Monday, April 6, 2009
Longest Offseason Ever
The Yankees last meaningful game was played August 26th, 2008. That was 7 months ago. To say that it was a long offseason doesnt really do it justice. The Yankees had been playing meaningful baseball well into October for over 12 years before 2008. For the season to end so abruptly in August, without a trip to the postseason, was a huge disappointment to say the least. The winter months saw the Yankees build a new stadium, massively upgrade their starting rotation, add speed and power to the lineup, and improve their outfield defense, while their archrival, The Boston Red Sox, fumbled in their attempts to replace the irreplaceable Manny Ramirez. All things considered, Im very optimistic going into the 2009 season.
Im going to go on the record and say the Yankees are going to win 100 games this year, and in convincing fashion. Here are the key factors:
A) The best starting 5 in baseball: CC Sabbathia, AJ Burnett, Chien Ming Wang, Andy Pettite, and Joba Chamberlain. They all have to perform, and they all have to stay healthy.
B) Arod - he is still the best player in the game, even though during the offseason he admitted to juicing while with Texas, and had hip surgery in March. Can he overcome these mental and physical obstacles to keep his spot as top dog when he returns to the lineup in May?
C) Mo - Mariano River is the greatest reliever in the history of baseball, but hes not getting any younger. He turned 39 this past November, so we have to expect to finally see some sort of decline set in soon. But, people have been saying that about Mo for the past 5 years, and every year he has proven them all wrong. History, statistics, age - those things just cant be applied to Mo. Hes always been different, and always will be.
D) Posada - Coming off shoulder surgery, at the ripe age of 37 (ancient for a catcher), who knows what to expect from the veteran Clipper catcher. He hit .338 with 20 homers and 90 RBIs in 2007, an epic year by any standards. If he stays healthy and doesnt spend too much time behind the plate, he could have another couple of solid years left.
E) The Kids - Cano, Melky, Gardner - these guys have to step it up this year. After a heated competition for the starting center fielder job in spring training, Gardner won it by a nose. Look for him to have a hot start, or be riding the bench by June.