Counting our chickens well before they hatch

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Davidoff: Who needs Pettitte?

With the Yanks’ dual signings of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, Las Vegas is now calling the Yankeesthe prohibitive favorites to win the 2009 World Series, Jack Curry reports. Of course, they don’t play the games on paper, and October is a long way away from December. It is, however, comforting to hear that the bettors think the Yanks are making some good moves.

Brand spankin' new Depth Chart
Davidoff: Who needs Pettitte?
  • Sweet Dick Willie

    Considering that the Yanks play in the most competitive division in baseball, and considering that their pitching staff is arguably no better than Tampa’s or Boston’s, it’s tough to figure out how they are “prohibitive” favorites.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I don’t set the odds; I just report on ’em.

      • Mister Delaware

        Saving 50 runs in the starting rotation and filling in the Molina/CF holes (if the Cameron trade is finalized) goes a very, very long way in making up the 6 games we missed the playoffs by. Tampa Bay should regress regardless, they played 5 games above their Pythag. I’d say we’re right there without another move.

        • David

          Tampa won’t regress. As they are young, their players are likely to improve. And they David Price to their rotation. We need another bat to compete with Tampa and Boston.

          • Steve H

            Their bullpen is completely unlikely to match last season. They went from the worst pen in MLB history to one of the better ones last year, with mostly the same pitchers, they absolutely will regree. Price is no guarantee for 200 innings as well.

            • David

              And their hitters are likely to do better. The trade they just made added another decent bat.

            • http://pinstripealley.com Edwantsacracker

              Bullpens pitch better when they don’t have to be used for 5 innings every day. The Bullpen production that they saw was probably a direct result of talented starters going deep into games. How many times did we have to see the graphics on YES of how many quality starts the Tampa Lineup did?

            • Chris

              The Rays had only 9 games started by someone other than their top 5 pitchers. That’s very unlikely to happen again, particularly with young pitchers.

            • MikeD

              Steve H, can’t disagree with you since it’s not outlandish to predict regression for any team that had a good pen from year to year.

              That said, what the Yankees did differently in ’08 had less to do with the names of the relievers as it did with how they were used and how the pen was constructed. The Yankees brought in more arms, and then extended their MLB bullpen down to AAA providing a greater depth and variety. The ones who performed stayed, the ones who didn’t were jettisoned.

              Girardi, unlike Torre, also showed no preference toward any one set-up man to get to Mariano. This eliminated arm burn out. I expect them to continue this trend in ’09, and they should have an even greater selection of quality arms to put in the pen, including a couple who came up later in the year who have great promise to help over the course of a full year — Dave Robertson and Phil Coke.

              There’s also Melancon, Aceves, Dunn, Claggett, Jackson and health permitting guys like Sanchez and Cox. There’s also the return of Albaladejo, who wasn’t around long enough before he was injured. There’s others, too. It doesn’t matter if Bruney falters, or Ramirez, etc. The Yankees will go to the best arms. That’s a very different approach from the Torre days, who would had no intention of allowing a Veres or a Ramirez to pitch in important situations.

              The jury is still out on Girardi overall, but the one area he gets a total A+ from me is on the bullpen.

            • MikeD

              Steve, sorry I transitioned off the topic of why Tampa’s bullpen wasn’t likely to repeat and why I thought the Yankees pen will bet better. I think that’s true, but the one thing I will say about Tampa is what another one of the posters noted. The improvement in Tampa’s pen had as much to do with the quality of the starters. The relievers in ’08 were no longer burned out.

  • Paulie

    A trip to the World Series would be more likely if the Yankees sign Mark Teixeira. Just imagine how great the rotation could be if Sabathia, Burnett, Wang and Joba live up their expectations while Damon, Jeter, Teixeira and Rodriguez lead the offense.

    • Alan

      Don’t forget to sign Manny to patrol left field.

  • Slugger27

    not sure i agree that they should be the favorite to win the WS… but they did take a big step in the right direction

    im not in favor of the burnett deal, at least the length of it… but its hard to argue that for strictly 2009, adding both these pitchers is a huge upgrade for the team… whether they are good long term moves is irrelevant when setting the 2009 odds

    bottom line is they had wang, joba, and 3 question marks… now they have 2 strikeout artists, one is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, the other has a knack for being dominant against the al east

    being the prohibitive favorite is debatable… whether both of these moves will work out long term is certainly debatable… but the fact that they significantly upgraded their chances of winning the WS in 2009 is not debatable

  • Jerry

    After reading an article about the Yankees “shameless” spending (it’s on MLB Trade Rumors), I came upon this gem of a comment.

