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Yankees Are In LAST Place

(Everyone quick, point your fingers and laugh at the Yankees)

And yes, when you have the highest payroll in the game, by FAR, that is totally newsworthy. Sure, it’s only 19 games, and there are 143 to go, but all be damned if this ain’t makin’ the Yankees sweat. How long before Mt. Saint Steinbrenner blows?I want to do a little comparison here…because I can. Taking a look at the 2007 MLB team payrolls:

AL EAST

  1. Red Sox 12-7, $143 million (2nd)
  2. Orioles 11-9, $95 million (10th)
  3. Blue Jays 10-10, $80 million (17th)
  4. Devil Rays 9-11, $24 million (30th)
  5. Yankees 8-11, $195 (1st)

Yes, (insert joke about entire Devil Rays roster being cheaper than A-Rod, and almost less expensive than Jeter and Pettitte).

Talk about some serious bang for your buck, the Devil Rays are 1/8 the price of the Yankees, and they have a better record!

And as my dad likes to point out, the price for Roger Clemens goes up by the day. I’m guessing it’s around a cool half-mil for every starter who doesn’t get out of the fifth inning. By the time the Yanks are done dealing, it’ll be a $220 million team.

*I still am confident the Yanks will be in the playoffs, no panic button here. But it’s always fun to play with Yankee fans when they’re struggling, just like the way they mess with A-Rod’s head.

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.

Mariano Rivera, still the most clutch closer in baseball

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.

Carl Pavano Starting Opening Day? Yanks Are Doomed

There are some things in the sporting world I just don’t understand. Probably right at the top of that list would be Carl Pavano starting the 2007 season opener for the New York Yankees. Yes, I understand that Chien-Ming Wang got hurt, but please, Carl Pavano wouldn’t even beat out Dontrelle Willis to start opening day for his previous team, the Marlins.Â

To give you a perspective on the Yankees, you would be lucky if your entire fantasy baseball roster was full of them. Think about it — it’s an All-Star at every position — literally. Matsui, Damon, and Abreu in the outfield are as solid as it gets. Going through the infield you have A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, and Doug Ment-kay-vich?!?!? at 1B, Posada behind the dish, and Giambi DH-ing. I said it last year — you’d be hard pressed to find a better lineup than that, probably ever. Those guys combined for over 30 All-Star appearances, just think about that.

But man, when you consider the pitching in the rest of the division, you have to wonder how the Yankees rotation became so pathetic. Let me say this, there is at least one pitcher on every other team in the AL East I’d rather have starting Opening Day than Carl Pavano. Give me Kazmir, give me Bedard, give me the Red Sox No. 3 Josh Beckett (let alone Schilling and Dice-K), and of course I’ll take Roy Halladay, and even AJ Burnett, all over Hot Carl.

It’s this type of thinking that makes me wonder — why isn’t Mike Mussina starting the opener? What has he done wrong? Has he not earned his Yankee stripes? How can he possibly be held with more contempt in the eyes of the Yankees than Carl Pavano? Andy Pettitte’s a better option than Pavano, but he just came over to New York, so I understand how it would be somewhat disrespectful for him to be up there. But why not the Moose? This is insane.

When you look at the Yankees and see the incredible offense, it’s enough power to guarantee 95 wins. But when you look at the starting pitching (and I realize this has been the problem for quite some time), it’s very average. There’s no wonder the Yankees haven’t won a World Series since the days Brian Cashman didn’t have donuts under his eyes.

Unfortunately for New York, it’s not fantasy baseball. Real baseball is all about the pitching. And when you have Carl ‘effin Pavano starting your season opener, you better pray (and pay) to get Roger Clemens, otherwise you’re toast. Memo to all fans of the Bronx Bombers: unless you sign Clemens and pull off a serious trade, you can kiss 2007 off, just like the past six years.