Jan
18

The Yankees now will not be the Yankees later

By

As we pass the mid-January mark, most teams have the core of their 2010 roster in place. Only a few free agents remain, and other than a team adding Johnny Damon as a leadoff hitter or Joel Pineiro as a No. 3 starter, none figures to have a significant impact on a first-division team. The Yankees, as we’ve realized over the past three weeks, have little work left this off-season, leaving us to sit back and admire the roster Brian Cashman has assembled for 2010.

It’s hard not to like what the team offers. Some might not like Brett Gardner roaming left field, but with eight great to solid hitters ahead of him, and with Gardner bringing speed and defense to the table, the Yankees could do worse. I agree with ESPN’s Keith Law when he says, “I’m not a Gardner guy, never have been, but their offense is fine even if they put a pointed stick in left field (if the ball hits the stick, the batter is out).” He also notes that the Yankees will find alternatives, if need be, as the season moves along. But, if the No. 9 hitter who plays good defense is the only worry for this team, they have to be in a good spot.

Where they stand now, however, goes out the window once the season begins. At this point all we can do is analyze what we can expect from this group of players. We really have no idea what they will end up producing. Injuries and off-years can drag production down, while career years can boost the team. This captures the beauty of baseball. We have a reasonable idea of what players and teams can do, but once they start playing everything changes, and continues to change over the course of the team. The Yankees on April 4 won’t be the same team as they are to start Spring Training, and won’t be the same as the team they will be on July 1.

Buster Olney reminds us of this on his blog today, noting the common thoughts at this time last year.

A year ago, the conventional wisdom in baseball offices was that the Red Sox had the kind of starting pitching and overall pitching depth that should be envied, that the Rays’ trade for Matt Joyce was one of the best trades of the winter, and that the Tigers were a mess and couldn’t possibly compete in 2009.

For the most part, I believed all three points. While I didn’t go so far as to envy the Sox pitching staff, mainly because their depth consisted of recovering injury cases who had never pitched in the AL, I recognized they had a number of quality arms. Thinking, like many others, that Edwin Jackson’s 2008 was an aberration — he still walked too many and didn’t strike out enough — the Joyce trade looked like a win for the Rays. And I thought that the Tigers shouldn’t have started Rick Porcello in the majors because they didn’t have the pitching to compete. So what points do I believe now that will turn around once the season starts?

One point Olney lists, and with which I agree, is that the Yankees “have the best chance for repeating as champions since the dynasty Yankees.” I’m not so sure about that — the 2008 Red Sox looked like a strong enough team. But yes, the way things look now the Yankees surely lead the pack in terms of World Series favorites. How long they stay there depends on how close they stay to expectations. It means high production levels from older players, plus improving production from younger ones. It means staying healthy. It means standing strong against the ever-improving AL East.

Only the luckiest of the lucky teams go through a season without anything significant going wrong. I wouldn’t expect that for the 2010 Yankees. They’ll get their share of bad breaks, hopefully offsetting that with a few good breaks. But, while the Yankees deal with their issues, so will other teams. We can speak to the perils of a starting pitcher going down for the season, but other teams face the same risk and don’t have the Yankees’ depth to cover it up. That’s part of the game — sometimes the good breaks come in the form of another team’s misfortune.

I expect the world of this 2010 Yankees team. They’re well-built, with a strong and deep rotation alongside one of the best offenses in baseball. Things will change between now and October, of course, but so they will for the 29 other teams. As it stands, on January 19, I feel pretty damn good about this team. Don’t you?

Categories : Musings

200 Comments»

  1. Zack says:

    “As it stands, on January 19, I feel pretty damn good about this team. Don’t you?”

    Yes, if you don’t then you play way too many video games.
    We pick apart the Yankees WAY too much, while ignoring that they are still the best team in the league.

  2. Granderslam says:

    Agreed. You make some great points. I am very comfortable with the team we have right now. If Left Field turns out to be a problem, then the Yankees will fix it. I am not the biggest Gardner fan, but I have no problem with giving him a chance to see how he will produce in an everyday role. No matter what, we still have one of the scariest lineups in all of baseball and can no longer hear criticism regarding the defensive aspect of our game. I am looking forward to seeing how the team plays together.

  3. pete says:

    i love this team as it stands now. But things will certainly go wrong. I think we’re about as good as we were at this point last offseason, which is to say, a team that will win over 110 games if nothing goes wrong, which means a whole boatload of things have to go wrong for us not to make the playoffs. Last winter, we had the Godliness of a Swisher/Nady competition for RF and Bench, so our offense certainly lacks the depth that it had last year. That said, Javy is, while unlikely to be quite as good as good Wang can be, much closer to a guarantee, and with our offense, 200 innings of a 4.20 ERA is absolutely fine with me, and that’s a moderately conservative estimate of what he will bring. Our defense, however, should be about 30-40 runs better than last year. A-Rod, Tex, and Swish should be a little better than last year, Jeter a little worse, and Grandy/Gardy is a huge upgrade over Melky/Damon. Throw in that Joba should be better for longer (obviously not a guarantee, but it’s certainly not unreasonable to expect more innings and and an improved ERA from him) – not quite ace-like, but he should be a quality arm at the back of the rotation. Throw in Hughes for depth, and a strong bullpen once again, and we’ve got a groovy thing going. I’m excited. Anyone who isn’t either isn’t a yankees fan or is just an idiot.

    • MattG says:

      “a whole boatload of things have to go wrong for us not to make the playoffs”

      True in any division other than the AL East. Boston and Tampa both have realistic visions of 95 wins, and not all that much needs to happen for the Yankees to end up with ‘just’ 94.

      • pete says:

        That’s true. On the one hand, it is kind of annoying that we play in a division that is essentially on par with the talent level of the entire NL playoff crop, but it’s also much more rewarding. The “the yankees buy their championships” calls have a nice hollow ring to them when coming from AL central or NL team fans. It is certainly more fun to watch great baseball ALL the time.