    “Yanks arent surviving long

    You know what happens when you sign these guys to big contracts? You lose draft picks. And for a franchise that already has a very watered-down minor league system, with no major prospects on the horizon, this should be troubling for the Yankees. Remember that every Yankee dynasty has had homegrown talent at the core of its success, including the ’90s teams — Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, Rivera, Bernie Williams, even later additions like Cano and Alfonso Soriano — all these guys were signed and brought up through the Yankee system and were the core of the championship teams. My prediction is a veteran club and no young talent on the horizon, they are headed for another lost decade, something similar to the dreary 1980s.”

    Fine we don’t have THE best system in the league but we have a pretty good one with some good prospects on the horizon. I hate reading garbage like this.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Yeah I don’t buy that. A team can also boost its farm system by spending on the international market. Plus, your draft nets you just one first round pick a year (or sometimes more), but that hardly is considered “stocking” your system.

      • David

        We get our two picks from last year for guys that didn’t sign. So we are covered in that regard.

      • Steve H

        Also, because we are willing to spend above slot, we get 1st round talent later in the draft, like Betances. So the 1st round picks aren’t as valuable as they are to teams that are too cheap, or play within the rules and won’t take a guy in the 8th round and blow him away.

    • A.D.

      we loose 2 picks in a draft with many rounds…bit of an exagerration by that commenter. No teams issue is ever not having enough draft picks, but the players they pick

  • Dirt

    Why? WHY does Tristan Cockcroft think that Joba should be in the bullpen? That just makes me angry. How can anybody still think that? He showed the ability to put up around a 2.50 ERA, granted in a partial season, and people still think that he should go put up around a 2.50 ERA, which, if I remember correctly was around the ERA that he had as a reliever, for 75 innings, rather than 175. Yes, his ERA may go up a bit, but that just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • Steve H

      If his era jumps to 3.50 as a starter, and would shrink to 1.50 as a reliever, he STILL belongs in the rotation. And if this team makes the playoffs, we have 3 power arms in the rotation. Power pitching wins in the playoffs and we have three of the harder throwers in the league, all with great secondary stuff as well. If they didn’t have the secondary stuff they would be, you got it, relievers. Joba in the pen would be the biggest mistake this team could make.

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      Can you post a link? For some reason, I like reading those articles.

  • Patrick T

    I really don’t understand how the Yanks can be considered favorites with the lineup they can expect to trot out in 2009. It has the potential to be much worse than 2008’s mediocre offering. So much of the teams presumed success in 2009 relies on returns to form of Matsui, Posada, Cano and Swisher. There’s little chance all 4 will play at pre-2008 levels, Matsui and Posada in particular are aging, injury-concerned players far more likely to decline than see an upswing. Who fills in if they’re injured again? There’s no bats on the bench or on the farm. This doesn’t even touch having the worst outfield of any contender, with Damon likely to regress at least a little, Nady a league average bat, and Gardner/Melky/Cameron et al far more likely to produce just barely north of replacement level.

    Sure the rotation looks better, and even moreso once either Pettitte or Sheets is in the fold, but lets not start breaking out the Dom just yet. As the rosters stand right now, I’d say Boston looks a slight favorite, with the Yanks and Rays nipping at their heels. I’d feel a whole lot better about their chances if they acquired a Dunn, Burrell or Abreu than I will if they break camp with anything looking like this offense.

    • Slugger27

      im not saying they should definitely be the favorites… but u have to remember that while they are taking hits offensively by replacing giambi with swisher and abreu with nady… the defensive upgrade nearly totally negates the offensive downgrade…

      also, nady and swisher could have their best years ahead of them, and certainly giambi and abreu have their best years behind them… i think ppl are overvaluing giambi and abreus value to the team… they were great obp guys, but their defense gave back almost every run they were worth on offense… and that cant be overlooked, especially when deciding which teams should be favored to win a WS… driving in a million runs on offense means nothing if u give a million runs away on defense

      • whozat

        “they were great obp guys, but their defense gave back almost every run they were worth on offense”

        That’s hyperbole. Giambi, especially, was still a valuable offensive player. Abreu…less so. Nady’s total package is about equal to Abreu’s, even accounting for some regression back to his career norms.

