"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yankee items on ESPN's '09 watch list

ESPN rolled out their 2009 MLB watch list Sunday. They've broken it up into nine categories, and the Yankees have found their way into three of them.

New face in new place:

(CC) Sabathia rides into New York just as Johan Santana did last season: two trains running, each 29 on entrance, both kind and thoughtful and vehemently competitive. Santana could have won the NL Cy Young Award, but for the Mets' bullpen. Sabathia arrived in the league in June, and after going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and not allowing more than four runs in 17 starts -- including four in succession on three days' rest down the stretch -- he made himself part of the Cy discussion. Sabathia is 117-73 lifetime; Santana is 109-51. Each has won the Cy Young in the American League, and last year both were in the top three in the majors in ERA, quality starts, games started and innings pitched.

Santana had no problem handling New York, and neither should Sabathia. Of course, there is a lot of pressure on the $243 million initials twins, CC and A.J. Burnett. The Yankees have lost their 20-game winner, Mike Mussina, and may lose Andy Pettitte. Last season, the Yankees lost Chien-Ming Wang on June 15 and used nine different people for at least seven starts; consequently, more than a quarter of their games were started by Sidney Ponson, Darrell Rasner and Carl Pavano.

As he neared signing with the Yankees, Sabathia got a message from Red Sox GM Theo Epstein telling him how much Epstein respected him for putting aside free agency to try to bring Milwaukee a championship. Some look at what Sabathia has done the past two seasons -- from Opening Day to the playoffs: 36 wins, 513 innings pitched, 69 starts -- and worry about what that means to his long-term career. The Yankees look at him and see what they most need: the model of reliability.
-- Peter Gammons
The pressure is on...
Let's see: In (Joe) Girardi's first season as manager, the Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993. His critics in the New York media compared him unfavorably with his predecessor, the sainted Joe Torre.

The team is moving into a new $1.3 billion stadium, and ownership has just invested more than $420 million in free agents CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. If the Yankees get off to a slow start -- say, 0-3 in Grapefruit League play -- someone is going to feel the heat. And our gut tells us it won't be Brian Cashman.
-- Jerry Crasnick
And the early favorite is...
What if I told you that a team with unlimited financial resources won 89 games, and then acquired the world's greatest pitcher and the American League's greatest first baseman? Is that something you'd be interested in? I'm fairly sure it's going to interest the oddsmakers. It has been so long since the Yankees have won a World Series that it's now fashionable to look for reasons why they'll continue not winning. It's really not that complicated, though: The World Series favorite should be the best team in the American League, and right now that perfectly describes the New York Yankees.
-- Rob Neyer
Nothing unbelievably groundbreaking here. I do agree that Girardi is under a lot of pressure this season. While Crasnick is probably displaying some sarcasm with his Grapefruit League line, it's not too far from the truth. A slow April and May could signal the end for the Yankees' skipper.

And I'm sick of the Yankees being the favorite talk. The Yankees have had the highest payroll for years and haven't brought home No. 27. This is why they play the games in little TV screens and not on paper.


She-Fan said...

I love it when the Yankees are the favorite talk - good or bad. It gives the media less time to glorify the Red Sox.

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