  4. MattG says:

    If you can play defense and run the ball, you always have a chance.

    Wait, I…what were we talking about?

    This has been the perfect off-season. The deep October run, followed by the annual November/December flurry, followed by the deep post-season run by the Jets, and its almost pitchers and catchers already.

  5. pete says:

    also, while I don’t necessarily believe it significantly affects a team’s ability to succeed, the team once again appears to have improved on the “good guy”ness front. Granderson has a tremendous reputation as a person, Swish is Swish, CC is the man, and while melky has left, I still think this is a great group of guys. Again, probably won’t have much of an effect on the W-L record, but it’ll be a really fun team to watch once again.

  6. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    I would feel a ot better about the current roster if Gaudin, Mitre Logan and Hoffmann had options. I’m sure one r more of these guys won’t be on the final 25, so it really doesn’t matter.

    • Steve H says:

      I would feel better if Hoffman was the 5th OF. I think you can carry him all season as the 5th OF if you really see promise in him, and I’m hoping they’ll work out a trade with Mitre/Gaudin. Sign Tatis, push the Hoff to #5 and trade on of the Gaudin/Mitre duo.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

        Right now, the Yankees HAVE to sign another outfielder. They have 4 on the roster, with 2 of them being Gardner and Hoffmann. One injury to Swish or Granderson, and the Yanks are in Trouble (capital T for emphasis).

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

      You can feel 1/4 better, because Logan has an option. Can’t help you with the other three, though.

  7. radnom says:

    The Red Sox starting pitching “depth” was SO overrated last offseason I couldn’t stand it. A lot of things had to go wrong for it to blow up like it did, but it was damn satisfying considering how loopy everyone was getting before the season started.

    Consider this, Brad Penny was their 5th starter going into the offseason. They basically had 3 question marks (Penny, Smoltz, Buc) to fill one spot. While that isn’t the worst situation to have, its certainly not LEGENDARY PITCHING DEPTH. Add to that Dice-K getting hurt to start the season and you have 4 question marks to fill the last 2 spots, with Wakefield as the 3rd starter. That is an actively bad situation to be in to open the season, as you are counting on 50% success rate with those guys.

    • Zack says:

      Dude, did you forget or something? Penny was worth a Smoak-like bat

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      But they could easily win more games than CC and AJ combined!

      /Pearlman’d

      • radnom says:

        Oh my god, I forgot about that shit. People WERE comparing the Smoltz/Penny signing to CC/AJ, arguing that the former was a much better value. hahahaha

        • pete says:

          In a vacuum, $423 million for three players looks like a bad deal. But when those three players are 28 year old Mark Teixeira, 28 year old CC Sabathia, and 32 year old AJ Burnett (the only deal that is really not favorable to the yankees, and even it is unlikely to become an albatross), it starts to look like a much better value. Paying more for quality is always better than paying less for crap.

          • radnom says:

            Well I think the point at the time was that the Smoltz/Penny combination was going to provide only slightly less production than counterparts CC/AJ, at a much lower rate.

            • pete says:

              were people actually saying that?? that’s insane…CC was arguably the best pitcher in baseball at this point last year and AJ, while inconsistent, and prone to the 22 start season, has consistently put up season ERAs between 3.5 and 4.5 for a while. Results-wise, neither Penny nor Smoltz had a chance of being anywhere near Sabathia, and while I can understand thinking that Smoltz would put up comparable numbers, he was likely to pitch even fewer innings than AJ would if he were to get one of his standard minor injuries. I highly doubt anyone with any baseball intelligence whatsoever would even have considered the comparison reasonable – the Yanks were getting starters #1 and #2, while the sox were getting #s 5 and 6. And considering the production they got out of those guys, it really wasn’t a good value at all.

    • pete says:

      completely agree. They kept saying “low risk high reward” but the fact is they were depending on those guys to produce, so there was absolutely a risk. Even now, they’ve got an excellent rotation, but anyone who thinks it’s legitimately better than the yanks is just blind to how much of a risk John Lackey is. Not only has he been spectacularly injury-prone the last 3 years, but his stuff has been declining and his results have been declining right along with it. I would be very surprised if he significantly outpitches any of the yanks 2-4 guys, and to be honest, wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Joba be every bit the pitcher he is this year.

      • radnom says:

        Eh, I don’t see Lackey as that big of a risk. He has averaged 190 IP over those last three years, although that number has been declining each year. To say you would be surprised if he outpitches Pettite is a bit of a stretch. I think they have a comparable if not slight edge in rotation (1-5) on the Yankees this year, but I like the Yankees depth much better. Its close enough that it will all come down to which team’s pitchers stay the most healthy over the course of the season.

        • pete says:

          oh sorry forgot about pettitte for some reason. I fully expect him to be the yanks de facto #5 by the end of the year, though.

          • radnom says:


            I fully expect him to be the yanks de facto #5 by the end of the year, though.

            I thought so last year, but he pitched better than I expected and Joba really fell apart towards the end. I’m hopeful for this season.

        • Zack says:

          “has averaged 190 IP over those last three years”

          2007: 224.0 IP
          2008: 163.1 IP
          2009: 176.1 IP

          He was fine in 2007, but the last 2 years he’s had an elbow issue. Saying he provided 190 IP on average over teh last 3 years is fudging the numbers IMO

          • radnom says:

            I mentioned that -

            “He has averaged 190 IP over those last three years, although that number has been declining each year.”

            To say those three seasons have been injury disasters is a stretch. As a 3rd starter, I think the Sox will be happy if Lackey puts up anything north of 160 innings.

            • Zack says:

              Correct, the last 2 seasons he has faced injuries.

              Happy with 160 IP from him? Why?