      • Larry

        “…they were great obp guys, but their defense gave back almost every run they were worth on offense…”

        That’s a bit of a stretch. Are there stats for that?

    • Manimal

      With a rotation like what we have, 1 run might be enough to win. We definitely need a bat in the line up and but first base and the outfield is all set, we dont have any open spots.

    • whozat

      “It has the potential to be much worse than 2008’s mediocre offering.”

      Yeah…If Posada and Matsui miss 4-5 months of the season again. Posada doesn’t HAVE to be 2007 Jorge to be a big, big boost over Moellina. Matsui just has to be solid to be a boost over the likes of Sexson, Ensberg, Duncan and whoever else was getting DH ABs. There’s excellent reason to think that Swish and Cano will rebound, and getting Cameron to patrol CF for 2009 clears up the other egregious hole they have.

      They won’t have any premier offensive players at their positions, really, except ARod and Cano if he rebounds. And Jeter, if he can drive the ball again after his hand healing up. But they’ll have a lineup of solid bats.

      • Steve H

        A lineup of solid bats and great pitching can win rings. A record breaking lineup and mediocre pitching does not win rings. Look at the last few years with the Yankees. Look at the mid 90’s Indians. Where are their rings? Pitching and defense=titles.

        • Jake K.

          Right, but this is not a good defense club, and has the potential to be a quite bad defensive club. We shouldn’t be overlooking that. A drastic defensive improvement had a lot to do with Tampa Bay’s turnaround.

          • Steve H

            Agreed. But one thing that keeps the ball out of the defense’s hands are strikeouts. We now have 3 great strikeout pitchers in the rotation, as well as a few in the bullpen.

          • Slugger27

            losing the 2 worst defensive players on the team is a damn good start to improving it though, wouldnt u say?

        • David

          So the Phillies didn’t win last year? That must have been a dream.

          The 98 Yankees and the 99 Yankees had top offenses. This notion that teams can win without good offense is silly. Presently, the Yankees do not have a solid offense. We scored 3 runs or less in 70 games last year and lost Abreu and Giambi. Counting on Matsui is folly. He is declining and breaking down. Counting on Posada catching 100 games is very dangerous with the surgery he’s recovering from. How is this offense solid.

    • Mike Pop

      Matsui > Burrell.. If Abreu was willing to take a 1 year deal I would give it to him.. This team will be in trouble after the 09 season with the outfield unless they do something.

  • Armchair Cashman

    MY TAKE ON THINGS (also on LoHud)

    PITCHING – Assuming we end up with a VERY serviceable #4 pitcher in Pettitte or Sheets (preferably Andy), we’re going to have the best overall pitching staff in the majors when factoring in the 3 major facets of starting rotation, bullpen, and organizational depth. In all areas, we are STACKED with quality arms … with more than a few capable of throwing a 95+ MPH fastball on a normal basis.

    With a rotation guaranteed to include Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, and Chamberlain, you have 4 guys who can be completely dominant on any given day. Yes, each one will get slammed occasionally, and yes, AT LEAST one of those guys will be on the disabled list next year … but what team doesn’t encounter these issues?

    The bullpen is extremely well-balanced and Girardi did a fantastic job of managing next year … it was probably his single greatest strength. We have a ton of young guns that are already proving themselves (Bruney, Veras, Coke), a fairly dependable veteran LHP who can still throw hard in Marte, and of course, the greatest closer in the history of baseball – who is coming off one of his finest statistical seasons ever – Mariano Rivera. I’m pretty sure we’ll be okay when we have a lead going into the 8th or 9th inning when you have that guy on your team.

    Our organizational depth rounds out the two main components very nicely. Due to Joba’s inning limit and the inevitablity of some of your starters going on the disabled list this year, the Yankees (and every other team in baseball) are going to need their #6, #7, and possibly #8 starters. Future ace in waiting Phil Hughes will get some chances to develop in the bigs this year again while stilling mainly honing his stuff in AAA, a humbled Ian Kennedy can get a chance to show off the improvements he’s made, and Aceves will make a fine longman in the rotation who might develop into something more. Combine that with a glut of other talent which will become members of the 25 man roster as early as in ST or years down the line like Mark Melancon, Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances, and you see that we are locked and loaded in every conceivable way.

