Ah, the New York Yankees. Hated team and bitter rival to the Red Sox. The Stadium affectionately referred to as The Toilet … the home of The Slap … and the rivalry never reached heightened levels (and probably never will again) from 2003-2004 with the aftermath still raging.
Let’s learn about this 2007 team, as we’ll be seeing them often. 19 games, minimum, sto be exact.
Statistics code: AVG/OBP/SLG for hitters. W-L, ERA, WHIP for starters. ERA, WHIP, IP for relievers.
C: Jorge Posada (2006 stats: .277/.374/.492) | Wil Nieves (2006 stats: .000/.000/.000)
After struggling through an “off year” in 2005, Posada bounced back in 2006 with a very strong season, posting totals very similar to his career total. While it can’t be discounted that Posada could fall off a cliff in 2007 at age 35 due to him being a catcher, he did get a late start on catching, not gaining any more than 379 ABs in his career until 2000, when he turned 28 and got 505. He had appeared in over 100 games the two previous years however, and posted solid totals. Posada has long been a thorn in the side of the Red Sox, as he is a fiery character (remember his run-in with Pedro?) and has always been able to hit for contact, power, and has a discerning batting eye. He will never be considered one of the “great” catchers of all time, but he is worthy of a spot in Monument Park in the new Yankee Stadium when he retires and figures to be a thorn in the side of the Red Sox for at least one more year. He is a free agent after this year, and has stated a desire to play for at least three more years.
His back up, Wil Nieves, was traded to the Yankees during spring training of 2005 for Bret Prinz. Nieves will be 29 this year and exhibits absolutely no reason why anyone should expect any type of production out of Nieves. I think that the Yankees getting burned on Kelly Stinnett last year made Brian Cashman think that backup catchers are fungible: just get someone who won’t be too bad and you’re fine. This may be a mistake, as Posada may get hurt or tail off this year, and Nieves is BAD. He had a .644 OPS in Triple-A. The backup catcher’s job may be a revolving door all year.
1B: Doug Mientkiewicz (2006 stats: .283/.359/.411) | Josh Phelps (2006 stats: .000/.000/.000)
Mientkiewicz gets a lot dumped on him, but he’s really not a bad player. He’s not even a bad person, either. If it wasn’t for the whole fiasco with the 2004 World Series ball, he would be a pretty nondescript person. As it is, he has a pretty good national profile, and for some reason, people think he can’t hit. Look what he did in 2006. He hit .283/.359/.411. Sure, he has zero power, but as a #9 hitter as he is expected to be, that line is totally fine. It’s got good average, a solid OBP, and at least SOME pop. He’s hitting terribly this spring, but if he can match that line, his offensive issues are overblown.
Josh Phelps, picked in the Rule 5 draft, has been tantalizing people with his power since breaking in with Toronto, and looked like he was going places in 2003 with Toronto when he hit .268/.358/.470. He’s dissapeared since, and is trying to make the Yankees as a backup after spending all of last year in the minors. With a career line of .268/.336/.472 and still only 28, Phelps could turn in a solid season.
2B: Robinson Cano (2006 stats: ) | Miguel Cairo (2006 stats: .239/.280/.320)
I’ll be honest here. I don’t see Robinson Cano as a good player, and since I get a lot of negativity for that, I have started to also flat-out dislike Cano. Look, his OBP is atrocious. I am very, very aware that if you can hit for average and power consistently while disregarding OBP, then fair due should be given. Breaking in as a rookie in 2005 at age 22, Cano hit .297/.320/.458. Last year in 482 ABs, he hit a staggering .342/.365/.525. His power was nearly the same, his OBP, his strikeouts … his hits just went through the roof, that’s all, and he had a .369 BABIP (.300 is average). I don’t think he can repeat 2006. 2005? Sure, but this year is going to tell us a lot about who Robinson Cano is. I am a firm believer that you need three full seasons of work to know accurately how a player performs. This is the season for Cano.
Miguel Cairo is the Yankees’ version of Alex Cora. His stock has slipped since the last time he was in a Yankees uniform, but he is a fine choice as a backup infielder and shouldn’t hurt the Yankees.
3B: Alex Rodriguez (2006 stats: .290/.392/.523)
If it can be considered such a thing, Alex Rodriguez had an “off” year last year for the Yankees. Quickly becoming a player the fans love to hate, A-Rod hit .290/.392/.523 for the Yankees. It wasn’t as bad as his first season in pinstripes, but it was bad enough to rank as his second worst career season. That’s not to say he’s done at age 31, and I fully expect him to bounce back to his previous levels. The dominant story all year long is going to be if A-Rod opts out (He will. He can get another $150 million-plus deal from another team, and he’d be silly not to get that, especially since we all know his agent is Scott Boras and he wants the money) but the newfound A-Rod and his propensity to speak what’s on his mind may clear his mind and allow him to produce. A-Rod is going to try his hardest to put another MVP-type season together like he had in 2005 (it’s funny that he’s labeled as a failure despite having a MVP trophy) to try to quell all the detractors and put himself in good shape for a nice payday. I personally think he’s in store for a strong season, and that includes the postseason (his career line in the postseason is .280/.362/.485, for what it’s worth).
SS: Derek Jeter (2006 stats: .343/.417/.483)
Derek Jeter had a heck of a year last year and has been showing a resurgence since his .292/.352/.471 affair in 2004. He’s steadily increased his batting average each year, and stole a career-high 34 SB last year. Penciled into the two-hole, he should continue excelling there with Johnny Damon setting the plate and Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez driving him in. Probably the most complete #2 hitter in the game.
LF: Hideki Matsui (2006 stats: .302/.393/.494) | Melky Cabrera (2006 stats: .280/.360/.391)
Matsui hasn’t had that MVP year that many people (including me) suggested he was on the cusp of having yet, but he’s still a very solid player with a career line of .297/.372/.485. Time will tell if he can keep up his production after 172 total AB last year in his age 32 season after wrenching his wrist on the Yankee green grass last year. As of Monday, Matsui has hit .365/.389/.500 in his ABs, so he looks to be rounding into form, and we’ll have to hope J.C. Romero can destroy Matsui much like Mike Myers did.
CF: Johnny Damon (2006 stats: .285/.359/.482)
The former Red Sox exhibited strong power last year and has professed a desire to hit third in a lineup. Sorry, not happening, Johnny. Damon is a great leadoff hitter who does everything well. While he gained power due to the short porch in right-field, his batting average slipped. Damon was well worth the money in 2006, and looks like he could be worth it again 2007, but I have to wonder if all his naysayers are right, and Damon’s high water mark (in terms of average) topped out in 2005, when he hit a career-second-best .316 (.327 in 2000). As of Monday, he was hitting .220 in spring training, but take it from a Red Sox fan, Yankee fans: he doesn’t turn it up until the games mean anything and he’s sitting on the couch naked, five minutes before the first pitch.
RF: Bobby Abreu (2006 stats: .297/.424/.462)
The Red Sox were in the Abreu sweepstakes until they pulled out, fearful of the cash invested in Abreu. Of course, the Red Sox then went crazy during free agency, second only to the Chicago Cubs. Putting that in the past, Abreu is simply amazing. He’s lost all semblance of dominating homerun power since his Home Run Derby showing, but boy, can he work a count and take a walk. Abreu is definitely the Yankees’ answer to Kevin Youkilis. He’s likely to hit third and should rack up the runs scored and RBI totals. Along with Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, he’s an impending free agent (disregarding club/player options).
DH: Jason Giambi (2006 stats: .253/.413/.558)
Giambi’s lost any ability to hit for average, but he’s still racking up these walks like a man possessed and displays prodigious power. I’ve made no secret of my distaste for Giambi (after being a fan of his in Oakland) so I can’t say I’m rooting for his success, but he’s recovered from his pathetic (and enjoyable) .208/.342/.379 season in 2004 to post a .271/.440/.535 line in 2005 and then the above line last year. Shifting to fulltime DH, his statistics and opinion have made it clear he prefers first base. If he gets off to a ridiculously slow start, the Yankees may panic and throw the iron-gloved Giambi back out at first-base to recover his production. Either way, I’ll just have to deal with seeing his face 19 days of the year until I can forget about him again. (And yes. I really do dislike him.)