              • radnom says:

                Thats not terrible for a third starter which I’m presuming Lackey is in that rotation. Noones rotation consists of 5 guys all throwing 200 innings.

                • Zack says:

                  When you gave him 80m yes it is terrible.
                  That means they would need to fill 6-8 starts just for Lackey.

                • radnom says:

                  It wouldn’t be ideal, but the Sox wouldn’t cry over it.

                  1 – 210
                  2 – 190
                  3 – 160
                  4 – 150
                  5 – 150

                  Thats pretty conservative, and would be a very healthy of innings of a 1-5 of a pitching staff.

                • Zack says:

                  I disagree but alright. Already feel that Wake and DiceK are huge question marks, along with Beckett’s injury history, that if you only get 160IP from Lackey then they wont see the playoffs. IMO

          • Steve H says:

            Yeah, he’s averaged 199 over the last 7 seasons. Why I care about how many innings he pitched in 2003 is beyond me. He’s 31 and has averaged 170 over the past two. He’s not injury prone per se, but he’s not a sure thing for 190+ innings by any means.

        • vin says:

          I agree.

          1-3: I give the edge to Boston
          1-5: I think is a push
          1-9: Edge goes to NYY.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

      Actually, the Red Sox DID have great depth. It was this depth that stopped them from going down the toilet when Beckett, Wakefield, and Dice-k went down. Plus the Penny-Smoltz stinkiness

      Think about it. Buccholz did well. Lester stepped up and becme a number one. Beckett came back from injury and did a decent job. Dice-K came back and didn’t embarass himself.

      All things considered, that depth helped them A LOT.

      • radnom says:

        See I disagree a lot. I think they were not set up nearly as well as people thought going into the season. They were ok, but the fact that Tazawa was starting late in the year was just a little surprising, not a massive breakdown.

        1. Beckett didn’t miss much time, he still pitched a full season.
        2. Lester didn’t “step up” and become a number one, if anything he had a slightly worse year than the year previous (when he did become a number one).
        3. Dice-K came back and had a couple of starts at the end of the year. Hardly a significant contribution in terms of the whole season.

        Yeah, Buccholz did eventually do well. The doesn’t change the fact that after Dice-K was injured pitching for Japan, the Red Sox went into last season hoping for Penny/Smoltz/Dice-K/Buccolz to fill the last two rotation spots. In addition to that, Tim Wakefield (who sustains an injury every season now) was counted on for one of the other rotation spots. The fact that only one of those 4 worked out isn’t surprising, and neither is the fact that Wakefield got hurt. And this is just talking about spots 1-5. It could have worked out better than it did, but I really think their depth is largely a myth.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

          Well, they made the playoffs with 95 wins.

          Beckett being mostly healthy actually helps make my point. You’re right, my bad. Lester didn’t “step up”. He was still a number one.

          Dice-k was hurt and pitched poorly but he did come back and do fairlywell. Wakefield didn’t miss THAT much time. He still pitched pretty well.

          And Buccholz pitching well is a hue deal. That was very important for the Sox.

          By the time the playoffs had come around pretty much everybody in their rotation was pitching pretty well. Sure they got swept but it happens, I still think the Sox were better than the Angels actually.

          If they HADN’T had depth, they could have been in huge trouble.

          • radnom says:


            If they HADN’T had depth, they could have been in huge trouble.

            No, if they didn’t have Beckett/Lester fronting the rotation all season and the second highest scoring offense in baseball the could have been in huge trouble.

            The truth that they went into the season with average (below average after Dice-K was hurt) starting pitching depth was quickly exposed by just a few things not going their way.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

              Yeah, but that IS depth…despite having things go wrong, that front end oftheir rotation still managed to get the Sox a respectable pitching staff…and remember, Buccholz stepped up. He even pitched decently in the playoffs. He even pitched well vs. the YANKEES…that’s very important.

              • radnom says:

                They managed to keep in the Sox in the playoffs, but they were still throwing junk out there at some points. Did you consider the Yankees to have a respectable pitching staff in 08 when the front end was pitching well enough to get them to 89 wins but Rasner and Ponson were pitching every 5 days?

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

                  We only had 89 wins.

                • radnom says:

                  The front of “our” rotation wasn’t as strong. As many people have mentioned, you seem to have a different definition of depth as everyone else.

                  What I was trying to illustrate is that having to rely on your top two/three guys (and the Sox had only 2 for a big stretch there in 2009 before Buchholz started producing) and throwing out randoms the rest of the time, while it can still be ok, indicates that the teams depth failed them.

                • Zack says:

                  2009 Boston Rotation ERA: 4.63
                  2008 Yankees Rotation ERA: 4.58

                  Imagine if we had Lester too.

              • radnom says:

                I think you just have a different definition of depth than the rest of us.

      • Zack says:

        Byrd: 5.82 era
        Tazawa: 7.46 era
        Smoltz: 8.32 era
        Penny: 5.61 era
        —————–
        Ponson: 5.85 era
        Rasner: 5.40 era
        Pavano: 5.77 era

        Did yankees have “great depth” in 2008 too? Nope, they just had crappy pitchers, which is what Boston had in 2009.

        • Steve H says:

          Yeah, by those measures every team in history has depth. Even if your top 5 starters got hurt, you’d still have a starting pitcher every game, right? That does not constitute depth. The definition of depth when describing a rotation has to include some sort of “quality” aspect. The Sox were perceived to have great depth last year, they in fact, did not.

        • radnom says:

          Additionally, none of those guys you listed were in the Yankees opening day rotation. The same can not be said for Boston.

      • AndrewYF says:

        That wasn’t their depth, that was their pitching staff. The front-end of their pitching staff was very good with Beckett and Lester, and that’s what prevented them from blowing up when their ‘depth’ completely failed them. Smoltz, Penny, Bowden, etc, all the guys who everyone was for some reason expecting to put up around 4 FIP all completely blew.