    HITTING – I do not see us getting Teixeria, or even Adam Dunn for that matter (though I would like to see it happen). I think the Cameron-Cabrera deal will eventually happen, and it will net us a dependable back-end of the lineup hitter who will not make us a defensively worse team (Cameron is a golden glover, and Cabrera was very well-rounded defensively, a bit unappreciated there IMO). Not to mention, we’d only have Cameron for a year, conveniently letting us slide a by then major league ready Austin Jackson in there for 2010. So with that said, here is what my opening day lineup guess is:

    1. Johnny Damon – LF
    2. Derek Jeter – SS
    3. Xavier Nady – RF
    4. Alex Rodriguez – 3B
    5. Hidek Matsui – DH
    6. Jorge Posada – C
    7. Robinson Cano – 2B
    8. Nick Swisher – 1B
    9. Mike Cameron – CF

    Out of that group, I think it is fair to expect about career average-ish years from the following players: Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Xavier Nady, Nick Swisher, and Mike Cameron. Those guys have some pretty good numbers on the back of their baseball cards for the most part … I’d say for those players, they will do sufficiently relevant to where they’ll be slotted in the lineup.

    The three “wildcard” players in my eyes are Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, and Robinson Cano. Here is how I evaluate each one.

    Posada: While coming off a major shoulder surgery and is getting old, he has been one of the best offensive catchers in our era, usually putting up numbers worthy of a #5 or #6 in a contending team’s lineup. However, he is coming off major shoulder surgery and is getting old. Interestingly enough, one of his best, if not the best year in his career, wasn’t so long ago in 2007. He should definitely still be a presence in the lineup, and just as importantly in the clubhouse where he is one of the leaders of the team. The big questions are 1. can he continue to be a catcher for hopefully 100 games? 2. Where do you put him when he’s not your catcher, and what happens if he CAN’T catch? Because, y’know, he is coming off a major shoulder surgery and is getting old

    Matsui: Another guy coming over major surgery and getting old. Within the past year or so, he’s had 2 knee surgeries – one on each knee if I’m not mistaken. He’ll be 35 by the middle of the season. If he can stay healthy and put up his normal full season numbers, this team will be in great shape. If he cannot stay healthy and either goes on the DL or simply mediocre, the Yankees will have a significant offensive gap.

    Robinson Cano: The biggest X factor on the team. He had an awful season last year, and was a complete disappointment. However, when he finally got benched and they changed his stance, he looked more the evolution of his 2006 and 2007 seasons that everyone had expected to see. He’s doing well as a DH in the winter leagues now as Kevin Long has continued to watch over him and ensure his progress. If Cano has another 2008 type season, he’s done with the team. If he can live up to his potential, he will be a superstar and a permanent answer to who will bat 3rd in the lineup for years to come and completely change the way this lineup looks. Even if he ends up somewhere in between, he’ll still be a very good player.

    Our bench is going to be good enough, and we’ll probably snag some cheap utility IF player for the bench at some point. We also usually have at least one player who is getting paid $10 million or more sitting on the bench every game.

    Defensively the Yankees are mediocre, but we should be good enough that its not horrendous. Jeter actually had a statistically average defensive season in ‘08 from what I’ve read, which is really the most you could ever hope for, and if Cano can stay focused, he’s shown flashes of being a very good defensive player. Swisher will be a nice defensive upgrade. Outfield has probably improved to being average with Abreu gone. All in all, its not going to cost us TOO many games (I hope).

    Overall, I’d say we have a fairly high risk / high reward team. We could be another 3rd place team in the AL East if some of our major components don’t live up to realistic expectations, or we could be a serious World Series contender if everything clicks. Either way, I’ll be watching every damn game they play.

    That’s my ramble, thanks for reading, share your thought on why I’m wrong or right.

    • Steve H

      This make too much sense to be posted on LoHud. Don’t agree with Nady hitting 3rd, but that’s just nitpicking, most of your analysis is spot on.

      • Marcus

        *Correction

        Robinson Cano actually had a good season. Batting .285+ for 5 out of the 6 months is not awful. Thats a great 2B. One bad month in April lowered his stats. April for crying out loud. Plus, we probably owe that 8 game winning streak to him.

        • Steve H

          He had several bad months. He had months with decent averages, but they held no weight, because his obp% and slugging% still sucked. They were Juan Pierre months without the steals.

          • Marcus

            Are we ever going to expect a great slugging % out of Robby?

            • Steve H

              May .295/.333/.432 ok month, but not up to expectations.