SP: Chien-Ming Wang (2006 stats: 19-6, 3.63, 1.31) | Mike Mussina (2006 stats: 15-7, 3.51, 1.11) | Andy Pettitte (2006 stats: 14-13, 4.20, 1.44) | Kei Igawa (2006 stats: 14-9, 2.97 in Japan) | Carl Pavano (2006 stats: 0-0, -.–, -.–) | Jeff Karstens (2006 stats: 2-1, 3.80, 1.19) | Darrell Rasner (2006 stats: 3-1, 4.43, 20.1)
This rotation is replete with injury-prone players and players with giant question marks next to their names as to what they can contribute. This rotation has the potential to be one of the worst in the majors, and is already shaping up to be that way what with the top two contributors already going down to injury…
Wang is going to miss the first month due to a strained hamstring (which always takes a while to heal, which is why I accurately predicted last year Robinson Cano would miss his target return date from the exact same injury) but when he returns, should assume the mantle of ace of the team. Despite no strikeout totals, Wang has been very good and is driving Rob Neyer nuts. Count me among the Neyer believers that Wang can’t succeed long-term without whiffing more players, but for now, the statistics do not lie.
Mike Mussina hasn’t looked that great this spring. He’s not striking out many batters, but last year offered a resurgence for Mussina, who had been trending towards obscurity the previous two years. Time will tell if Moose repeats what he did in 2006, but for the Yankees to have any chance, he needs to do so. If he reverts to 2005 and 2006 form, it won’t be pretty, because right now the rotation consists of Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, Andy Pettitte and Darrell Rasner. It’s a pretty laughable rotation, to be honest with you.
No one knows if Pettitte can contribute this year, and he’s been struggling with back spams all of Spring Training. Pettitte, who is one of my personal favorites, is also coming off a subpar year in the NL Central no less … and has been hurt two of the past three years. Those who think Pettitte can be a solid #2 could be right … but so could those naysayers who say Pettitte is done. Pettitte is the true wild card here and will dictate a lot of the success of the Bombers’ starting rotation.
Kei Igawa is an import of Japan, who may people feel will fall flat on his face. Not blessed with overwhelming stuff, Igawa has a good changeup but has not been impressive in spring training. As a matter of fact, before Wang and Pettitte went down, the Yankees were seriously considering having him open the season in Triple-A. For a total cost of $46 million, Igawa will have to do a lot better than he’s projected to do to be worth the investment. Honestly, I’m still baffled the Yankees bid so much for Igawa. Do they really think he’s that good, or did they need to answer the Daisuke Matsuzaka acquisition somehow?
Carl Pavano, who may shockingly get the start on Opening Day, is trying to recover from a bizzare spate of injuries on top of being absolutely worthless in the little time he pitched in 2005 for the contract he signed: 4-6, 100 IP, 4.77 ERA, 1.47 WHIP. The bottom line is this. Pavano has exactly ONE year in his career in which he dominated (3.00 ERA in 31 GS in 2004 for the Marlins) and two total years where he didn’t have injury problems. The former Red Sox farmhand, traded for Pedro Martinez, has a lot to prove this season. The question is: will he?
Jeff Karstens impressed in a short time last year with the Yankees and has also continued to impress this year. Karstens looks like he could be one of those under-the-radar starters who ends up having a pretty good career, ala the Red Sox and Kason Gabbard. That being said, Baseball Prospectus projects Karstens to have a 5.58 ERA this year. Ouch. Karstens was expected to open the season in the rotation due to Wang going down, but he just went down to injury and it looks like Darrell Rasner may win the spot. When Karstens gets healthy, he will probably go back to the bullpen once Wang returns … or to Triple-A if that 5.58 ERA rings true.
Darrell Rasner is also expected to make the team if Jeff Karstens can’t go, or he wins a bullpen spot. Rasner, a sinkerballer, was claimed off waivers from the Washington Nationals last year and is a solid starter. I’ve followed Rasner for a bit (no idea why) and I’m a bit high on Rasner, so if he gets his shot, I expect him to be solid. Not great, but solid. The play of Karstens and Rasner will affect to a large part the outcome of the season for the Yankees, because I do not expect the front five to last the entire year without injury or effectiveness. I look at this rotation and see the same issues that plagued the Red Sox last year.
RP: Kyle Farnsworth (2006 stats: 4.36, 1.36, 66.0) | Luis Vizcaino (2006 stats: 3.58, 1.22, 65.1) | Mike Myers (2006 stats: 3.23, 1.27, 30.2) | Scott Proctor (2006 stats: 3.52, 1.19, 102.1) | Brian Bruney (2006 stats: 0.87, 1.40, 20.2) | Sean Henn (2006 stats: 0-1, 4.82, 9.1)
This bullpen doesn’t blow me away. Farnsworth is a very solid middle reliever. Quite frankly, he’s just not dominating enough to reach that elite level. He gives up too many hits and HRs to be a dominant setup reliever, but you could do much worse than what Farnsworth’s season ended up at. He’s a solid middle reliever, while he’s now joined by Luis Vizcaino, the former Athletic/Brewer/White Sox/Diamondback. He’s another solid reliever: nothing more, nothing less. We all know how well Mike Myers can get lefties out, but the Red Sox let him go because they didn’t like the fact that they could only use him so rarely and only against lefties. Of course, after he left, the Red Sox scrambled to find someone to get lefties out. Now, it seems as if the Sox understand that a lefty specialist is an idea worth embracing, but those specialists should at least be passable against righties, and Myers is not. Scott Proctor had a heck of a season with a 1.19 WHIP and soaring over 100 innings pitched, but he was abused and showed signs of falling apart during the course of the year. If he was six or even three years younger, he could be on the cusp of something big, but that was his age 29 year. Proctor has another decade of good service left in him, but what he did last year represents the high-water mark of his ability in my opinion. Bruney… wow. Came in throwing gas after being cut from the Diamondbacks, but his 1.40 WHIP and his 5.05 career ERA (tempered a LOT by that 0.85 from last year) is worrisome. He’s only going to be 25, though, and bears very close watching. He could turn into Mariano Rivera’s replacement if he can firm up his control. He’s making progress with that, as his strike percentage has risen from 58 to 59 to 62 in his three cracks at the bigs. Sean Henn looks like he probably will beat out Ron Villone, and has 20.2 IP to his name entering his age 26-season. The lefty doesn’t have great command (11/3 BB/K in 2005′s 11.1 IP and 5/7 in 2006′s 9.1 IP) and had a 4.01 ERA in Triple-A last year, so the jury is out on what Henn can do, but if he can beat out Ron Villone, he must have some promise. Overall, it’s a solid bullpen. It’s not exactly deep or with a high-ceiling, but it’s a solid ‘pen.
CL: Mariano Rivera (2006 stats: 1.80, 0.96, 75.0, 34 SV)
Rivera is still plugging away, and as an impending free agent, has a lot to prove. Being limited to strictly ninth-inning duties this year, his innings pitched will likely decline, but there’s no reason to think that his other statistics will. Jonathan Papelbon out-pitched Rivera last year. One of the more interesting subplots this year will be which team has the best closer, and the only way we’ll find out the answer is when the regular season ends.
MGR: Joe Torre
Joe Torre has come under fire lately for being a poor in-game manager. It’s funny how I never heard this stuff when he was too busy winning World Series’, but it just goes to show you that in today’s day and age, managers are all about coddling players and keeping the clubhouse loose. The tacticians just don’t sit in a job for years anymore. Buck Showalter is a prime example. Personally, I think some sort of ability to manage a game (which Torre cannot do in any aspect, which has been evidenced by his curious bullpen use and sometimes baffling lineup use) is paramount, and Francona scores ok in that department. But you can’t argue with results, and Torre delivers results. He’s bottom line a Hall of Fame manager.
GM: Brian Cashman
Cashman has finally gotten control of the team, wresting it away from George Stienbrenner. Now we will finally be able to see what kind of GM Cashman is after years of being a lackey. So far, Cashman scores good points here, but his continued insistence on younger players may burn him in the future. For now, he managed a 2006 very well, but his 2007 management is curious, which starts and ends with the baffling Kei Igawa purchase, but Igawa has looked solid his last two Spring Training starts (as of Monday). In the end, Cashman is a solid GM who should hold the job for at least the next few years, because Stienbrenner will chop Joe Torre’s head off first.
Fire Brand