        Now, the talk is that Casey Kelly will probably be ready midseason for a callup, so they have zero pitching problems. Plus, they can just trade for Felix Hernandez/Adrian Gonzalez whenever Theo decides he wants to give up Westmoreland, that wily prospect-hoarder! It’s starting again. Nobody learns their lesson.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

          But that IS depth…despite injuries, their pitching staff really wasn’t bad at all.

          • AndrewYF says:

            No, that’s NOT depth. Their FRONT-LINE talent was really good, and that’s what carried them. Their back-end starters were completely horrible. They had zero viable starting pitchers beyond their front four, and Buchholz only excelled when he pitched against teams that had nothing to play for, and Wakefield is Wakefield. That’s called having front-end talent, not having depth. Believe me, I’ll take front-end talent over depth any day of the week, but it doesn’t make the analysis in any way more correct.

            Their pitching staff didn’t really have many injuries. The only guy who missed time that wasn’t expected to was Dice-K. Beckett missed a couple starts, as he always does. Wakefield figured out he was 43, but that’s about it. No one else had injuries. Let’s not try and play the “they would have been awesome if not for” game, because we can play that with every team in the major leagues, and it’s completely meaningless analysis. Well, except for the Pirates and Nationals. They had no hope.

            • Reggie C. says:

              Buchholz is at least as good as Joba. Is Joba regarded as a fine option for the back-end of a championship rotation? Yes. Buchholz should have no trouble matching Joba’s peripherals.

              • radnom says:

                The problem with that is that going into last season Buchholz was less proven at the ML level. 2010 Buchholz comes with a level of assurance not matched by 2009 Buchholz. He worked out fine, the problem was that he was the only one.

        • Tom Zig says:

          Yikes…people are really saying that about Kelly?

          • AndrewYF says:

            I’m pretty sure Gammons said that, or at least he said “several Boston officials expect” in order to try and cover his ass. Surprise surprise, right?

        • Reggie C. says:

          I highly doubt the Red Sox would push kelly that hard and fast.

  8. Mister Delaware says:

    One point Olney lists, and with which I agree, is that the Yankees “have the best chance for repeating as champions since the dynasty Yankees.”

    Doesn’t that point have to be true? No one has repeat since the Dynasty Yanks and only the Yanks can repeat this season.

    • radnom says:

      I think he means the Yankees have a better chance of repeating than any other defending champion has had since 2000.

      In other words, the 2010 Yankees are a better team than the 2002 Diamondbacks, the 2003 Angles, the 2004 Marlins etc…

      • Mister Delaware says:

        I’m sure that’s what he means but (1) it’s phrased poorly and (2) it’s an incredibly stupid point to make given that we already know no other team has repeated.

        • radnom says:

          I agree with (1), but why is it an “incredibly stupid point”? Just because none of those teams repeated doesn’t mean they were all terrible, or that none of them were the favorites to win it all again the next season. It is very hard to win the world series, even if you are the best team in baseball on April 1st.

          • Mister Delaware says:

            If I said “in 2010, Lincecum has the best chance to win 3 consecutive Cy Young Awards of any pitcher since Randy Johnson”, wouldn’t you say “no shit, he’s the only one with a chance”? If he wanted to say “they return a better roster than any champion since the Dynasty Yankees”, say that. “Best chance for repeating” is assinine in thought and phrasing.

            • radnom says:

              Why are you arguing with me about phrasing? I agreed that it was awkward how he said it.


              If he wanted to say “they return a better roster than any champion since the Dynasty Yankees”, say that.

              That is what he meant, and you still have not put forth a good explanation of why this is “an incredibly stupid point to make”, which is what I disagreed with. In fact, I’m not even sure you understand why you think so, because in support, you mention the fact that none of the previous teams repeated. This has no bearing on whether or not the 2010 Yankees are stronger then them or not.

    • pete says:

      true. there is a 0% chance that any team from the past decade repeats other than the yanks.

  9. Doug says:

    “It means staying healthy.”

    +1

    if they stay as healthy this year as last year, can’t help but contend again

  10. Eric Von Stein says:

    In THIS division, I’m sorry, this team is no better than a 3rd place team.

    Red Sox and Rays both feature better rotations, better bullpens, better defenses, and line ups that are pretty even with each other. 2009 was an abberation. 2008 is going to be the trend.

    • radnom says:

      Troll, I’m sure.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      Good one, Eric.

    • Steve H says:

      I’m Ron Burgundy?

    • Zack says:

      :points:

      ha-ha

    • Rose says:

      The Yankees rotation is comparable or even arguably better than the Red Sox rotation…and most certainly better than the Rays rotation (on paper, as it stands right now). Boston’s defense is certainly better than the Yankees…but their offense is significantly worse…and Cameron has that triangle outfield to play while Jacoby has never played LF with the wall. JD Drew will play on his own terms and Marco Scutaro, IMO, was a flash in the pan.

      They certainly have a great team…but this Yankees team is far superior to the others.

      Would you rather be an inch thick and a mile deep? Or a mile thick and a 1/2 a mile deep?

      I’ll take the latter.

      • Eric Von Stein says:

        “Their offense is significantly worse”

        How?

        • For Lack of a More Creative Name.. Alex says:

          How?
          Because the Yankees’ hitters are quite a bit better than the Red Sox’ hitters. No further explanation is even needed..

        • Rose says:

          Offense wise:

          1B: Tex > Youk > Pena
          2B: Cano = Pedroia > Zobrist (SSS success)
          3B: Arod = Longoria > Beltre
          SS: Jeter > Bartlett > Scutaro
          RF: Swisher = JD Drew > Gross
          CF: Granderson > Cameron = BJ Upton
          LF: Crawford > Ellsbury > Gardner (SSS)
          C: Martinez (slightly) > Posada > Shoppach
          DH: Johnson (if healthy) > Ortiz (lately) > Burrell

          IMO anyway. You can have the overly ridiculous “Red Sox are better than everybody regardless of anything!” thing going on…in which I shouldn’t have even bothered with you in the first place…

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

            A-Rod is > than Longoria.

