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What to root for with respect to the Yankees upcoming season


oriole_way

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After spending almost a half a billion dollars recently on three players, many will look at the Yankees as World Series favorites next year. While that may or may not be true, here are some storylines that I would like to see develop with respect to the 2009 Yankees which could prevent that.

1. Let's hope that the older players on the Yankees show their age. While they aren't exactly decrepit, there are some older players on the team.

Jorge Posada is 37.

Hideki Matsui turns 35 in June.

Johnny Damon is 35.

Derek Jeter turns 35 in June.

Even ARod turns 34 in July.

Mariano Rivera turned 39 a month ago.

There was a time in the pre Barry Bonds era when baseball players were often in noticeable and sometimes steep decline at 35. I expect Posada to be done. It would be nice if a couple of others joined him this year.

2. C.C. Sabathia has logged 513 innings over the past two years. Let's hope that it takes a toll on him and he either gets hurt or loses effectiveness. He wasn't the same pitcher during the tail end of the past two seasons, especially in the playoffs, maybe because the workload caught up to him. I wouldn't mind if he also put on a few more pounds as well, which is a distinct possibility. I know David Wells pitched well regardless of his physique, but usually it can't be a good thing for an athlete if your weight balloons.

(PS. I don't really like rooting for a player to get hurt and CC seems like a nice enough guy, but hey, it's the Yankees.)

3. AJ Burnett has a history of being fragile, even though he's actually averaged 183 IP over the past 4 seasons. Anyway, let's hope he remains less than durable.

4. Let's hope that some of these new players don't take too well to the glare of the NY spotlight. Some players just aren't cut out for that type of atmosphere.

5. Let's hope that 2008 was a career season for Xavier Nady, when he set personal highs in AVG, HR, OPS and RBI.

6. Let's hope Robinson Cano continues his downward trajectory. Over his last 3 seasons, his avg has been .342, .306, and .271. His OBP and SLG have followed similar trajectories.

7. Let's hope Melky Cabrera continues his disappointing play from 2008, which prompted Girardi to eventually bench him at times.

8. Let's hope that the TB Rays build upon last season's success and that the Red Sox remain a good team. Obviously only two teams can come out of the AL East at most. And if they beat up on each other enough, maybe the wild card team comes out of another division.

Well, that's all I got. I would much rather root for the Orioles than root against the Yanks, but it's not like the O's are going to realistically be competing for a playoff berth this season.

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8. Let's hope that the TB Rays build upon last season's success and that the Red Sox remain a good team. Obviously only two teams can come out of the AL East at most. And if they beat up on each other enough, maybe the wild card team comes out of another division.

I agree with everything but #8. I stopped rooting for AL East "allies" a few years ago.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" does not apply in the AL East.

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The Yankee$, for all the cash they have dumped into payroll, may have the worst up the middle defense in baseball this season. The infield corners are stellar (albeit demented, in Miss Pay-Rod's case), but they are sub-par at every other defensive position. This can't help but reduce the value of their pitching investment.

They are now truly built like the world's most expensive beer league softball team: a bunch of defensively inept plodders who can mash the hell out of the ball. I wonder if Barry Bonds is available to DH for them?

Perhaps Mr Tiexeira will opt out of his Yankee$ contract in three years...not for more money, but simply to get out of NewYork! (One can only hope.)

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Guest afichter-OH
As long as the Rays dont fall on there face, its their division. Or they have bullpen problems. They have such good starting pitching, Price, Kazmir and Shields are all number 1's.

Yeah, David Price might just end up being the best pitcher in that rotation (and possibly even in all of baseball). It's scary to think the Rays already had one of the best rotations in the game without him last year. I like the Rays chances for having a repeat performance. Good pitching wins, period.

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