Categories: Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Andy Phillips Bobby Abreu Brian Bruney Brian Cashman Carl Pavano Chien-Ming Wang Derek Jeter Doug Mientkiewicz Hideki Matsui Jason Giambi Jeff Karstens Joe Torre Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Josh Phelps Kei Igawa Know Thy Enemy Kyle Farnsworth Luis Vizcaino Mariano Rivera Melky Cabrera Miguel Cairo Mike Mussina Mike Myers New York Yankees Robinson Cano Scott Proctor Wil Nieves

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

71 Responses to “Know Thy Enemy 2007: New York Yankees” Subscribe

  1. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 12:49 AM #

    Curt Schilling 2006 = Chien-Ming Wang
    Josh Beckett 2006 = Carl Pavano (except Pavano's more of an injury risk)
    Tim Wakefield 2006 = Mike Mussina (except Mussina's more of an injury risk)
    David Wells 2006 = Andy Pettite
    Matt Clement/Jon Lester/Kyle Snyder/Julian Tavarez/Jason Johnson/Lenny DiNardo/Kason Gabbard/Kevin Jarvis/David Pauley/Devern Hansack 2006 = Kei Igawa
    Those are the similarities I see.

  2. Tony Gicas March 29, 2007 at 12:57 AM #

    Some very good player predictions EB. I disagree with a few items but that's going to happen. I agree that this year may see Cano fall back to earth a bit, but I find it hard to emphasize his OBP over a .342 average by highlighting his BABIP statistics. He looked great at the plate all season, and he's 22 with plenty of time to boost his OBP ability.
    Also, I think you are downplaying the Yankees rotation more than a bit. You said that Pettitte missed the entire Spring training with back spasms? You missed the boat on this one Ev, as he only missed one ST start and has looked almost unhittable at times – not allowing a run in 10 innings.
    One other correction to make. Matsui destroyed his wrist on Yankee Stadium grass not Fenway grass. I was at the game sitting directly behind Godzilla in the leftfield bleachers. I still remember my brother's text message like it was yesterday: "Matsui broken wrist, out 4 months."

  3. Tony Gicas March 29, 2007 at 1:00 AM #

    And I know Cano's 24, I just put in his old jersey # for some reason..

