the same time is going to be a real hassel for Giardi. Is there any possibility Melky sits some?
    Predictions: lineup – including BA and HR numbers; rotation – Wins and ERA

  • Motown Yankee Fan

    What about a best case/worst case scenario by position, like what Chad Jennings did for Scranton. Sort of analyze the ceilings and floors of what we’ve got (A-Rod–will it be 70 homers or 50?).

  • E-ROC

    Predictions on position players and pitchers. What if scenarios. List the Yankees that are on the current team, that you despise the most. More predictions: this make about what trades that could or will happen for the Yankees. Sleeper players who will likely be cut or make the team before the first pitch of the ML season. I guess that’s it.

  • jsbrendog

    Yankee Cage Fights. Put the numbers of the current person at each position and compare them to projected numbers of the best prospect at each position and look at contracts and see if and when the prospects will be ready,……..

    in na steel cage

  • Aziz

    this is pretty random but do u know anything about the upcoming Latin American players in the July 2nd signing.

  • steve (different one)

    i would like to see more analysis on the Johan Santana trade as well as more quotes from Hank Steinbrenner.

    if there’s time, maybe some thoughts on steroids.

    • Ben K.

      How about our thoughts on Melky? Would you like that too?

      • steve (different one)

        there are only so many hours in the day, i didn’t want to impose.

        • Count Zero

          Now THAT was funny…

  • Prezs2ReprsntMe

    how about this:

    for the pitchers, analysis of what each one needs to do to suceed. for example, we know in the second half altho wang was respectable, his slider was not in full command, and neither was his fastball. And for hughes, his success depends on lowering BBs and mixing his changeup in more often, etc etc. its not much material per player, but added up it could be decent

  • dan in nj

    I think a story on the evolution of youth on the 40 man roster would be interesting. Who is added this year and next year. After the 2009 season only Jeter, Mo, Posada and Arod will still be with the team.

  • Wiggum Fan

    Organization depth chart for each position all the way down to Rookie Ball with their age.

    How about a management depth chart & brief bio? Include coaches, Giardi & execs like Cashman, Oppenhiemer (sp?), Levine, etc.

    Projected lineups and their salaries for:
    2011 (if everything pans out prospect wise)

  • Bronx Cheer

    I would prefer an analysis/projection on the differences between Girardi and Torre. For example, the bench looks like it is going to be much improved. Is this because Girardi has told Cashman that he plans to rotate players? For example, give Betemit regular days in the field at multiple positions? Give Jeter more off days (“coincidentally” when Wang is pitching)? Rest Bobby/Giambi/Damon against lefties? Defensive sub for Matsui late in games?

    My personal take is that we are going to see a very different type of roster management this year.

  • OldYanksFan

    I would like to address and discuss the ‘Jeter’ issue. When looking at offense AND defense, how does he compare to other SSs? Is he still ‘elite’? And if not, at what point does his defense MANDATE a move (if not already).

    I think he makes a average or slighly better 1Bman. I can NOT see him (especially considering age) in the OF. He has a very slow 1st step, so 3rd is out (not to mention we have a good 3rd baseman).

    Does he retire after 2011? Will he still want to play with ARod? And if so, what vaue might he have at what position? Is our lack of a 1Bman because the Yanks are thinking of Jeter there? If we get Tex, does that mean Jeter is at SS for life?

    It’s still 4 years away, but like with Mo and Po this year, how to handle resigning an older Yankee icon is a difficult issue.

    • Count Zero

      That’s a pretty solid analysis topic. I like it!

      Of course, the problem with it is that we’re just spinning our wheels — Jeter ain’t movin’ as long as he is a Yankee. And it would take cojones the size of Rhode Island to let him walk as a free agent after 2011…I seriously doubt he retires unless he’s physically unable to play.

  • stefan

    I know the Bullpen analysis is a bit over-done, but I think that most Yankees fans really don’t know much about the guys competing for the 3-4 spots available, other than “Chris Britton is big” and “Edwar has a changeup”.

    So, how about a small profile of each of those arms, chance of making the pen, and what we can expect from them if they are given a chance?

    Ross Ohlendorf, Jon Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, Chris Britton, Brian Bruney, Sean Henn, Heath Phillips, Billy Traber, Chase Wright, Alan Horne, Dan McCutchen, Jeff Marquez. And I’m sure I’m still forgetting about somebody. If we can learn a little bit about those guys, it might give fans a bit more confidence going into this season, other than the usual “The Yankees have no idea who will fill out their bullpen, and that spells trouble” rhetoric.

  • nick blasioli

    get rid of all potential first basemen..sign doug m. with giambi at dh…a good firstbaseman will save many games..i dont thinkduncan,matsui or damon can make the plays doug has made…

  • Malcard89

    How about doing a potential 2010 starting lineup like baseball america, except that theirs is pretty watered down (they assume bobby abreu will be the DH, which seems unrealistic). you can do one based on realistically looking at our best prospects who have a good chance to take over whoever is at the position currently and likely free agents that we should be able to sign.

  • Jeterismyhomeboy

    With so many people trying out for space in the ‘pen and 1B, why don’t you draft up your ideal Yankee ’08 team from the available choices? You could put their ceiling (why they’re the best for the team) and their floor, and then list who would replace them if they were closer to their floor than their ceiling.

    Also, each author could do a hypothetical: If I Were Cashman through Spring Training…once a week, each of you could chime in on what we’ve seen so far, and, with those observations, say what you’d do as GM of the New York Yankees.

  • Harry

    How about an evaluation of what circumstances would need to happen by mid-July to justify trading away Joba or other such valued players (e.g., Yanks are 2 games out and the corner outfield positions have been plowed under by injuries and our only trade chips are the young pitchers)

    • steve (different one)

      there is absolutely NOTHING that can happen that would make the Yankees trade Joba. nothing.

      the Yankees would sooner pack it in and think about 2009.

  • Jersey

    “forget the Rangers”

    Devils are doing pretty well…. ;)