            • Rose says:

              I personally agree with you…but Longoria is younger and has been pretty nasty…I didn’t want to spark up a big shpeel I guess. But I should have put Arod > Longoria…you’re right. And I personally believe Cano is > than Pedroia too…but to avoid arguments…I left it the way it was.

          • Rose says:

            Oh yeah, and because the Yankees can crush teams at Home and on the Road…while the Red Sox have been tailored to only be able to perform at Home…and struggle mightily on the Road.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      If only Bo was this funny…

    • pat says:

      Hahahaha. Stupid troll is stupid.

    • Eric Von Stein says:

      Fucking Homers.

      Ah yes, the Yanks rotation > Rays. Hey, how about you SUPPORT THAT THESIS?

      CC > Shields
      Burnett < Garza
      Pettitte Price (though that’ll change by October)
      Hughes/Joba < Davis.

      And the Rays bullpen is unbelievable.

      Tools.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

        Anytime you have Grant Ballfour in your bullpen, you can’t call it unbelievable.

      • Steve H says:

        Were you in a coma in 2009?

      • Reggie C. says:

        I think Garza is going to have a breakout 2010 season and by season end will surpass Josh Beckett as the division’s best starting RHP.

      • For Lack of a More Creative Name.. Alex says:

        *Cough* We traded for Vazquez. *Cough Cough*

      • Chris says:

        In 2009, the Rays allowed 754 runs, while the Yankees allowed 753 (Red Sox allowed 736). In the offseason, the Yankees added Vazquez to replace CMW/Mitre/Whoever in the rotation. That’s a significant upgrade. The Rays haven’t made any similar changes. I don’t see why they would suddenly get significantly better without any changes to the rotation.

        • JAG says:

          The Rays did lose Kazmir, which probably affects some of that runs-allowed stat, and replaced him with Wade Davis, who, while possibly comparable in skill, may have some growing to do in the majors. So, while they did add Rafael Soriano to secure the back end of the bullpen, I agree that they haven’t done enough to keep up with the Yankees (who not only upgraded with Vazquez but also jettisoned Brian Bruney, who was mediocre last year).

          -JM

      • pete says:

        to say that hughes/joba < Davis is ridiculous at this point. Look the rays rotation has HUGE upside, but it's not at all a given. They could end up with eight #2/3 starter types at the end of the year. They could also end up with three #2/3s and five #5/6s. The yankees have a much more proven staff, a far better offense, and while their defense isn't quite as good as the rays or the red sox, it is still above average. They also have a superior bullpen (according to actual statistics, not "You're a homer" logic) to both of those teams. The yankees have shored up their rotation from last year. They have replaced their DH and LF with hitters of comparable productivity (Johnson and Granderson), and improved their defense. In other words, they are better than they were last year. The red sox have improved their defense while weakening their offense, improved their rotation, and done nothing about their bullpen, which was something of a question mark at the end of last season. The Rays have done nothing but add Rafael Soriano to their bullpen, giving them yet another inconsistent middle reliever, only this time it's someone with a big name, and therefore owed much more money than his production can be had for (MLB minimum-making David Robertson has a very fair shot to outproduce him in the bullpen this year, and he is likely the yanks' 3rd best bullpen arm). So let's take a look:

        Yankees: significantly upgraded from 103 game winning 2009 version
        Red sox: slightly less significantly upgraded from 95 game winning 2009 version
        Rays: barely upgraded from 84 game winning 2009 version, banking WAY too much on big years from multiple unproven arms on their staff.

        Could the Rays potentially overtake the yankees on the strength of rotation depth? Yes. Could the Red Sox capitalize on a few big injuries to the yanks and overtake them? Yes. Could the Orioles see a huge offensive boost from more experienced Weiters and Jones and surprise everyone by contending? yes. But all of those are FAR less likely than the team that is right now the best on paper in the division playing like it is the best in the division.

    • Eruderic says:

      You’re pathetic.

    • pete says:

      Yankees Strengths: best offense in baseball, above average defense, true Ace, 3 reliable veterans, 2 promising young starters one of whom is ready to be unleashed sans innings limits, very good bullpen
      Yankees Weaknesses: #9 hitter.

      Sox Strengths: very good defense, true Ace, very strong overall rotation, decent offense
      Sox Weaknesses: #6/7/8/9 hitters, no true offensive star to carry the weak bottom of the lineup, many bullpen question marks

      Rays Strengths: very good defense, exceptional starting depth
      Rays Weaknesses: no true ace (yet), average offense, many bullpen question marks

      seems pretty clear to me…

  11. mryankee says:

    I really think people way over rate John Lackey am I worong or has his stuff been in decline for like 4 years now. I will say eh is a tough comptetitor and good playoff pitcher but I donot think he will get any better?

    • Rose says:

      He’s a very good pitcher…but he did make his living feasting primarily off of the mediocre-to-really-bad AL West for the majority of his games.

      The only thing I don’t like…is that Josh Beckett is going to go out there with something to prove in the last year of his contract…and it’s that he’s worth a lot more than John Lackey.

      That’s the only thing I don’t like. But I also hope he tries too hard…overperforms…and gets hurt too.

      • mryankee says:

        I also think Beckett’s stuff is declining look at how he pitched at the end of the year(2009) he was getting crushed. Now I do think their rotation as a hole is very good but if the Yankees and Sox have equal rotations then offensively the Yanks should pound the Sox and in the bullpen I would say its relatively equal if Bard lives up to expectations.

