Monday, July 28, 2008

Yankees: Pretender or Contender

After winning nine straight division titles, and making the playoffs every year since 1995, the dynasty known as the Yankees are in a decline.
Last season we saw the Yankees stumble out of the gate only to regain their footage, make a run towards the playoffs fitted with young stars who came up and damn near saved the season. Oh, they also had an MVP named Alex Rodriguez.

This season is almost a replica of last year. Poor clutch hitting, bullpen implosions, and another slow start. At least they still have that MVP fella.
A rash of injuries have taken playing time away from A-Rod, ace Chein-Ming Wang, pitcher friendly Jorge Posada, two break through seasons from Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, plus the injuries from Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Brian Bruney (was paid to mention Bruney's name).

The Yankees, in desperate need of relief pitching and a live bat have made headlines.

Joba Chamberlain was removed from the pen to the starting rotation raising questions on who the bridge will be to Rivera. Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins do not have impressive resumes.

Richie Sexson was recently taken from waivers and thrown in the line up and will be used against left-handed pitchers giving more power to the line up who suffer heavily under lefties.

But before I give my two cents, it does amaze me how things just fall in place. Mussina has already matched last seasons win total, Chamberlain has been a very effective starter, and Farnsworth made a turn around providing just enough support to get to Rivera. And speaking of Rivera, 23 for 23 in save opportunities is something to be noticed.

What the Yankees need to do before the July 31 deadline is trade away a bat for an arm. Granted the Yankees are suffering in the once surplussed outfield, I say trade Bobby Abreu for a #2 or #3 starting pitcher.
Randy Wolf of the Padres, Paul Byrd of the Indians, and even Bronson Arroyo from the Reds are all possibilities.

The Yankees have plenty of bats, trade one for a pitcher to bolster the rotation, and better yet, the relief corps. Granted, good relievers are hard to come by, but if there is a will, Big Stein will pay.

The offense is still there, only down by about a run per game from last year. Hitting will only improve. If the pitching stays the same, and the Yankees add one arm, whether it be a starter or reliever, the Yankees have a great chance of reaching the playoffs again.

With that, the Yankees can be a contender. But until then, and it pains me to say this, right now they are pretenders.


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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 3:54 PM


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