  4. Mo March 29, 2007 at 1:02 AM #

    Wow, you really rip the Yankees rotation, and take a general negative slant. I hope you do the same for the Sox, considering they have just as many issues. You are the first person ive heard say pettitte might be done, Wang supposedly looked good today and may actually beat the return date. Even if he doesnt, he will be missing 5 starts, not 20. mussina is not 100 years old, and pitchers with his array of stuff have proven they can be effective till deep into their careers. He may not be great, but he will be a good 3. Pavano has gotten progressively better, while Igawa has looked quite good. Furthermore, the Yankees have a loaded staff at triple A, so they have depth. The bullpen may not blow you away, but I dont see one in the AL that blows me away. The Yankees have a solid bullpen from top to bottom, which will lend them predictability and consistency. to say the rotation has the potential to be the worst in the majors is egregious. Look at the rotation with an unskewed eye, and you will see a very solid group backed up by young depth. I mean, the Yankees rotation was actually above average last year, they replaced Randy with Pettitte (at worst a draw, probably improvement), Jaret Wright with Pavano (if Pavano is healthy, an improvement just on the added innings that he saves the pen), and the musical chairs with an 8 era for Igawa (if you think he's going to be worse than Chacon/Ponson/Small, youre crazy). I think the Red Sox rotation will be slightly better, but I can do the same thing you did with the Yanks. Schilling has been injury prone, isnt getting any younger. Beckett was horrendous last year, and what are the odds that he stays healthy again. Dice-K is an unknown, who knows how he does on his second time through the AL, or in the AL east at all, for that matter. Wakefield is inconsistent, you never know what you will get, even he doesnt know what he will get. And the 5th starter is between a Royals reject and a psycho, with a wild card of lester showing up at some point. The pen will at best be inconsistent, at worse a disaster (besides for Papelbon who i admit is excellent). My point is, you gave a worst case scenario for the Yankees pitching, so I hope you do the same for the Sox. In regard to the offense, I think you did an excellent job breaking it down. I mean, I think its all good, but i think the pitching was more of you being hopeful that it will stink than an actual prediction that all of the bad things that could happen will happen. I am a very pessimistic yankee fan, I always think they will fail, but even I dont think all of those bad things will happen. You can say the redsox rotation will be one of the worst in baseball if all of their questions dont work out also. anyways, great work.

  5. mouse March 29, 2007 at 2:09 AM #

    I wish I could be as optimistic as you are, Evan. But the Yankees have too much of a habit of getting lucky at the right time (see Aaron Small) for me to count them out.
    I DO see some regression coming for some of their players, particularly Cano and Wang. And while Jeter is of course, a great hitter, I have a hard time seeing him repeat his 2006 BA. Ditto Damon's power explosion, though you never know with that stupid short porch.
    This will be a neck and neck battle all year. The team whose rotation stays the healthiest likely wins the AL East.

  6. Mo March 29, 2007 at 2:28 AM #

    Totally agree, mouse. If both staffs stay healthy, a big if for both, this will be an amazing race. The DL could very well be the key to the race, with Wang, Beckett, Schilling, and Pettitte all major cogs with health questions, past or present.

  7. ScoutingBook March 29, 2007 at 4:25 AM #

    The Yankee rotation definitely looks sub-par when compared to the rest of the team. It's hard to believe they would let it reach this point.
    Maybe we'll see Phil Hughes one of these days. Or maybe they have an ace somewhere up their sleeve for later.
    Just saying.
    ScoutingBook.com: Baseball's Top Prospects, Closer Situations and more, updated daily.

  8. Cory Humes March 29, 2007 at 8:26 AM #

    When does Dan Benton chime in with Kei Igawa. KEI IGAWA!

  9. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 8:35 AM #

    Tony: Weird, I could have sworn I remembered the Green Monster behind Matsui. Ah well, that's what I get for not fact checking.
    I may be downplaying the rotation a bit, but in the end, we are all here to read opinion. Am I taking a negative slant on the rotation? Yes, because I simply don't think this rotation will last the entire year. I could be wrong, you and Mo could be right and it could be a solid rotation … but I just don't see it.
    Mo: The Red Sox rotation is far younger and has far more an upside than the Yankees rotation. I give credit to the Yankees where I think they deserve it, and the rotation is NOT one of these places.

  10. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 8:35 AM #

    PS: That's my fault on Pettitte "missing" the entire ST with back spasms. I meant to say he had been plagued with the problem all ST. I'll fix it.

  11. Shane March 29, 2007 at 8:50 AM #

    I dont see Pettitte being lights out, but I don't think he'll bomb either. 2005 he had a fantastic year, and last year's second half was great as well. While I dont think he'll go with a 2.80 ERA after the all-star break this year, I don't think posting close to the same line of 14-13/4.20/178 is unreasonable.

  12. Mike Boehm March 29, 2007 at 9:05 AM #

    The part about Brian Cashman (Seriously…that name is made up, right? Nothing it THAT comedically ironic naturally) finally having real control is a scary notion to the Yankee haters of the world. (Like me.)
    Back in the day we all figured he was just smart enough to open up the check book and hand out money (hence the humor of his name). But over the past few years the moves he's made on his own have shown that he actually understands the game as well.
    That's not a good thing. Cashman, if given full control, will not only buy every high priced superstar that comes down the pike but will start restocking the minors as well. You're not supposed to be able to figure out how to do that, but I think Cashman might actually have found a way.
    I don't like it. Not one little bit.

  13. Mo March 29, 2007 at 9:09 AM #

    I agree, Evan, its your opinion and I respect that. My opinion is that, as you said the Sox rotation has more upside, and I think it will be better than the Yanks, but only slightly, not as much as you think. In a playoff series, Iwould take my chances with Wang, Moose, Andy, and Pavano/Igawa- its an experienced top 3 with pitchers who know how to pitch the big game. I think the two teams are so close that we really have to let it play out, i think this is a really hard year to predict.

  14. Mo March 29, 2007 at 9:12 AM #

    Oh, and how is the Sox rotation far younger? Schilling is the oldest pitcher on either team. If you look at the top 4 of each team, the Red Sox are only distinctly younger by one pitcher, which is not that much considering one of the Sox young guys has a terrible injury history.