        • Rose says:

          WEEI talked about this a few weeks ago…they talked about the difference is going to be between the Yankees being able to hit good-pitching…while the Red Sox won’t be able to…nearly as well anyway. I wasn’t quite sure if they were talking about the full season in general…or if the Yankees and Red Sox went up against each other head to head.

          • mryankee says:

            To me the key is whether Hoyer hands the Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez. I would hope by the time he decied to move Gonzalez there will be 6-7 teams making offers. I think that is something to be watched. Though I could not imagine moving Gonzalez for anything less than Kelly, Ellsbury, Bucholz and Bard.

          • Steve H says:

            I’m pretty sure they were talking about full season, as the Sox were exposed in the playoffs. The gist was that, yeah they had great offensive numbers, but a lot of that was compiled against the weaklings of the league. Look at Big Papi, he ended up with 28 and 99, but at no point was anyone thinking a good pitcher wasn’t going to get him out.

            • mryankee says:

              Thier lineup is weak in my opinion aside from Pedroia, Vmart and Youk. I think this is a lineup that can be pitched to and beaten. How much effect will Ellsbury have in left field at Fenway? If there was a year for the Yankees to bury the Sox early this is the year.

              • JobaWockeeZ says:

                Disagree. The 2010 Red Sox >>> 2009 Red Sox

                • mryankee says:

                  How do you figure that?

                • Rose says:

                  In 2009 they were in disarray so-to-speak. A lot of hoping. Hoped Ortiz would come back to form. Hoped Jed Lowrie was the SS of the future. Assumed Pedroia would stay at the same pace he was the previous 2 years. Hoped Lowell would be back to normal. Hoped their critically acclaimed “pitching depth” was exactly what everybody was saying about it.

                  And unfortunately…those hopes weren’t nearly as accurate as their hopes for this season.

                • Steve H says:

                  Defense and pitching.

                • Rose says:

                  Well, to be fair…we have no idea about this year at all yet…so I shouldn’t have exactly said that.

                • JobaWockeeZ says:

                  What Steve H said. Improved pitching that doesn’t rely on almighty depth. Pitching that will improve even more with the increased defense. Sox went from one of the worst defensive teams to one of the best.

                  Offense took a hit but their run differential should be greater this year.

                  They’ll be tougher.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      He’s a bulldog, A BULLDOG, I tells ya.

  12. Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

    Just like last year, whoever wins the division will be the healthiest. I pick the Yanks due to depth.

    • Rose says:

      Our depth isn’t THAT great though. If somebody goes down (other than Gardner)…it won’t be a seemless substitute. It will be SIGNIFICANTLY worse. But we always have the resources to go out and plug the hole…however Cashman feels though.

      Right now, if Arod or anybody goes down…Pena takes his place…and we all know how that was last year. Yeesh.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

        First of all, A-Rod being out was not why the team did bad. The offense still scored plenty, it was the pitching staff that was the issue. And remember that when A-Rod came back Tex also picked it up.

        Sure it’ll be significantly worse, but the thing is significantly worse with our team is still pretty damn good. Not sure if you could say that about the Sox or Rays.

        • Rose says:

          I guess if all 3 teams have similar injuries all at the same time?

          Yes, the Yankees would have the most depth and be better off. But the Yankees depth isn’t so good where it will keep us in line with the other teams if they all remain healthy while we have an injury or two.

          But yes, we’ll still have a good team…but the AL East is certainly different.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

            All the teams will have injuries. The Ynkees will be able to handle it the best.

      • Eruderic says:

        Which is why Damon makes a ton of sense, still.

  13. Jai says:

    Health is the issue here. I think it’s safe to assume one or more starters will go down with injuries for an extended period (read: Burnett and/or Pettitte) which is why PITCHING (not every-day player) depth is most important.

    • mryankee says:

      Maybe signing Sheets would not be a bad thought.

      • Tom Zig says:

        Pitching we have, we just need more outfielders.

        • Reggie C. says:

          Yep. Would be awesome if the farm could create starting caliber OF options within a couple seasons so to avoid overpaying Crawford or Werth.

          • Reggie C. says:

            I wonder if David Adams could be successfully converted to a corner OF. He’s starting off in Double-A (i think), which isn’t aggressive considering he’s a college draftee, 22 years of age, and handled High-A pitching well.

      • JAG says:

        Ben Sheets is just as liable to be injured, if not more so, than Burnett or Pettitte. It’s not like we can just automatically count on him to pick up the slack if one of them goes down. Sure, he MIGHT be the excellent pitcher he was in Milwaukee. But, he could also be the frequently injured pitcher he…also was in Milwaukee. I see nothing that gives me any faith that he can be relied upon. He would just make our other pitching depth options like Hughes and possibly McCallister or others more important.

        -JM

  14. mryankee says:

    I also think Joba has to step up, no more excuses, mo more babying he needs to step up and throw the ball with some velocity and be the pitcher he can be.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      He will step up. There wasn’t any excuses. And he wasn’t babied.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

        WEREN’T any excuses

        /Grammar Nazi’d

      • mryankee says:

        He was babied I mean come one the two and three innings outings late in the year were foolish. I do not think developing a pitshcer should be that complicated. Every other team in baseball seems to be able to handle their young pitchers for the most part. Ever heard of “Lincecum rules”? or “Josh Johnson rules” etc

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

          Maybe Josh Johnson should have had some “rules” on him.

        • Steve H says:

          Ever hear of the Johan Santana rules, or Nolan Ryan rules?

        • JobaWockeeZ says:

          Tim Linecum First Full Season of Starting Innings Total: 146.1
          Josh Johnson First Full Season of Starting Innings Total: 157
          Joba Chamberlain First Full Season of Starting Innings Total: 157.1 EXCLUDING PLAYOFFS

          So this means…TIM LICNEUCM AND JOSH JOHNSON ARE BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • 28 next year says:

          plus, if you didn’t want Joba to be babied, he would still be in the minors. A lot of the other guys threw a lot of innings in the minors. Joba didn’t even spend an entire year in teh minors. How does one go from 100 innings in college to 200 in the majors without some steps in between. Get your head checked.