              June .287/.302/.416 Awful

              July .327/.352/.495 The Robbie we know, love, and expect

              August .290/.336/.490. Again strong, hitting with more authority than his .295 and .287 months

              September .283/.303/.404 Awful again

              So 2 out of 6 months (including April which I don’t need to post) he was the Cano we expect. The other 4 he underperformed.

            • Steve H

              And in 2006 he slugged .525 for the season. He didn’t come close to matching that in one month this year. In 2007 he slugged .488 for the full season, which he barely matched in his best months this year. So yes, I expect him to slug what he’s done in the past.

          • Armchair Cashman

            Who would you want to hit 3rd over Nady, at least coming into ST?

            Cano has to prove himself. Matsui has had two knee surgeries, though to his credit he is a smart base runner at least. Given Nick Swisher has a high OBP, but do you give the new guy the 3 hole coming off an overall dismal season? Nady (still pretty new himself, true) is healthy and still in his prime as a hitter, so I think he is the safest bet. Ultimately I would hope that Cano is the guy who fills that spot by the end of the year, but that is far from a sure thing and something he’d have to prove he is capable of doing as the season develops.

            • A.D.

              Arod, matsui clean-up

              • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

                I’d go:

                Damon
                Jeter
                ARod
                Posada
                Matsui
                Cano
                Nady
                Swisher
                Gardner

                I might switch Matsui and Cano to take advantage of Matsui’s OBP skills to bat in front of Nady, but I like Matsui in that fifth spot. Also, don’t whine about the back-to-back LHB in the fiv and six hole, neither batter has struggled against southpaws in their respective careers.

                • Steve H

                  Where do you put Cameron if/when that trade goes down? Keep him 9th behind the obp of Swisher?

                • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

                  Yeah, his power with Swisher on base at the bottom could prove a nice, little advantage.

    • ChrisS

      Nady is a 105-108 OPS+ guy that strikes out a ton and doesn’t walk much. His rate stats are dependent on batting average. And his defense isn’t anything to write home about. I think he’s going to wear out his welcome pretty quickly. The majority of his time with the Yankees was below league average.

      Nady should be lucky to hit 8th.

      The offense side of the Yankees scares the bejesus out of me. It could be really ugly.

      • David

        It could be early 90s ugly if things break the wrong way with Matsui and Posada. We desperately need another bat.

        • DanElmaleh

          How about Manny for 1 year 30 mil; think he would bite?

          I’d still rather have Tex; evn if we have to pay him till he’s 40.

          • David

            I’d go three years on Manny. Put him behind A-Rod and we’ll have a feared lineup. Right now, we are in danger of being like Toronto was last year.

  • Marcus

    How did the Rays get to the WS?

    Crappy offense and great defense. They did it all on starting pitching and a strong relief. Their offense is pathetic.

    We can now match them in pitching and have better hitting. The only worry should be Matsui/Gardner and how Swisher bounces back. Even with our offense not as great as previous years….we have to remember it’s still better than 90% of the teams out there.

    We don’t need to lead the league in every offensive statistic to win a WS.

    • Jake K.

      Calling their offense crappy is probably an exaggeration. Plus, there’s the whole defense component. The Yanks will likely be a below average defensive club, potentially well below.

      • Marcus

        Slightly exaggerated, but they are not that good offensively. But, yes….they will still beat us in the “fielding defense” category. As will any team in the majors.

        • whozat

          That is also exaggerated. Replacing Abreu and Giambi will help increase the teams defensive efficiency. At that point, Jeter and Posada would be the only potentially below-average defenders on the field.

          • Patrick T

            Nady is very much a potentially below average RF defensively. Cano is very much potentially below average at 2B. Jeter is potentially well-below average at SS. The defense will be poor.

            I don’t understand what people are expecting from Nady. He’s a league average bat, period. You do not hit league average bats 3rd. American League teams with championship aspirations don’t have league average bats in RF. He’s a nice complimentary player. If he has 550 PA for us next year, its a mistake.

            We’re replacing Abreu and Giambi, but we’re not replacing them with Ichriro and Pujols defensively. We’re going from well-below average to average-to-slightly below average. Its an upgrade, but it does not balance out the loss of those two bats. Yes, they were in decline. No, I don’t have a problem with letting them go, but I’d like to see at least one of them replaced by a reliably above-average hitter, and right now, that’s not what the Yankees are doing.

