February 15, 2005


Let’s see, some of the phrases eliminated from the Yankee’s fans dictionary this past season now include:
“It’s not a rivalry if one team wins all the time”,
“86 years and counting”,
“The curse of the Bambino”,
“I’d rather have Javier Vazquez and Kevin Brown than Curt Schilling any day”.

World Champion Boston Red Sox. Ah, it still looks so beautiful.

Jacob Luft at Si.com took a pre-emptative strike and ranked the American League rotations (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/jacob_luft/02/10/al.rotations/index.html) before I could finish my Red Sox rotation analysis. It was nice to see that the statistics back the Sox, as he ranked them as the top rotation of the league, ahead of the Yankees rebuilt rotation.

While I understand that the Yankees have moved to a more power pitcher rotation (emphasizing strikeouts) with the additions of Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, and Randy Johnson. Johnson is still a top power pitcher, but, with health risks--a short-term solution. Pavano is a good pitcher. I can’t write anything bad about him other than he picked pitching for the Yankees over the Sox. Jaret Wright I just don’t understand. There are so many injury issues with this guy that I can’t think he’s anything other than a “one career year and get rich quick” pitcher.

Of course, the holdovers, Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown, are scary in their own right. Mussina appeared to have lost his dominant stuff last year, and he looked very ordinary at times. Kevin Brown, when he wasn’t beating up on the Devil Rays, was downright abysmal. Somehow, the Yankees got frugal at the wrong time in regard to their best post-season pitchers, Jon Lieber and Esteban Loaiza. Lieber, though not a power pitcher, was easily their best pitcher in the post-season. Loaiza looked good as well, dominating for stretches.

They dumped Javier Vazquez off in the Big Unit deal as well. Amazing how he went from prize jewel to castaway in the course of a season. I always like Vazquez when he pitched for Montreal. Apparently, he is just one of those pitchers who wilted under the bright New York spotlight. Of course, the Big Unit showed how he responds to media pressure in his manhandling of a camera. I was hoping he’d deck the guy ala Sean Penn in the Madonna days. I wonder what the odds are of Wright and Pavano sitting in their NYC apartments this summer thinking, “what the hell have I got myself into?”

Of course, on offense, the Bronx Bombers are still planning on trotting out Horsehead Posada, Jason Giambi, Tony Womack (another “one career year and get rich quick” guy), and the most expensive left side of the infield ever: Jeter & A-Rod. The outfield boasts Bobblehead Matsui, Bernie “No Knees” Williams, and Gary Sheffield, who’s due for another one of those eighty games active, eighty games on the disabled list seasons. Other than Mariano Rivera, the bullpen consists of over-worked Tom Gordon and Paul Quantrill, and crossed-fingers for middle relief. This is what $200 million dollars buys a team?

Of course, as Joe Torre proved last season when he wore out his bullpen down the stretch, it is most important for the Yankees to win the division. I don’t know why that was so important to him, but I wasn’t complaining when Tom Gordon was pitching like he had a Steven King curse on him in the ALCS.

All Content by Hal Bent Copyright 2005