        • pete says:

          the yankees mishandled their priorities with joba. The public love affair with him following 2007 forced them to keep him in the Majors, which forced them to use unconventional methods of starter development like beginning the year in the bullpen. Then in 2009, as the year wound down, the lack of a quality 4th starter forced them to try to keep the option of chamberlain open for the playoffs. Had Wang been Wang, Joba simply would have pitched to his limit, then been shut down. The problem was of course that Joba completely fell apart at the end of the season and so was unavailable in the playoffs because he simply wasn’t good enough at that point, making the whole process seem pointless, when in fact it wasn’t. It didn’t work out, but it was a creative approach to a problem. I’d rather that be our front office’s meme than “just let the kid pitch 200 innings, what could possibly go wrong?”

  15. Mo says:

    I loved the Granderson move, I think he will be a great Yankee. Vazquez was a shrewd move by Cashman acquiring a better pitcher for one year for less than lesser FA starters were asking but forgive me if it’s difficult to truly excited about welcoming Game 7 Javy back to the Bronx. Also, I’m not crazy about the oft-injured on-base machine Nick Johnson, I think it’s a crapshoot as to who has the most productive 2010 Johnson, Matsui, Vlad, all for similar contracts. Bruney, Coke, Dunn all dealt. Gardner in LF.

    I predict the Yanks will spend most of the summer looking for a bat and a bullpen arm or two and that is without catastrophic injuries.

    Capps, Cust, Valverde, Duchsherer were all had for bargain contracts.

    • Zack says:

      Valverde- 2yr/14m is a bargain for a setup guy? + give up a 1st round pick? no.
      Capps- 3.5m, probably wanted a chance to close and rebuild his value
      Cust- not an OF option
      Duchsherer- same with Capps, probably wanted a chance to start and rebuild his value

      • Reggie C. says:

        Valverde cost the Tigers the 20th pick in the first round. I think the Tigers could’ve added another high-priced, high-ceiling High Schooler with that pick. Tells us the team intends to compete in a weak division.

      • Steve H says:

        All of this, and like with Capps, Valverde would not have taken 2/$14 to be a setup man. And from the Yankees perspective, it would have been asinine to even offer it.

  16. Mo says:

    Valverde to pitch 8th, save 10 games to save Mo for October and as insurance for Mo, yes that contract is a bargain. But even if not for the Yanks, the contract remains a bargain. Draft pick? I could care less, for every Hughes, Joba they drafted a Duncan, Henry and I’m not holding my breath for Heathcott either.

    All I hear about is UZR/150 and Cust then I read Yanks could win with a wooden stake in LF. C’mon, which is it?

    When Damon signs for some one year 5 mil contract with some other team I’m going to be furious.

    Capps, is closing in Washington more attractive than setting up in NY.

    • Steve H says:

      Valverde and Capps were aquired as closers. They, like the rest of us, want to make more money. They have that ability to make more money (now and in the future) by closing. Valverde to the Yankees made zero sense for either party. As far as saving Mo for October, have you been paying any attention? Has Mo’s struggles in October made you think he’s been overworked in the regular season?

      • Mo says:

        Whoa, Mariano is my all-time favorite Yankee. I worry about protecting his longevity, effectiveness and legacy. I hope Rivera does not struggle before he retires but rides off into the sunset on top. Like O’Neill and Mussina did.

    • Zack says:

      Again, it’s not a bargain to have a 7m set up man. Especially when it prevents you from making other moves later in the season.
      Ok you dont like draft picks fine, at least you’re honest about ignoring a major part of building a team.

      Cust is what a marginal upgrade over Gardner, helps the offense but also hurts the defense alot. You’re mad about not signing Cust?

      Be furious if you want; you have no way of knowing if Damon would swallow his pride and return to the Yankees for 1yr/5m.

      Yes it is. Closers have short windows for being effective and being paid. It’s in his best interest to set up his family financially to take the money, rebuild his stock and get paid again.

      • Mo says:

        Not to mention, signing these draft picks is expensive and loaded with risk. Especially, in the second half of the first round.

          • Zack says:

            1. Using 1 guy as an example doesnt make a good case
            2. I’d rather take a chance on Brackman or something and strike big, than give Valverde 14m to be my set up man when I already have DRob, Marte, and Joba or Hughes to do that.

            • Mo says:

              Brackman, Duncan, Henry, Heathcott.

              another way to put it is to name the good examples Jeter, Hughes, Joba

              My point with Brackman is not even som much the failure its the signing bonus for failure.

              I wouldn’t be taking chances in the 1st few rounds for big signing bonuses. I would spend on proven, experienced, age 32 and under, Major League commodities.

              • Zack says:

                “I wouldn’t be taking chances in the 1st few rounds for big signing bonuses. I would spend on proven, experienced, age 32 and under, Major League commodities.”

                I wouldnt let draft picks get in the way of AJ, CC, Tex or future TOP FAs. But Valverde? Yes. 2yr/14m to Valverde is even dumb without the draft pick issue.

                If you’re willing to throw away draft picks for guys like Valverde then your team is going to suck; you cant build just through FA. You cant even make good trades if you do not focus on the draft.

                • Mo says:

                  Didn’t Atlanta “throw away” a draft pick to sign BIlly Wagner? So they are dumb, and Baltimore and Detroit all dumb front office managers that don’t appreciate the value of a draft pick for a RP?

                • Zack says:

                  Yes the Braves were dumb for giving up a draft pick for a 38 year old coming off of TJS and giving him 7m, should have just kept Rafael Soriano.