            Nobody wants a repeat of the 2004-2007 teams, with smoke and mirrors rotations and deadly offense. I approve of the rotation upgrade, even if I don’t like Burnett. What I don’t see is how on earth they can win the AL East without another above-average bat.

            • AndrewYF

              The Rays won the AL East, and their entire lineup averaged out to be below-average.

  • Steve S

    I hate to break the news those odds in Vegas arent simply what the handicappers believe. Those lines are heavily influenced by betting patterns, so if there is a huge push betting on one team, they will either raise or lower the odds depending on the direction of the betting. Its a way for the casino to hedge their bet. Even in the Jack Curry article they say that fans are buying into the spending spree. Its clear that at 6-1 a lot of people took those odds so the casino changed it so they arent too heavily leveraged if the Yankees do end up winning the world series.

  • Bart

    Shwos how stupid the bettors are.

    The Yankees thus far have insured they will lose more than 35 games by 1-0 2-1 3-2 scores than last year.

    The defense is poor and aging. The ERA for Sabbathia and Burnett will be half a run higher simply because of the Corner OF and Jeter. Swisher may help at 1B but not enough of an upgrade to replace Giambi’s bat

    The offense at its peak could not beat Cleveland, Detoit, Boston and last year was worse

    For all St Joe’s mantra nad the woeful starting pitching last year OFFENSE and DEFENSE are needed – in fact Pitching Pitching Pitching is maybe only good as defense defense defense

    Posada has to have a miracle comeback to make a playoff a strong possibility in 2009 — even then he is running out the string.

    Matsui, Damon, Posada, Jeter, are all less than what they were 2 and 3 years ago and they are aging. Hoping they revert to 2006 or 2005 form is silly. THINK BERNIE.

    Nady, Swisher, Gardner are not answers – they are questions – and only Gardner is young.

    Failing to get Tex is as bad a move as failing to get Beltran — it forced needing the less capable Damon. The Team is still looking for a CF who can hit a little.

    Maybe there is a Hughes, Joba, IPK, Cano – someone someone – trade lurking for a 23 yr old “next” Jeter or ARod but I can’t name the 23 yr old.

    You can’t fix everyhting at once and taking Tex now fixes a lot for quite awhile – the money coming out of the payroll in 2010 1011, 2012 will take care of it.

    • AndrewYF

      They added two guys who rely less on defense than most pitchers in the league. AJ Burnett even moreso, considering that he either strikes a guy out or walks them.

    • Steve H

      Their defense will be better this year than last year, so your poor and aging argument isn’t great. They are replacing 2 of the worst defensive players in baseball at their position with two players who are average or above average. And younger. If/when they get Cameron, keeping Damon in left, they will have 2 above average outfielders and one average one. Cano can be a very good fielder if he’s focused and the whole infield will improve by having a guy at first who can get to more balls, and catch many more balls thrown at them. It’s no wonder A-Rod was such a good fielder when Mientkiewicz was at first handling the throws.

      • Ryan S. (aka Armchair Cashman)

        Another plus for the defense is that with all the power arms we have, we won’t need to rely on it as much in the first place.

  • Januz

    I hate to say it, but the New York team that should be a favorite to get to the Series is the Mets. The National League is so inferior to the American it is not funny, so they should have an easy time getting there, with K-Rod and Putz in the pen. Utley is gone until June, and already CC, is gone from that league, and perhaps Manny as well. Only the Cubs SHOULD be on their level, until Utley gets back.
    The Yankee pitching from top to bottom, is the best in the game on paper. But the offense may be terrible, and they are facing an improved Tampa team, adding David Price (Why they they are not going after Fuentes is a mystery, he could be the missing part to a World Championship), and an improved Boston team with a healthy Ortiz, and Beckett, and maybe Tex. I do not see this team as a World Series contender. Unless, and that is the big word, UNLESS we sign Tex, or we sign Manny (I admit my least favorite player in baseball, so I don’t want him (Arod is SECOND)), and Tex does NOT go to Boston.

    • Patrick T

      To paraphrase the Wolf, let’s not start sucking the Mets popsicles just yet. I like the bullpen, but that’s still a duct-tape and bailing-wire rotation after Johan. Pelfrey jumped 50 IP last year, so he’s a prime Verducci effect candidate. Maine is a league average pitcher. Perez is as well if they resign him. I can’t see them going deep without signing a Lowe or similar.