  15. Dave B March 29, 2007 at 9:13 AM #

    Its weird. I like the Yankees to be ahead of the Sox in the end but not because for their starters. While, i see their being injuries i don'tsee much reason to think significant time will be lost. Personally, i would be scared about their pen. Its gets a lot of credit, but to me it looks eh. If Proctor and Riveria start to regress i think they might be in trouble. I really like their pickup of Britton and Bruney might be good this season. I would just be concerned with the 100+ innings Proctor pitched, the fact that Fransworth is a bum, and Mo is starting to get up there in age (i'm not saying he is going to suck but people need to realize that it wouldn't be unheard of.)
    Their lineup is aging but is still probably an 875+ lineup, meaning they will probably be the best. Their rotation will be good enough. I see no clear cut ace, but neither do i with the Sox.Wang Moose and Petitte will be able to make an above average trio and whatever bums they through in the back of the rotation will just need to pitch 5 innings of acceptable ball.
    All that rambling aside, they should win the divison. They have the most talent out of any team in baseball. I can't sit here and say injuries are or aren't going to happen. Obviously, if they do they are in trouble. But the same goes for every team in baseball.

  16. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 9:37 AM #

    Mo: I don't really count Julian Tavarez as a member of the rotation because Jon Lester will probably be in there by the beginning of May.
    You also have to remember that i"m biased by what happened to the Red Sox last year. The Yankees' rotation this year reminds me of the Red Sox rotation last year SO MUCH… the one that was derailed by injuries and ineffectiveness … and it's just hard for me to look past that.

  17. Joe March 29, 2007 at 9:43 AM #

    Wang may be ahead of schedule right now, but hammies are SOOOOO risky. Hamstring injuries tend to linger. The Yanks will be much better off having him miss 5-6 starts now than by having him come back after 3-4 starts and reinjure the thing or, worse, blow out his arm trying to protect the leg.
    I think Evan is a little optimistic (pessimistic depending on your viewpoint) though. The Yankee bullpen has a spectacular amount of upside. Bruney and Britton could conceivably be big difference makers.

  18. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 9:47 AM #

    #6 ScoutingBook: I had to approve your comment for moderation. Every comment that has two or more links is automatically held for moderation, sorry about that. You are EXACTLY right. I can't believe they let it get to this point.
    Dave: Scared of the rotation or scared of the pen: the Yankees simply have to choose the lesser of two evils there. Unfortunately it looks like both may implode.
    Joe: Bruney could be huge if he could get some control. I'm a fan of Britton, but I'm not including him in this preview because he was optioned to Triple-A. Also, absolutely hammies are dicey. ABSOLUTELY. Thinking someone could return early from them is foolish. Can it happen? Sure – but I'd always expect DELAYS.

  19. randy l March 29, 2007 at 10:52 AM #

    evan,
    first of all i want to congratulate you for having both firebrand and bronx block linked on SI team page's blog and fan sites.mvn looks like it's on it's way.
    now down to your yankee analysis:
    "I

  20. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 7:02 AM #

    Randy,
    No, I don't see the Red Sox picking up Villone at all. Here's why:
    Ron Villone v. LHP 2006: 30.2 IP, 1.01 WHIP, .179 BAA (excellent)
    Javier Lopez v. LHP 2006: 10.1 IP, 1.35 WHIP, .250 BAA (average, not really a lefty specialist)
    J.C. Romero v. LHP 2006: 25.1 IP, 1.22 WHIP, .202 BAA (in 2005, he was Villone-esque)
    Hideki Okajima v. LHP 2006: Got no idea. I don't see splits for Japan, but in ST this year: 11.2 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 10 K. We plan to use him as a normal reliever.
    J.C. Romero is our lefty specialist, not Javier Lopez. Lopez is only up from April 2 – April 7, at which point it is expected he will be waived for the return of Mike Timlin, so no, we won't be using Lopez against the Yankees mostly because he won't be on the team.
    I don't know if Villone has an escape clause, but if he doesn't, he will be forced to go to AAA for the Yankees. If he does, the Red Sox could certainly kick the tires, but he'd be going to Pawtucket, not the majors.

  21. randy l March 29, 2007 at 11:30 AM #

    thanks evan. that's why they pay you the big bucks to give us the red sox insider info. it saves us yankee fans who don't want to spend a lot time knowng everything about the red sox.
    villone won't go to the minors. he's in a situation careerwise like mike stanton was two years ago ,and he's still pitching for the reds. if the yankees take him north ,they have to pay him about 2.1 million. if they release him now, the way i understand it, there's no major league contract.

  22. Mike Edelman March 29, 2007 at 11:49 AM #

    I assume, and correct me if I'm wrong here, that by making reference to last year's Sox Evan wasn't making a point about the pitching ability of the Yankees pitchers but their ability to stay healthy. While the Red Sox rotation certainly has questions as well, many of them surrounding our pitcher's ability to stay healthy, I don't think they're the same level of the questions that the Yankees have.
    Mo you mention Wang and Pettitte as injury risks but those are probably two of the smaller injury risks in your rotation. You're forgetting arguably one of the largest injury risks in the game, Pavano and Mussina who's been hurt in each of the last 3 years.
    As for the Red Sox staff, Beckett didn't suffer at all from his blister issues last year and appears to have figured out that they were due to a treatable skin condition that he's now addressing. Wakefield was on the DL last year but it was the only time in his entire career that he's been on it. In the Red Sox rotation perhaps the only pitcher with a higher than average risk for injury is Schilling. Maybe you feel differently about Matsuzaka but even those who have said he's at high risk for injury have said that his injury troubles if they do happen due to overuse aren't likely to become an issue for the next 2-3 years.
    I also agree with you on Pettitte Tony. He did look dominant in all of the starts that I watched him pitch in. I was so impressed by him I even made not of it on BB. What I find ironic though is how similar a replacement he may be to Randy Johnson. I believe they're making the same exactly salaries, they're both coming from the NL, both looked great in spring training and both are being hindered by back spasms. While Pettitte certainly has looked great and has a lot of potential I think he has something to prove as far as his ability to stay healthy.
    Also, I have to disagree with you Evan on Cano. While even himself and his batting coach have admitted he's not going to have a season like last year, he's a hell of a player. At times he loses focus on defense but he can make some really nice plays and certainly can handle his bat. I watch him quite a bit and am very impressed by him to this point.

