Great, its a new year. Let's look to the new season, and be thankful that Pitchers and Catchers is less than two months away. Now on to business:
It has been 6 long seasons since the last championship. 3 Seasons since we've made it to the Fall Classic. OK, fine, I know its not a Bostonian or Cub-like drought. And I know that 6 seasons is a lot shorter than the 18 seasons between championships (78-96) before, but, we are the Yankees - right?
I mean, by the numbers, we are overdue if we go longer than 4 seasons without another championship. So let's take a look to see if this drought is finally going to come to an end..
As of 1/1/2007, anyway, here's our batting lineup:
(L) Damon CF, (R) Jeter SS, (L) Abreu RF, (R) A-Rod 3B, (L) Matsui LF, (L) Giambi DH, (S) Posada C, (L) Cano 2B, (R) Phillips/Phelps 1B
On the Bench: Cabrera (for now), Promising OFs Kevin Reese, Kevin Thompson
We don't know the status of Bernie Williams yet, and we are in need of an infielding platooner. Is Wil Nieves truly a back up for Posada? Question marks - but at least our question marks are about who is coming off of the bench, not holes to fill in the starting lineup. And, if the lineup is healthy - that is a pretty damn good line up that should eat up pitching no matter who they're facing (Dice-K included!). This lineup will hit for average, power, speed, it has it all. And will probably be not only of the most productive in MLB this season, but more like one of the most productive of All-Time. What's up.
Starting Pitching: (R) Wang, (L) Pettitte, (R) Mussina, (R) Pavano, (L) Igawa, (L) Johnson for now, (R) Karstens, (R) Rasner, (R) Hughes
Bull Pen: (R) Rivera, (R) Farnsworth, (R) Proctor, (R) Sanchez, (L) Myers, (L) Chas Wright?
OK, clearly we are a little light in the Left Handed Pitching dept. I don't expect Johnson to be around for 2007 (as I have stated on several occasions in the past) which is fine - why? Because I think that Darryl Rasner and Karstens are good quality pitchers that just need an open door to take advantage of. Perhaps, if there are no spots on the starting squad, they'll get some time in long Middle Relief mop up, but they very much could be a factor. Its not a matter of IF, but WHEN for Hughes - I for one, think the hype is getting a tad old, and want to see what he can do in the Bigs. And, not that there is any evidence of this for sure - just a hunch and my shameless bias toward underdogs, I think Pavano is out to prove something and is going to be all business in 2007. All in all, when you look at the shortcomings in the pitching staff, who doesn't have a need for another lefty coming out of the bull pen? And while there are other formidable pitching rotations, is there really going to be an all around better one if we can have Wang, Mussina, and a healthy Pettitte and Pavano? No there's not. The Yanks will have the best pitching top to bottom in 2007.
When you look at the offensive lineup, that gets a grade of an A. And a solid A at that. It is the kind of line up that will get us to the post season alone regardless of who's pitching for us. But we could give a crap about the regular season, our goal is to win during the real season that starts and ends in October and we're going to need pitching for that. The starting pitching gets an A- with three of the 5 starting spots (Wang, Mussina, and Pettitte) spoken for with proven talent, and 6 capable athletes vying for the final 2. As mentioned earlier, no one, has a better starting rotation heading into Spring Training than the Yanks. Let's see what can carry forward though. Bull pen gets a B . Greatest closer in the world with the durable Proctor and the occasional Farnsworth will get us through most situations and is probably in the top 4 for closing situations right there. However, I think we very much need a Lefty like a vintage Mike Stanton type to get us through some jams though. Maybe Chas Wright, who has good numbers, will be the answer, but its a unknown, and that's why the B. But let's make this clear right now, its a B, but is still Better than everyone else's.
Throw in that intangible. You know, that play for something attitude, fueled by the anger as a result of being kicked out in the first round two years in a row, and Jeter's desire to prove he can win without Paul O'Neill, and A-Rod's desire to prove he's not a bust, and Matsui's desire to show he's back and ready to go, and Cano to show that he's no flash in the pan, and on and on and on and I would say, that there is an over whelming amount of evidence that 2007 is in fact, the year of championship number 27.
That is the ultimate prize of course, but I'm not stopping there. In 2007, this squad will surpass the 1998 team record for wins, will have an AL MVP, AL Batting Champion, and a CY Young finalist.
2007 - This Is Going To Be Our Year.
Happy New Year to everyone and everywhere except in the Greater New England Area!