2007 New York Yankees Baseball Preview
The New York Yankees (97- 65) finished first once again last season and, once again, made an early exit from the playoffs when the Tigers knocked them out in round one. Although they still possess a potent line-up, the fact is their pitching rotation is questionable.
Here’s the starting rotation—Chien-Ming Wang (19- 6, 3.63 ERA), Andy Pettitte (14- 13, 4.20 ERA), Mike Mussina (15- 7, 3.51 ERA), Kei Igawa (14- 9, 2.97 ERA in Japan) and Carl Pavano (no AL record). Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera (5- 5, 1.80 ERA, 38 SV) will close. He’s been dynamite but also, at times, inconsistent. Rivera is 37-years old. The rest of the bullpen has been good but unpredictable.
If you think hitting is all that, then the Yanks are “all that.” Johnny Damon (.285 AVG, 80 RBI, 24 HR, 25 SB) has power, speed and consistency in the leadoff position and Derek Jeter (.343 AVG, 97 RBI, 14 HR) continues to be one of the best hitters in the league. Jason Giambi (.253AVG, 113 RBI, 37 HR) strikes out but also provides power. Robinson Cano (.342 AVG, 78 RBI, 15 HR) and Alex Rodriguez (.290 AVG, 121 RBI, 35 HR) are both fine forces. Then there’s the disciplined Matsui (.302 AVG, 29 RBI, 8 HR).
The Yankee fielding continues to be questionable. The team was ninth in fielding and twelfth in double plays last season. Jeter won another Gold Glove at short and Cano has been solid at second. Roderiguez has been tough to watch at third, while the Yanks have Gold Glover Doug Mientkiewicz at first. The outfield can track balls down but arms are questionable.
Manager Joe Torre and GM Brian Cashman are two of the best. Torre, whose relationship with owner Steinbrenner has been strained, is in the final year of his contract. Whether he guides the Bronx Bombers to another title or not, chances are that he is out after 2007.
In the end, the AL East will come down to pitching. The Red Sox, Jays and Yankees have plenty of hitting. But the rotation and bullpen will make or break the Yanks.
For more info on the Yankees check out the MLB official page for New York baseball.