  23. Mo March 29, 2007 at 1:18 PM #

    Evan, you lost me when you compared 40 year old fatso Wells to Pettitte, who may have an injury history but is always in top shape, and comparing Mussina, borderline HOF'er to wakefield. We really can't know about Igawa, but he's better than musical chairs. And was Schilling that bad last year that comparing Wang to him is a negative?

  24. The Judge. March 29, 2007 at 1:23 PM #

    Mo – you lose the argument.
    Evan – you win.
    The Judge says, Red Sox rule, Yankees drool!!!!
    You can now go back to your debating.

  25. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 1:50 PM #

    Mo,
    Two things.
    1) You misunderstand the Wang comparison. That's the POSITIVE one – both are aces that turned in good years and ate a lot of innings.
    2) Wells may be fat, but he's easily in the top 5 of all baseball players in terms of athleticism. Dude is a flat out ATHLETE. he just is fat by choice because he's good while fat. If he was in shape and had the right priorities, he'd probably have been one of the best pitchers in baseball history.
    In terms of statistics and injury history, Wells and pettite is a flat out deadon comparison

  26. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 1:51 PM #

    PS Moose and Wakefield have similar statistics recently and now that Wake is on the DL for the first time last year, I think they are accurate comps, given that Wake can go longer in a game than Moose.

  27. randy l March 29, 2007 at 1:53 PM #

    the red sox had one of the worst pitching staffs in the american league last year. based on last year's performances, how does only adding the overpaid matsuzaka turn them even into a league average starting rotation?

  28. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 1:57 PM #

    Well, probably because
    (a) Matsuzaka isn't overpaid at 8.7M a year. He doesn't get paid the posting fee. Deal with it.
    (b) Beckett has looked flat out RIDICULOUS this spring. You are aware that people improve?
    (c) Wakefield is completely healthy
    (d) We don't just add Matsuzaka. We don't have the Matt Clement/Jon Lester/Kyle Snyder/Julian Tavarez/Jason Johnson/Lenny DiNardo/Kason Gabbard/Kevin Jarvis/David Pauley/Devern Hansack musical chairs spinning arround
    (e) we have Schilling.
    Randy, I'm not sure if you're refusing to see it or not, but trying to compare the 2006 Red Sox staff to the 2007 Red Sox staff just simply won't work. Adding Matsuzaka is that much of a difference. Josh Beckett improving by leaps and bounds is that much of a difference. Settling on Julian Tavarez (and later, Jon Lester) as a 5th starter is that much of a difference.
    DO NOT… DO NOT underestimate the effects of a HEALTHY and STABLE rotation. When things are up in the air, people are falling left and right, and people such as KEVIN FREAKING JARVIS are getting starts … it drags down everyone as a whole.
    I saw a statement a day or two ago from some other manager (was it Leyland? I don't remember) saying that a bad bullpen drags down EVERY bullpen pitcher, period.

  29. The Judge. March 29, 2007 at 1:57 PM #

    randy – your cockiness merely is a shade to your vast uncertainty. you say too much, and yet not enough…

  30. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 2:00 PM #

    Randy, let me put it in a context you may better understand.
    The Yankees had the 10th best starter's ERA last year. 10th out of 30. Better than 20 teams. That's … pretty darned good. No, not pretty. It IS flat out good.
    So why did they overhaul their pitching rotation? Hmm?
    Not everything is as it seems.

  31. randy l March 29, 2007 at 2:50 PM #

    evan,
    to get matsuzaka the red sox paid 103 million for 6 years. that's 17 million a year. i could say deal with it ,but i'm trying to be on my best behavior so i won't.
    matsuzaka is overpaid compared to igawa by 6 million a year( see above comment#18 for details),unless you think the japanese owners who knew both players had their comparitive salaries wrong.
    sometimes overpaying is worth it because it sets the tone for other pitchers. maybe that will happen. maybe beckett will be good beckett, maybe wakefield will be good wakefield, maybe shilling won't regress because of age( and carpal tunnel blogger syndrome), maybe lester will be as good as he started out last year.
    it could happen,that's a lot of maybes. five to be exact.

  32. The Judge. March 29, 2007 at 2:56 PM #

    ah….randy. spoken like a true pompous ass.
    why won't you just accept it, you can't make good arguments. you make poor ones. and they smell.
    now that is NOT my best behavior!
    goodbye!

  33. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 3:04 PM #

    Randy,
    And I don't think $103 million was overpaying at all. So I would be more than happy to deal with it.
    "maybe beckett will be good beckett, maybe wakefield will be good wakefield, maybe shilling won

  34. mouse March 29, 2007 at 3:30 PM #

    Ah, not even Opening Day and te Sox/Yankees banter is already in midseason form around here. :)
    For the record, I have a lot of faith in our pitching staff this year–I think it's going to be really good, and I'm so excited about the young core that's emerging in our rotation with Matsuzaka, Beckett and Lester, among others. I hope to watch all of them for years to come. But I never bet against the Yankees, even as I wish every night for them to crash and burn. Paranoid? Perhaps. But until that crash and burn actually happens, that's the stance I'll take.
    If we get the WC this year and make it back to the playoffs, I'll be a very happy camper. Winning the East wold just be extra good gravy.

  35. randy l March 29, 2007 at 3:37 PM #

    hey evan , glad to hear we're in agreement that the red sox staff is five maybes.
    we have consensus.

  36. Mo March 29, 2007 at 3:50 PM #

    Evan, Wells was 6 years older than Pettitte is, and I disagree on the Wakefield Moose comparison, but you are entitled to your opinion. Both teams have questions, and thanks for correcting me on the Wang comparison. I think we will have a better feel when April is over.
    Oh, and Judge, if you want to be a 6 year old because it makes you feel good, go watch the Disney Channel. In this comment section, you failed to make any baseball points. If you have nothing good to say, just shut it.

  37. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 4:08 PM #

    I definitely won't argue the wishful thinking part … which is why I'm thrilled to have you and randy commenting here. I think my semi-wishful thinking post and the optimistic Yankee projections from fans such as yourself balances things out nicely!

  38. JaredK March 29, 2007 at 4:19 PM #

    This posting would be more useful if it was an update on how Clay Bucholz is fairing today against TB? Anyone know how that went? Busy at work and looking for an update, I know SI does not post in real time until reg season begins. Thanks!

  39. Mo March 29, 2007 at 4:25 PM #

    Bucholz was solid, 3 runs in 4.2, more important if you're a sox fan is Papelbon and Okajima looking good.