      As far as their offense is concerned, the foundation is stellar, but Delgado is still a strong collapse candidate, Tatis is bound to regress, and they still have a gaping hole at 2B.

      They’ll be good, but they’re hardly the prohibitive favorites.

  • mustang

    “I can sense the excitement and the confidence that’s spreading around the entire organization about what we’re getting done and what we may get done still,” Hank Steinbrenner”

    “WHAT WE MAY GET DONE STILL”

    They are not done Hank can’t keep his mouth close. My guess Tex or Manny so if people hate now get ready to hate some more.
    I love being a Yankees fan.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Man, if they sign Manny, I will be so happy. I’ve really wanted to see Manny in the Bronx for years really even if he is a crazy loon.

      • mustang

        I REALLY don’t want him, but I can’t be blind to what he might mean behind A-Rod. Unfortunately it looks like the price might come down low enough where I could deal with the stupid ass clown act.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    I don’t get this doom-and-gloom perception in regards to the Yankees’ offense. People, they were an [i]average[/i] offense in the 2008 season with lackluster campaigns from Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera and Jose Molina; injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsu. So, with all that factored in, the Yankees ranked as such in the following statistcs – in the American League:

    OBP: Third
    OPS: Fifth
    SLG%: Sixth
    Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA): Fifth (51)
    wOBA/P: Fifth

    So, like I said earlier, relax with the whole notion that the Yankees’ offense was some how terrible in 2008. It really wasn’t. Also, factoring in the potential for healthy seasons from the aforementioned Rodriguez, Posada and Matsui, this offense should see an increase; especially if Cano can play up to his career averages.

  • Januz

    I have never been a huge Lowe fan, and I am glad he is not coming here (By the way, I do not see the Mets signing him, after Wilpon lost $300m in that Ponzi Scheme).
    As for why I make the Mets the favorite, the Met pick, is more of an anti-NL pick than a pro-Met choice. The NL is like the AFC. Three good teams (Titans, Ravens, and Steelers), and lots of .500 (Or worse) teams. Dallas, would be the fourth best team in the AFC, and they are middle of the pack NFC (Behind Giants, Panthers, Bucs, Falcolns, Cardinals, Vikings, Eagles, and Maybe Bears).

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      1. When it comes to your AFC analogy, the Colts say hi.

      2. The Dallas Cowboys are only bested by the Giants, Panthers and Buccaneers in the NFC. The Falcons and all the ensuing teams you mentioned are not better than the Cowboys.

      3. Let’s see how the Mets’ offense fairs when Carlos Delgado doesn’t show up until Independence Day, their left-field situation is a platoon of David Murphy and Fernando Tatis, and Ryan Church in right field who hit a paltry .219/.305/.307 in the second half after suffering a serious, mishandled concussion.

  • redsoxsuk1

    I thought our offense WAY underproduced last year and we just lost TONS of run production this off-season. I get we needed pitching, but what about scoring runs?? This defense is not the type that will allow us to win many 2-1 games so we better “step up to the plate” and fix it. Tex is almost a must!! If we don’t get him and allow the stinkies to get him we will be very sorry. Ths sox are also way down offensively and I do NOT want to see 30 HRs and 120+ RBIs go to that team for the next 8 years. So what if the “greatest team in the history of sport” looks like a gluton?? It’s all about winning, within the rules, and also about keeping the stinky sox down.

    Go yankees!!

  • MikeD

    It’s all about run differential. The addition of CC and AJ, and a full year of Wang and Joba, will help there. Defense is still an issue, and I think the Yankees recognize that. They are developing a pitching staff that misses bats. Pettitte suffered last year with that defense. He has the worse batting average with balls in play than any pitcher in MLB. I wonder how good Wang would be on a team that actually catch a ball.

    If the Yankees sign Texiera, it would solve two problems. Not only does our defense at 1B go up, but that would allow Swisher to go to rightfield, where he’s quite good. It’s his strongest position.

