A new day has come. The 2009 MLB season is arriving, finally!
Once again the Yankees are going to be must-see TV. Armed with a new stadium and their old-school arrogance the Yankees are expecting nothing less than a championship and there will be a lot of pressure on the manager and players to deliver the 27th World Series to the Bronx.
Seriously, has an offseason ever felt this long to anyone? It honestly feels like yesterday that the Yankees said goodbye to their old friend and stadium with a tribute that was both garish and somewhat classless. (Remember, Joe Torre wasn't mentioned in the festivities.)
But, that tribute to the Old Yankee Stadium was just like the Yankees: Grandiose, brash, somewhat classless and a spectacle worth viewing all at once. Love them or hate them, the tribute really was the epitome of the Yankees franchise.
Now 2009 is here! And the Yankees have many reasons to be excited for the start of a new era in the Bronx. With the start of every season in baseball hope springs eternal. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And with the Yankees, there are a lot of things to like and a few to dislike.
I may miss a few things so please feel free to interject something that you like or hate about the current assembled roster. This piece of writing I want to be a living, breathing article. I'm going to write a point and counterpoint for each of the things on here.
Let me know what you think!
Here are the likes and dislikes:
I like this pitching staff! I like the quality and the depth. I like the addition of CC (Not C.C.) Sabathia. I'm iffy on the Burnett signing. It looks amazing if he stays healthy. If he doesn't, it's another Pavano deal on their books!
I still have trouble thinking this rotation of CC, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, and Chamberlain can top the potential five starters Boston could throw out. Beckett, Lester, and Dice-K are arguably the three best pitchers in Boston since Clemens, Oil Can Boyd, and Hurst.
Sabathia is already a clubhouse fit at this part of his tenure in pinstripes. Remember 2005 when another really tall, over-sized left-hander made a jackass out of himself and never really got comfortable in the Bronx?
Yeah, me too, that was Randy Johnson and thank God he's gone! The only thing that stunk about getting rid of Johnson was that Brian Cashman got nothing in return for him. Nothing of value, except to get a prick out of the locker room came from that deal.
I like the fact that CC can be an ace and he could potentially carry a franchise on his mammoth back like he did with the Brewers last fall.
What I don't like is the fact that he's never pitched particularly well in the playoffs and is going to a place where learning the ropes in the postseason is unacceptable. This is something that may take a little time to solve because the Yankees aren't guaranteed a spot in the postseason anymore like they used to be.
Here's what else I don't like about the CC Sabathia move. I don't like the innings he's thrown over the last two years. Seriously, 494 innings is a TON of innings. That doesn't count the playoffs either. Also, I wasn't nuts about the Brewers pitching him on three days rest consistently either.
I do like the fact that he asked for the ball, and he had dogged determination to win the games that he pitched. Free agency be damned in his quest for the Brewers playoff hopes. That's respectable. Lord knows the Yankees need more guys on their team like that!
Another thing I don't like about the CC deal is his contract. If he pitches great, and I hope does, he can opt out after three years! He has the Yankees over the barrel on this one. If he's a bust or gets hurt, he doesn't have to opt out at all. Yikes!
Another thing I like about the Yankees in 2009 is the fact they wised up and signed Andy Pettitte. I also like that he doesn't have the steroid admission/guilt hanging over his head like he did last year.
Honestly, the guy should have won 18 games in 2007 and he just seemed off for the start of the year last year. Now, he can breathe in the fresh air and not worry about that stuff anymore.
He still could get called to put his old teammate, Roger Clemens, in a tough spot if he goes to trial. Let's all hope that when Clemens gets indicted for perjury, and he'll get indicted, that it happens next year.
Plus, it would have been stupid for the Yankees to try to save a few million after they committed over 400 million dollars in free agency in the offseason. This deal basically was insurance if one of the starters go down.
You could tell Cashman didn't want to throw Kennedy and Hughes into the fire like he did at this time last year.
The deal with Pettitte is mutualistic at best! Pettitte gets a great contract, gets more money if he hits his incentives and the Yankees have the depth they need at the front end and back end of their rotation now.
Even if two of the starters go down, they still have Hughes and Kennedy that could step up for a few games. No, Igawa probably won't see the mound for the Bombers this year. Thank God; he sucks!
This deal with Pettitte really was like a good one night stand: You get yours, they get theirs, and at the end of the day, they can leave one another after the season is over. Very little commitment is involved here and the Yankees need as much of that right now as they can get.
Here's something I don't like about the Yankees in 2009: their defense. Jeter is spotty, and that's kind. Matsui is a corpse in the outfield with knee troubles. Damon can't throw at all and Cano is consistently lazy. You also know that teams are going to test Posada's repaired shoulder to see if it can still hold up.
Although, if A-Rod is healthy he's a great third baseman and Mark Teixeira is a great first baseman. Brett Gardner can run like the wind and they do have a modicum of depth because of Nick Swisher. Overall, still, they're not great on defense.
Another thing I like about the Yankees in 2009 is the lineup. (Even though I'm not nuts about it now that Matsui is there and Manny isn't.)
I think the Yankees should have taken a page out of the Tigers' book and DFA Matsui. I know he's a great hitter when healthy, that just seems rare now these days. Plus, Matsui is going to be a sitting duck on the base paths that will clog everything up!
I do like the fact that Jeter and Damon are leading off. Double plays will be a lot harder to come by now that Damon, with great speed still, can run out of a lot of double plays. I also love Mark Teixeira batting third once A-Rod comes back.
If Cano can actually take what Kevin Long said to heart he could be great again.
Another thing not to like about the current Yankees is the fact that A-Rod is coming back and may be hurt or mentally fatigued already. Honestly, if you told me A-Rod will hit 35 home runs and drive in 110 runs I could believe that.
If you told me he will blame the hip and opt for surgery because he can't handle the pressure I could believe that.
Anything is possible with A-Rod this year. A-Rod really is in a fascinating spot and a lot of attention will be on him. And that's just the way he likes it!
Another thing I am not nuts about the Yankees in 2009 is Robby Cano. Honestly, he better have a short leash this year! He took off way too many plays last year and way too many at bats were squandered by his laziness.
It took Girardi until the end of the year to deal with this problem, but by that time it was way too late. Cano is young and amazingly talented but it seems like he needs someone like a Larry Bowa to motivate him and ride his ass every freaking day!
It just seemed that once he got fiscal security he stopped giving a damn about playing hard everyday. Say what you want about A-Rod, but he busts his butt everyday, even if it just for people to look at him.
I think 2009 could be a year that Brett Gardner takes off! Seriously, I like Brett Gardner. Any smart Yankees fan knows what Melky Cabrera is: He's a decent outfielder that can't get on base and that will throw a few runners and play decent defense.
Gardner could be a weapon that the Yankees utilize now that the Steroid Era is over. Speed and defense matter now more than ever.
I think a lot of teams, like the Detroit Tigers, are going to suffer a horrible hangover from no speed and even less flexibility. The Tigers were built for 2002, not 2009! Hence the reason Sheffield was released!
Lastly, I think the Yankees bullpen is iffy. Edwar Ramirez is a joke. Phil Coke was terrific last year. Brian Bruney looked great when he was healthy. And Jose Veras can be great and can be bad. Mo is still one of the best closers in the game, if not the best. But they certainly seem like they far from perfect.
So what do you think? Do you like the Yankees' chances? Will they make the playoffs? Can they win the World Series?