Left-handed Reliever Mike Stanton
(trade); Right-handed Reliever Felix Rodriguez (trade); 2b Tony Womack (free
agent - 2 year contract); Right-handed Starter Carl Pavano (free agent - 4 year
contract); Right handed Starter Jaret Wright (free agent - 3 year contract); 1b
Tino Martinez (free agent - 1 year contract with an option for 2006);
Left-handed Starter Randy Johnson (trade)
Right-handed Starter Jon Lieber (free
agent); Right-handed Starter Esteban Loaiza (free agent); Right-handed Starter
Javier Vazquez (trade); Left-handed Starter Brad Halsey (trade); Left-handed
Reliever Felix Heredia (trade); 2b Miguel Cairo (free agent); OF Kenny Lofton
(trade); IF Enrique Wilson (free agent); 1b John Olerud (free agent); 1b Tony Clark (free agent)
1: SS Derek Jeter
2: 3b Alex Rodriguez
3: RF Gary Sheffield
4: LF Hideki Matsui
5: C Jorge Posada
6: CF Bernie Williams
7: DH Jason Giambi
8: 1b Tino Martinez
9: 2b Tony Womack
Can it be possible for a team to have
too many good hitters in it? In the Yankees case, it is one of the few problems
that the team has. Although Tony Womack appears to be the more ideal leadoff
hitter, Joe Torre is not going to want the likes of Jason Giambi or Tino
Martinez in the last spot in the lineup. Womack at the bottom and Jeter at the
top gives Torre new options in the speed and base running department.
The only other decisions that have to
made is what will be the best way to situate the middle of the lineup. In this
case, Alex Rodriguez might look good in the two spot again with Jeter in front
and Gary Sheffield behind him. Again, he'll likely be the most dangerous number
two man in the game.
It looks like it will be another
season of Bernie Williams manning center field. However, he is going to need to
take on some DH duties once in a while to keep him healthy all season. That is
where the Martinez/Giambi/Williams cycle begins. However, Torre is going to want
fan favorite and slick fielding Tino Martinez to see as much action as possible.
Aside from that, there no gaping holes
in this lineup barring any injuries. One question mark will be Gary Sheffield's
surgically shoulder. There is no true replacement in this lineup if he goes
down. But at full strength, Joe Torre and his staff have a lot to work with.
C John Flaherty
IF Rey Sanchez
OF/DH Ruben Sierra
OF Doug Glanville
Unlike years past, the Yankee bench
isn't particularly a strength to begin 2005 season. However, Doug Glanville
should become a more than serviceable back for Bernie Williams in center field,
or any other outfielder for that matter. He is a much better presence than Bubba Crosby would have been.
An one time Yankee, Sanchez is an
excellent addition to the bench, however. He knows what it takes to play in New
York and serving as a backup is a familiar role for him.
We already know what we are getting
from Ruben Sierra. Although he may strikeout quite a bit, he's been there in
clutch situations many teams. He is the Yankees biggest power threat off the
Another important thing to consider is
the veteran depth the club has at AAA. 27 year old, Damian Rolls is a perfect
example of this. He could be called up anytime to fill in at 3b, 2b and
LH Randy Johnson
RH Mike Mussina
RH Carl Pavano
RH Kevin Brown
RH Jaret Wright
Well, the Yankees got what they've
wanted, needed and longed for since last spring. They got their, ace, their
lefty starter and probably the best pitcher you can find in the game today. We
can expect nothing less from Randy Johnson than yet another dominating season in
his already amazing career.
Mike Mussina was never truly a guy
meant to carry this Yankee staff. However, he'll make a spectacular one-two
punch with The Big Unit. And, despite the pessimist's words, there is no reason
to believe that Carl Pavano can't duplicate his 2004 campaign.
Kevin Brown, the man everyone wanted
gone, is still not exactly a horrible option. In fact, if healthy, he'll be a
major factor on this staff. And, Jaret Wright or Brown may end up being the best
5th starter in the game. But, they simply need to stay healthy.
Closer Mariano Rivera
MR Steve Karsay
MR Mike Stanton
MR Felix Rodriguez
MR Paul Quantrill
MR Tom Gordon
MR Tanyon Sturtze
Mariano Rivera could be the great
closer of all time. He needs no introduction. Look for him to have another
dominating year and some much needed rest as a result of the bullpen depth that
As for Karsay, he has shown he can be
a very effective setup man but will he be able to stay healthy? If he is, he'll
be a huge lift for QuanGorMo.
We all know Felix Rodriguez has
electric stuff but does he stand the New York pressure test. We'll just have to
wait and see. But, he won't have as much pressure considering his supporting
cast. Not to mention, he dominated lefties in 2004.
Here he is, the lone lefty in the pen,
Mike Stanton. It isn't certain how much he has left in the tank but he provides
another veteran presence in the pen. He'll be the one who has to come out and
face David Ortiz in a big spot.
Tom Gordon imploded under the pressure
on the playoffs last year but that doesn't mean he can't return to his
dominating regular season form. As for Quantrill, he simply logged too many
innings and was worn down by season's end in 2004. Expect a solid season from
him now that his workload will be cut down.
Tanyon Sturtze showed everyone in 2004
what he was all about even when they didn't expect much out of him to begin
with. He came up huge over and over again in big spots and became one of Joe
Torre's prestigious "trusted relievers."
BIGGEST QUESTION MARK:
Health of the back end of the rotation
Talent the Yankees may have at the
back end of the rotation but no one ever said they have had healthy careers.
There is the beleaguered Kevin Brown who has had just about every injury in the
book and Jaret Wright who has a history of shoulder problems. If they're
healthy, they could be the best 4th and 5th starters in the game. But that
health will be in questions throughout the 2005 season.
Funny how one of the elite players in
the game can have a breakout season. But, this mega star still has a lot to
prove to himself to himself and the New York fans. However, being the gifted
player that he is, it is not likely that he'll have another "down"
season in the Bronx in 2005. The real Alex Rodriguez should bounce back with his
annual monstrous season.
Most of the success of this team will
likely hinge on the health of it's key players and contributors. However, no on
is ever going to accuse them of being too short offensively. They have enough
weapons to be dangerous at all times. However, the pitching staff, despite a
definite improvement, still has question marks. But, overall, it looks like
another big year for the Yankees as, once again, they appear to be the favorites
to win the AL East.