  40. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 12:29 PM #

    To follow up what Mo said, what they said about Buccholz on the radio is:
    Curveball is a lot like K-Rod's
    Good change up
    95-97 mph FB, good command
    While his future is the rotation, maybe he can have a K-Rod impact in the bullpen late in the season…

  41. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 4:31 PM #

    Jared, here's a good source:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070329&…
    Check out the box score as well.

  42. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 4:33 PM #

    Mo: That's a good point. You don't factor in the injuries, I do. Well said.
    I do however have to disagree that the Yankees always seem to find the right guys to plug in holes. Well, I can't disagree with THAT, but I disagree with the implication. I don't think the Yankees have the depth at all this year to FIND those right guys.

  43. Mo March 29, 2007 at 4:35 PM #

    Evan, do you think the Sox will bring up any of those young pitchers at the tail end of this year, ie Bucholz, Bard, etc

  44. Mo March 29, 2007 at 12:42 PM #

    On the depth issue, they have a ton of ready/almost ready/big prospect type guys at AAA, I won't list them bc we've done that so many times. also, you never know what will happen with Clemens. And the idea is that they can find someone unexpected, ala Chacon and Small, who you can't identify now. Finally, they actually have prospect depth to make a deal for a good pitcher if they must.

  45. JaredK March 29, 2007 at 4:52 PM #

    Thanks Mo & Evan…I agree with you Evan as well, when his name was being included in closer talks…I knew that A). they would put Pappelbon back in the pen before they gave up Bucholz for someone like Cordero and that B). Bucholz might be a better closer then anyone available by July/August. Every report says he has ice water running through his veins (makes you wonder about plagurism in minor league/prospect reports) and an outstanding curve and change to go with is mid 90's heat. Maybe he will emerge to be the set-up guy in late August/Sept….

  46. Daniel Rathman March 29, 2007 at 5:58 PM #

    A friend of mine watched the game and said Buchholz was better than the stat-line would indicate. He had solid control and his curveball was excellent. He'll be good — as long as he never steals any more laptops. :-)

  47. Evan Brunell March 29, 2007 at 7:37 PM #

    I very much doubt Bard could/will be brought up, because he hasn't pitched professionally yet, but if Buchholz impresses in Portland, he could definitely see action in the majors if the Red Sox deem it prudent.
    Since we're so deep in SP (Lester, Snyder, Gabbard, Hansack) I have to guess that if Buchholz ever does come up, it's to provide a power arm out of the pen for the stretch.

  48. YankeeNYer March 29, 2007 at 8:07 PM #

    So deep at SP? Arent your 4th and 5th starters Wakefield and Tavarez? Since when are Lester, Snyder, Gabbard, Hansack considered reliable starters. Lester'smuch to prove before considering him a reliable 5th starter. And you said the Yankees don't have rotation depth? They have a lot more in the minors than Boston, that's for damn sure: Karstens, Rasner, Ohlendorf, Clippard, Hughes, Sanchez, etc. Funny how Hughes gets bashed when he gives up a run in a 1.1 inning outing. Buchholz gives up 3 runs in 4.2 innings on 7 hits and the conclusion is he has a great curve and fastball. Hughes had a ridiculous curve and mid-90s heat in his last ST start, but that never came up in anyones discussion. Also, the idea of Randy Johnson being similar to Pettitte results-wise mauy have validity. But don't forget how big Pettitte will be in the clubhouse – in place of the grumpy, miserable Johnson who oviously didnt like his time in NY. Same addition by substraction themme can go for Gary Sheffiled. Who was a force at the plate, but a complete ass off the field.

  49. Mo March 29, 2007 at 9:37 PM #

    YankeeNyer, you took the words out of my mouth. The Redsox rotation may have more potential, but there is no way they have more depth. And the chemistry issue is a good point as well. the team went from having 3 major distractions to one.

  50. Mike Edelman March 29, 2007 at 9:46 PM #

    YankeeNYer, Lester's numbers in his rookie season would be good enough to be quite the reliable back end of the rotation starter in the AL East. As for the Yankees having a lot more starters in the minors, the Red Sox have just as much. Don't you remember all the Red Sox pitchers that got major league experience last year? I believe the Red Sox have about 8 (now that Bernero is out for the season) minor league starters with major league experience. How many do the Yankees have?
    As for Johnson being a distraction you're completely right. I meant to say at the end of my comparison that at least Pettitte wants to be in NY. It's not as if the Yankees have great clubhouse chemistry now even without Johnson and Sheffield though.

  51. Mo March 29, 2007 at 10:34 PM #

    Mike, they no longer have the negative chemistry those two brought.
    Also, you have to admit that the Yankee depth at AAA has more upside than the Sox guys, although as you said, the Sox guys have more experience.

  52. Evan Brunell March 30, 2007 at 12:10 AM #

    That's ridiculous.
    Karstens = Tavarez
    Rasner = Snyder
    Ohlendorf = Gabbard (edge to Gabbard)
    Clippard = Pauley
    Hughes = Buchholz (Edge to Hughes)
    Sanchez = Lester (edge to Lester, Sanchez will end up a RP)

  53. Evan Brunell March 30, 2007 at 12:11 AM #

    Before you guys ask the inevitable: Ohlendorf projects as a RP, Gabbard does not.

  54. Mike Edelman March 30, 2007 at 12:36 AM #

    Mo, while I would agree that the Yankees have more upside overall (due to Hughes), I think the Red Sox have more solid backups for 2007. Hughes at best won't be up until the All-Star break and even then you can't count on him for anything.
    To be honest, arguing which has better depth is kind of silly. This is baseball we're talking about, chance plays quite a large roll. I don't think anyone would say Aaron Small is a good backup but he went 10-0 for you guys in 2005. Pitching from the minor leagues is so unpredictable that it's kind of useless to attempt to project how they could help out a team next year.

  55. Mo March 30, 2007 at 12:54 AM #

    I agrre 100 percent Mike. In a sense, we are trying to predict a surprise. If you could do that , it wouldnt be a surprise.

  56. Mo March 30, 2007 at 1:18 AM #

    I would take the Yankees side of that equation any day of the week.

  57. Evan Brunell March 30, 2007 at 8:58 AM #

    Well that's a shame because two of those people are going to be relievers, leaving you with only one goodie in Hughes.

