Sunday, February 27, 2005


2005 Season Preview: New York Yankees

I'll sum this up was an eventful New York winter, but was it productive and the best they could have done?

John Flaherty, C: Small contract for a backup catcher with no real hitting skills or plate patience. NY isn't really lacking offensively though so its not a big deal.

Doug Glanville, OF: I'm not really sure why they signed him to be honest.

Buddy Groom, RP: Free agent lefty, signed by NY. Theme of the offseason to counter David Ortiz basically.

Tino Martinez, 1B: Incase Giambi can't bounce back, here is Tino Martinez to the rescue. Tino was brought back to give these Yankees some of the character of yore...meaning 1998.

Ramiro Mendoza, RP: I kinda felt like he was pitching for NY most of 2003 while he was in Boston.

Carl Pavano, SP: Overpaid for one real good year that may not be repeated. I wanted Clement more than Pavano in Boston, so hopefully Theo made the right decision as well.

Damian Rolls, 3B: The Yankees love ineffective infielders almost as much as Tampa Bay. I really just don't understand some of the signings this team makes. Shell out millions upon millions on some front line talent but never really fill in the gaps with anything close to useful. Tanyon Sturtze in the role of savior from the bullpen is a great example of this.

Rey Sanchez, IF: Slick defensive reputation but a bat equally bad.

Ruben Sierra, DH: I'm not sure why he is still around in NY but they really seem to enjoy having him there. He does scare the shit out of me sometimes when he pinch hits though, so that is probably it. Of course Torre never uses his bench anymore, but whatever.

Tony Womack, 2B: Why not just keep Miguel Cairo? First of all he would have cost less than Tony Womack and performed better. Womack played way over his head last year and it still wasn't impressive.

Jaret Wright, SP: ..........Seriously.......I don't know who allowed this signing to happen. For any amount of money. Instead of signing Wright and wasting money on Womack and throwing a couple of million at Tino Martinez, why didn't NY attempt to get Beltran? Seriously, those three signings had money that should have gone elsewhere. I kind of can't wait for Wright to hit a mechanical wall and scream Leo Mazzone's name out for help.

Acquired via trade: Randy Johnson for Javier Vazquez, Dioner Navarro, and lots of $$$

Johnson is an improvement over Vazquez (but older and more expensive) and his contribution may be taken away in part with Jaret Wright's possibly struggles. But don't worry, Tanyon Sturtze is there to save them. Obviously Johnson helps them, but I feel they would have been better off pursuing Beltran. There are deceased baseball players who cover more ground in center than Bernie Williams at this point.

1) Derek Jeter
2) Bernie Williams
3) Gary Sheffield
4) Alex Rodriguez
5) Hideiki Matsui
6) Jorge Posada
7) Jason Giambi
8) Tino Martinez
9) Tony Womack

Good lineup, but it has its holes. Martinez isn't a serious threat anymore, Williams isn't as good as he used to be, and Tony Womack is Tony Womack. Probably the second best in the league, behind the Red Sox.

1) Randy Johnson
2) Mike Mussina
3) Carl Pavano
4) Jaret Wright
5) Kevin Brown

Honestly, a rotation of Vazquez-Mussina-Pavano-Lieber-Brown would have scared me more than this. Johnson is going to be great, but I would have rather had Lieber (bet they wish they hadn't declined his $8 million option so they could use that money on Wright, who already failed a physical). Plus, if they had not signed Johnson they could have either signed Beltran or got a better 6th option than Tanyon Sturtze. *shudder*

I am not sure how good the bullpen will really be, mostly because if Torre learned his lesson his three best pitchers won't be abused like they were last year, making them less effective during the season but more effective in the postseason. Well thats the idea anyways.

I see New York finishing in first or second (geez Marc, way to go out on a limb there). It really depends on how much their negatives effect them: Jaret Wright, which Kevin Brown shows up, what Giambi is like, and if Bernie Williams defense costs them even more games. Can Pavano adjust to a league switch? Will he re-enter his injury prone ways? Will Rocky and Bullwinkle ever escape Borris and Natasha? We'll just have to see.

You biased piece of crap! While we are all ranting Red Sox fans, you have to realize that while the Yankees are our hated foes, they have done some positive things this offseason. I mean, who did we get (outside of Renteria and the re-signing of Varitek)that makes this year's team better than last year's? We have damaged goods in Mantei and Miller, a 41 year old fat man in Wells, who is well past his prime (with a HORRIBLE 2 year contract), an unproved pitcher in Clement, and we lost our great bench with the losses of Kapler, Roberts, and Pokey. We still have the burden of BK's contract, not to mention that stiff Halama we acquired (who is supposedly the greatest thing since sliced bread according to, and I don't see Jay Payton being a huge force off the bench. Millar is back at first permanently, and I still think Bellhorn is a trouble-spot at second (despite his numbers from last season -- I just hope he takes a few lessons from Johnny Damon on how to hit a foul ball instead of striking out). While some of the Yankees moves don't make a ton of sense, they obviously have the money to blow, and if things aren't working out for them, they obviously will make a move before the trading deadline as they always do. Enough of my rant, back to work.
I really don't think much besides the Johnson and Pavano signings are positives, and it is not that they did bad, it is that they could have done better. They actually do not have the money to blow any longer, oddly enough. They made $315 million last season in revenue. With a salary of over $200 million this year plus all of the luxury tax penalties and the revenue sharing money, the Yankees come very close to exceeding that revenue threshold. Which means the Yankees do have limits...and I think they made their final choices poorly by throwing away money at Tino Martinez, Tony Womack, and overpaying for Jaret Wright by about $5 million per season(at least).

As for the Sox, Bellhorn was the best hitting second basemen in the AL last year, and even if he does repeat that entirely he is still a force out of the #9 spot in the lineup (better than Womack I'm sure you'll agree). As for Halama, I think his best quality is that he has a pulse, but we need someone with a pulse if something with Schilling goes wrong. I like the Sox bench this year...I think Vazquez is an all around improvement over Pokey and Payton is as capable as Kapler. We don't have the speed demon we had in Roberts any longer, but that could be addressed at the deadline much like NY.

My main idea that the Sox are the better team comes from the idea that we were better than NY last season (I'm thinking more along the lines of pythagorean records rather than actual ones). IF we were better coming into the offseason, and had a better offseason (or even slightly worse) than that keeps us the better team, or atleast in line with NY.

By the way, how is Clement unproven? Chicago isn't the easiest place to perform in the world, so it isn't like he hasn't had media outlet issues to deal with already. Not to mention his peripheral numbers are excellent, so I don't fear much regression in his swap of leagues.

I can't defend BK or his contract, you win there.

I kind of hope Wells breaks down and we have to bring up either John Lester or Jon Papelbon from the minors, because those are two talented prospects. Just pray we don't replace Wells with Gonzalez or Halama.

Quick note, did you know Bernie Williams defense in center cost NY 5 wins statistically last year? So getting Beltran they automatically would have added 5 wins to this year before even accounting for an improved bat. His defense would have made the pitching staff better as well, and Johnson still could have been acquired if they had not wasted money on Wright. My main issue is that they did not address their real needs, instead acting like their pitching staff failed them all season long (failing so badly they got 101 wins) when in reality their whole team just bottomed out in the playoffs. NY is a formidable team, capable of winning it all this season. The moves they made this year make me think no one running them knows what they are really doing anymore, and that could keep them from doing just that.
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