Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Getting to Know a Rival: New York Yankees

Haven't done one of these in a little while. The Yankees are not a divisional threat, but caused the Mariners problems in the Wild Card race last season, so they should be considered somewhat of a rival.

Manager: Joe Girardi - 1st season

2007: 94-68, 2nd AL East

Coming In: RHP LaTroy Hawkins, 3B Morgan Ensberg, RHP Jonathan Albaladejo, OF Jason Lane

Packed Their Bags: Manager Joe Torre, RHP Roger Clemens, RHP Luis Vizcaino, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, INF Andy Phillips, LHP Ron Villone, RHP Tyler Clippard

Projected Lineup:

C: Jorge Posada
1B: Shelley Duncan/Wilson Betemit
2B: Robinson Cano
3B: Alex Rodriguez
SS: Derek Jeter
LF: Jhonny Damon
CF: Melky Cabrera
RF: Bobby Abreu
DH: Hideki Matsui

Projected Rotation

1. Chien-Ming Wang
2. Andy Pettitte
3. Phil Hughes
4. Ian Kennedy
5. Mike Mussina

Projected Bullpen

LRP: Edwar Ramirez
LRP: Ross Ohlendorf
LRP: Jose Veras
MRP: LaTroy Hawkins
MRP: Kyle Farnsworth
SU: Joba Chamberlain
CP: Mariano Rivera

Offensive Outlook: The Yankees have always been known for their high powered offence. 2007 was no difference. Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters in the game, and maybe ever. Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui are all very good hitters too. I don't know what to say about Betimet, Duncun or Damon. All three are above average hitters in my opinion, but aren't that great. Health is going to be an issue for this offence. The rotation of Matsui, Damon, Cabrera, and Abreu between DH and all of the outfield positions worked out okay last season, and depending on what new manager Joe Girardi decides, it would be a good idea. All of the mentioned, except for Cabrera were injured at some point last year, and now are getting another year older. Cabrera is still pretty young, and has stayed injury free for most of his short career. This is a great offence, and should be so again in 2008.

Rotation Outlook: This is what's going to be the downfall of the Yankees if there is one. Wang has established hisself as a solid pitcher, but Mussina and Pettitte are getting older, and I'm not too sure of what the effect of the Mitchell Report will have on Pettitte. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy are both excellent pitching prospects. I don't mind Hughes starting with the team, but I think that the Yankees are rushing Kennedy a little bit. I don't expect a lot from Hughes and Kennedy, as they are new to the bigs, but if the Yanks can give them the runs that they probably will, than they will be fine. Overall, I'm very iffy on this rotation. I don't know if Mosse and Pettitte can stay healthy for another whole season, and like I mentioned, I don't know what the whole Roger Clemens/Congress/Mitchell Report crap will affect him. Hughes and Kennedy look too tender. You'd think that with all of the money that the Yankees have, they could buy a good rotation, but pitching hasn't been their strong suit these past few years.

Bullpen Outlook: Again, why can't the Yankees buy a decent bullpen? Rivera looks fine as a closer, and Hawkins and Farnsworth are decent pitchers. I don't know what to expect from Joba Chamberlain as a set up man. I have never heard of Edwar Ramirez or Ross Ohlendorf. I've heard of Jose Veras a couple times, but it doesn't seem Yankee like to have a couple no-names on their team. Health doesn't seem to be that much of an issue, it's more what you could get out of them. If they Yankees put up their usual bombing amount of runs, than this bullpen should turn out okay. Again, I can't believe how cheap this bullpen is.

Prognosis: They are the Yankees. Not much else needed to be said. There will be a few more variables this time around though. I'm not sure what kind of a mood the team is in after the Joe Torre saga coming to what I'd consider a rude ending. The Yanks didn't get any better, but they don't look any worse. Once the bats get going, then this team will become a pain in the but for the Mariners of they aren't running away with the division come about May.

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