  58. Mo March 30, 2007 at 9:25 AM #

    Right, and all six of the redsox guys will be successful starters? Just because you think they will be RP doesnt mean they will. I have seen plenty of people project Ohlendorf and Sanchez as starters. Meanwhile, two of the guys on your list are Tavarez and Snyder, who you can keep.

  59. Daniel Rathman March 30, 2007 at 10:36 AM #

    Mo:
    Sanchez projects as a reliever and is likely an overrated prospect — to re-phrase several sources, including Baseball Prospectus.
    Ohlendorf could go either way, but is a much better prospect for the bullpen than he is for the rotation because of his un-overpowering stuff.
    Pitching prospect-wise, the clubs are about even right now; the edge goes slightly to the Yankees because of Hughes.

  60. Evan Brunell March 30, 2007 at 10:40 AM #

    Yeah, exactly. That's my point. In terms of overall pitching talent, the edge goes to the Yankees. Starting pitching talent? Oh pfft, the Red Sox. The Yankees can add Joba Chamberlain and Dellin Betances to the mix. We can add Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Justin Masterson, Kris Johnson, Felix Doubront.

  61. Mo March 30, 2007 at 1:02 PM #

    oh, and Evan, you left out some Yankee prospects- Whelan, Kontos, Garcia, Kennedy, Cox, Norton, Jackson, Wright, to name a few. The Yankees dont have much position player depth in the minors, but they are now one of the more pitching rich organizations.

  62. Evan Brunell March 30, 2007 at 1:27 PM #

    You're right, I forgot about Kennedy, but Whelan is a reliever, if you don't know. And I've never heard of any of the others other than Christian Jackson, and I've heard of the Sox ones … and in all honesty, It has nothing to do with me being a Sox fan. I've seen these names bandied about on the national scale. Our crop as compared to your crop unquestionably has a higher ceiling.
    But if you disagree, I think we should just leave it at that.

  63. Mo March 30, 2007 at 2:29 PM #

    Go look at John Sickels prospect handbook-Yankee fans know all of those names- an I haven't heard many of your guys on the national stage. But prospects are such a crapshoot, so we can agree to disagrree

  64. Mo March 30, 2007 at 10:55 AM #

    Furthermore, when ranking the farm systems, Keith Law had the Yankees 5th and the Sox 14th, and BP had the Yankees 4th (sox 11th) due to "the best collection of mound talent in the game." (Thats a pretty definitive statement) And Sickels had Kontos, Norton, and Garcia rated ahead of Ohlendorf. They are recognized names as much as Johnson and Doubront are.

  65. Evan Brunell March 30, 2007 at 11:10 AM #

    Interesting, I stand corrected. But you're right, prospects are a crapshoot. Let's not waste time arguing about them.

  66. Mo March 30, 2007 at 3:34 PM #

    Finally, we agree.

  67. Mike Boehm March 30, 2007 at 12:06 PM #

    This is high up on the list of bad marketic decisions from MLB. Do they have a room full of people sitting around all day thinking about things the fans like and then find ways to ban those things?
    This is beyond stupid. There's just no point! So Pesky sits on the bench. So what? Who cares? Who's it hurting?
    On the flip side, couldn't the Red Sox just give him a job as a coach or call him a trainer or something? Then MLB couldn't say anything.

  68. Mo March 30, 2007 at 1:04 PM #

    Of whom all but two project as starters.

  69. Daniel Rathman March 30, 2007 at 9:06 PM #

    Ridiculous, simply ridiculous. But as Mike Boehm mentioned, why don't the Sox just make Pesky a coach? Is there a rule preventing that also?
    Back to the Sox themselves … 3 thoughts on today's game:
    1. Tavarez looked good. Even though Juligan, er, Julian was hit hard a couple of times, overall, this was a solid outing. The biggest plus was probably that Tavarez walked only 1 batter in 5.2 innings of work, and allowed only one extra-base hit.
    2. Dustin Pedroia can rake! OK, maybe it's a bit premature to say that, but he had a nice blast off Hamels, who served-up 4 of those. Maybe this will give him the confidence he needs to get off to a hot start.
    3. Kyle Snyder's outing today was a classic example of Tito leaving pitchers in the game for far too long. After 2 innings of work, he should've pulled Snyder for Travis Hughes, but instead, he let the Phils clobber him for 4 earned runs in the 9th inning. I think this outing is a perfect example of why Snyder should be a 1- or 2-inning reliever, as he's tricky the first time, but disturbingly hittable the second time through the order.
    Overall, I think this was a solid performance.
    2 days, 15 hours, 3 minutes until Julio Lugo takes ball one from Gil Meche.

  70. Tim K. March 31, 2007 at 11:36 AM #

    love your analysis of The Yankees even if you completely ignore reality. The Yankees starting rotation is old? Average age of starters 31.2 years; Red sox starters 33 years. hmmm. Please do not ever compare Youk to Abreu. You are comparing a lifetime .302 hitter(he hit .330 with the yanks last year) to someone who has never hit above .279. Just because they had the same number of walks last year doesn't make them equal. Have any of you myopic Red Sox fans noticed that Igawa has almost the same spring training stat line that Dice-K has? Not to mention Igawa hasn't been saved for Boston College and The Marlin's AA regulars. Gotta love Chowds, always good for a laugh.

  71. Howard Shanley March 31, 2007 at 2:14 PM #

    Oh my what a web we weave brunell! You are more stupid then you actually look! Let us bow down to your almighty red sox! Ha! Ha! I guess we should not even show up this year since you have already won. Give me a break! The yanks may have a few injury problems now but your ship is full of holes to my friend! Drew will want to be put on DL for rest of the year by june because of an ingrown toe nail. Lugo will be booed out of town when he makes his 21st error of the season before July. Manny will permanently disappear in the green monster this year and show up on the discovery channel. And if I am not mistaken half of the sux will be on medicare before the end of the season. Peg leg shilling will finally fall from grace and Diced/Meat will get shredded when he finally starts competing against the big boys! And I won't even mention "Moon Ball" Beckett has enrolled in school to be a astronaut! I know I am scared and I am going to call Joe Torre up now and tell him there is no reason to play any ball this year. My 10 year old has more intelligence then you do! I have made a copy of this article so I can send it back to you in september and laugh all winter long!