  • Bart

    I am a Yankee fan for 58 years. I watched the Mantle Berra, Howard, Kubek team go from WS to awful – nothing worked until Munson, Catfish, Jackson, Nettles – from the WS loss to the Reds to the WS loss to the Dodgers in 82 that was a good run — then doldrums again until the strike year and Mattingly. We are entering the 2009 season remembering the run that began that year under Showalter and the team that carried Joe Torre to managerial stardom. The Run ended in 2001 with the loss to the DBacks – not enough hitting, pretty solid pitching – thereafter never quite enough to get to the WS except for the Marlins — a less than potent or timely offense, less than stellar picthing by Wells, Pettit, Clemens, and a cast of hundreds. Evenn during the 4 championshios it took magic – the HRagainst the Braves, Jeffrey Maier, the backhand toss. Itis very hard to have the right pieces and have them perform at the right moment. The Yankess pieces are aging simultaneously.

    Williams aged, Brosius, O’Neil, Tino burned bright, aged and quit. Clemens and Pettit left the wera on them and the cost suspect – until panic reigned to bring them back. Johnson, Cone, Wells, Brown were used up. See the Packers, Bears, Braves, Celtics, Lakers as examoles in ther sports where teams aged simultaneously and the young parts and spare parts were not numerous enough to maintain the edge.

    The Yankees on offense and defense are less capable posiiton to position than they were in that awful 4 game choke to the “Bloody Sock”. Torre’s management failures notwithstanding they still lost.

    Statistically comparing this 2009 on paper to any past year is less than helpful – as an inury, a sub par year, a stellar year by a Yankee and by the opposition can have season altering impact. part of the excitement of the game — but having a team that renews itself is critical to sustained excellence. Effectively enewing 6 posiitons at one time is improbably. The Yankees did this once over a span of 4 years – with Williams, Mo, Pettit, Jeter, Posada when he finaly replaced Giradi – only 3 were posiiton players. There is no such set at posiiton in the minors

    I fully expect Matsui, Posada, Cano, Gardner to be better than last year. And wihtout an injury to a Wang, Sbbathia, or Burnett the team will be much better. And if they get a full productive season out of Sabbathia, Burnett, Wang, and Joba the short series rotation appears to be dominant.

    None of that hope or expectaion solves the aging problem. I argued last year that getting Santana (I still believe at the price of IPK, Melky, plus 2) was critical to getting the most out of the aging Offense while it was still potent, AND TO PROTECT Hughes from being pushed/too much expectation.

    We lost a year we might have lost anyway; saved the kids, kept a lid on payroll. But if that is meaningful it must be because it bolstered the long range plan for continuous solid attempts at WS championships. Sabbbathia and Burnett are pieces – the stocked Minor League pitching is a piece. Replacing the posiiton players is a necessity. It likley can’t be done at one time. The failure to take Beltran and mange the cots latter led to Johnny Damon – i actualy love him as a Ynakee – I even liked him as a Red Sox. Beltran was a solution and the superior player. Johnny was a stopgap made necessary by the Williams age-Beltran failure. Maybe Cashman has a blind spot. He had to be pushed to make the offer for ARod.

    Replacing Jeter, Posada, Nady, Matsui, Damon are near term (2009-2011)requirements — Jeter may be one more FB on the hand to being seriously hurt if not rendered as ineffective as he was for long stretches last year. Posada and Matsui we know the story. The game can’t be played without knees and shoulders. 2009 could be a miracle year – if those two seem to reaquire youth, folks wil flock to the ne stadium just to drink the water.

    Replacing the position players should not be left to be done at one time. Just as Beltran would have fixed CF for 8 years or more (he was a free agent), Texieria will fix 1B for 8 years or more. He won’t be available next year —
    who wil be the Damon panic solution after a year fo Bubba like production at 1B.

    The everyday player youth movment must begin in 2009 with one position a year filled – C, 1B, SS, CF, RF, LF – the guys in the Yankees minor leagues do not fit this pattern.

    Cano is one of those guys you need to trade. He is by baseball standards too old to learn the strike zone and to “have patience” – it is in your narture, your confidence to be able to be patient – trying to BE patient makes you slow and then twitchy — try it yourself even with a golf ball
    – to keep him the Yankes have to be satisfied with a sub.400 OBP and potential .300 plus BA — the only value in those numbers alone is if the hits are more prodcutive.
    He has had at fairly brilliant at bats climbing out of 0-2 counts – unquestionable talent dazzles – it is not always productive. Still he is above average 2B – so a trade has to bring above average something to fill a need
    – such a trade might be best for a Catcher – this is the hardest offense defense productive position to field. I don’t think you have to St Joe to work around an average 2B.

    Can the Yankees wait for Posada to fail or to be hurt again?

    That “trade” makes better sense if you first fill 1B with Tex.