                  Yes Baltimore and Detriot were dumb as well. That draft pick the O’s gave up would more likely help them compete in teh future than Mike Gonzalez. They will finish 4/5 place with or without Mike Gonzalez.

    • For Lack of a More Creative Name.. Alex says:

      $14 million+draft pick is a bad deal for a reliever, especially with one of Hughes/Joba, Marte, Robertson, Ace etc. already in the bullpen.

      Just because they could win with a wooden stake in left doesn’t mean they should put a wooden stake out there, which is essentially what Cust provides on defense.

      Closing is probably more attractive for Capps anywhere, as it would lead to more $ next year. You can’t hold the idea that every player wants to play for the Yanks at any cost to their playing time/value.

  17. Mo says:

    ” I agree with ESPN’s Keith Law when he says, “I’m not a Gardner guy, never have been, but their offense is fine even if they put a pointed stick in left field (if the ball hits the stick, the batter is out).”

    what is the UZR of this stick?

  18. Mo says:

    When these players sign for these prices let me know if the Yanks have any use for them
    All 1 year contracts

    Johnny/5.5 m
    Sheets/ 4.5 + incentives
    O Hudson/3
    Russell Branyan/2
    Ryan Garko/2
    Felipe Lopez/2.5
    Jose Molina/ ML contract
    Adam Kennedy/2
    Erik Bedard/3 + incentives
    Kiko Calero, Kevin Gregg, Mike MacDougal 2m or less

    • Steve H says:

      How many rosters spots are the Yankees allowed?

    • Zack says:

      1. Again you dont know Damon would accept that paycut to come back
      2. Sheets and Bedard will get more than that from someone.
      3. Where would you play Hudson/Lopez/Kennedy?
      4. Where would you play Branyan/Garko?
      5. You’re worried about Jose Molina?
      6. MacDougal sucks. Gregg is not good. Kiko is not going to make or break this team

      • Mo says:

        1. he’s going to have to accept his pay cut somewhere
        2. Maybe Maybe not
        3. UTIL, LF…. same as Hairston
        4. 1b, LF, DH, PH… same as Hinkse
        5. worried? no. interested on a minor league contract? yes.
        6. No, but they will sign for slightly more than Brain Bruney’s contract (1.6-1.8) they’re probably better than him.

        • Zack says:

          1. Doesnt mean he’ll swallow his pride and crawl back to the Yankees.
          2. Ok so how can you be all mad.
          3. Why would Hudson/Lopez accept UTL role? They’re just like Capps and Duchsherer, they want playing time to build value and get paid next offseason
          4. Same thing with the other guys, those guys want playing time.
          5. Jose Molian, why the hell did you even bring him up? That’s like saying we want Cody Ransom on a minor league deal, I’ll take anyone on a minor league deal.
          6. A lot of guys are better than Bruney. Those 3 guys would be behind Mo, Drob, Marte, Hughes/Joba and Ace. That makes them the 5th option out of the bullpen. If they sign any of those Kiko for cheap then fine, but those guys are going to go to bad teams so they are higher on the depth chart so they again have a chance to get meaningful innings and rebuild value.

          • Mo says:

            Your points are fair. I’m only saying let’s not ignore bargains now and have to overpay in a trade for LYLE OVERBAY, BRONSON ARROYO OR JASON FRASOR in JULY

            • Steve H says:

              But where do you put these bargains? And why would you have to overpay in a trade? Did they overpay for Hinske and Hairston this year? Those guys are a dime a dozen at the deadline and cost just about nothing. The small market teams they are with have zero use for a veteran guy like that in July whose contract is up after the season.

            • Zack says:

              Who is saying Yankees should go after those 3? Cashman isnt stupid.

              Why wouldnt you just trade for those guys you mentioned mid-season if necessary? You can just sign guys just because they’re available.

              Sure you can sign Sheets. Then you have Joba and Hughes in the bullpen. But if a SP goes down, you cannot magically turn to Joba or Hughes and have them start for you. You need flexibility. I like our starting 5, if there is a major injury Cashman will look for a replacement.

        • Steve H says:

          /scratches head

        • scott says:

          Year by year, the Yankees get younger. Next year they address catcher and who knows what else. This is good. Currently, the winter moves look good. I think Granderson and Swisher may strike out a lot. We Yankees fans will miss Matsui and Damon. But you have to change for the future, and that is what we are witnessing. Of course if Tabata becomes a superstar I won’t feel as positive about all of the moves over the last couple of years.

  19. aj says:

    2010 yanks look as good as kourtney kardashian. We’ll see in the season if they turn into a Kim.

  20. Mo says:

    Game 2 2009 WS is on MLBN right now. Damon, Melky, Hairston, Molina, Matsui all starting! Wow! 5 of 9 all gone!

    • Steve H says:

      Yes, Hairston and Molina were key contributors to that title. Gardner replaces Melky, Granderson replaces Damon, Johnson replaces Matsui. A tree stump replaces Molina. And Hairston left, on his own accord, as he was allowed to do, though he will be replaced.

  21. mustang says:

    “ESPN’s Keith Law when he says, “I’m not a Gardner guy, never have been, but their offense is fine even if they put a pointed stick in left field (if the ball hits the stick, the batter is out).” He also notes that the Yankees will find alternatives, if need be, as the season moves along. But, if the No. 9 hitter who plays good defense is the only worry for this team, they have to be in a good spot.”

    That about nails it I hate when Keith Law reads my mind.

  22. Ken says:

    I was speaking to Dave Cone at a charity event & he said that he was impressed with the moves the Yankees were making.

  23. Warren says:

    Would be nice seeing Jamie Hoffman in Left Field

  24. Steve B. says:

    I agree with you Joe-Paw !!…Just finish that last piece regarding the LF situation, then we are set. (sign Damon or Reed Johnson)

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