Baseball Preview: New York Yankees
Last year’s record and finish are in parenthesis with projected improvement/decline indicated by plus or minus.
New York Yankees (97-65, 1st in the AL East) -1 game
Get Crunked: Where do you start? Where do you finish? OK, it’s like the best all-around lineup since the mid-90s Indians teams. Aside from Doug Mientkiewicz, there are sluggers at EVERY SINGLE POSITION. Everyone except Dougie can pop 20, some can pop 40, and everyone can hit .300. This definitely ranks up there as one of the best lineups in baseball history, enough said. Mariano Rivera is still an elite closer, and Kyle Farnsworth is pretty good as a setup man. Mike Mussina bounced back last year to have a Mussina type of year.
Party Foul: The pitching doesn’t come close to matching the hitting, but of course they’d need Santana, Halladay, and Kazmir in addition to Pettitte and Mussina in order to do that. Still, with an injured Chien-Ming Wang, it doesn’t look pretty. Pavano just simply isn’t very good, Rasner’s got nothing, and Kei Igawa is a wild card. Pettitte and Mussina are reliable, but not stellar.
What’d my GM do: It was the most quiet off-season in the Bronx that I can remember. It looks like Cashman’s trying a different approach in order to avoid being saddled with crappy contracts (e.g. Pavano, Jaret Wright). Kei Igawa was signed for 5 years at $20 million, which is such chump change for the Yanks they can afford to have him suck. He signed Doug Mientkiewicz to a one-year deal at first base. As long as Doug can help get A-Rod’s head on straight, he’ll be worth his money. I think the Yankees off-season has now become July; they will head into the year content with their team, ready to take on contracts (or Roger Clemens) at the trade deadline if they need arises.
Lay it on me Straight: You could choose the No. 5 starters from 5 of the 6 last place teams, have them start for the Yankees, and I’d put money on it that the Yanks would still win 90 games. Yes, their lineup is that good. The pitching is quite obviously the weak spot, but man, that lineup is so good, it was MADE for the regular season.
So where my boys gonna finish right now: They’ll be right around 95 wins or more like usual, but I think Boston’s a better all-around team and good enough to overtake the Yanks for the division.
Can we be better than that: If the starting pitching does well 1-5, they’ll win 100 games. But that’s not likely to happen.