I’ve been trying to think of the one Yankees player this season that the team cannot afford to lose for one-third of the season or so.
On offense, I think, if they lost one of the big guns – even if it was A-Rod – there’s enough guys to cover it.
Maybe Sheffield out of all the hitters is most key? He is, to me, the Yankees “Oh, Crap!” guy. By this, I mean, when he comes up in a big spot, the fans of the other team says “Oh, Crap!” – like I do now when Manny or Ortiz is batting against the Yanks (or when guys like Harold Baines and Kirk Gibson batted against New York in their prime).
But, even if Sheff was out for 50 or 60 games, I think they could survive.
So, what about Mo? Well, in a span of 60ish games, Rivera might pitch 25 times. I have to think that The Farns & Friends could baby sit the 9th for a couple of dozen games.
The more that I think about it, I want to say that Randy Johnson is the one guy who the Yankees cannot lose for two months or more this year. He’s the one stud in the rotation. Even if the rest of the rotation goes something like 62-58 this season, Johnson can make that O.K. by throwing in an 18-8 record. But, if Unit misses a dozen starts, he’s not going to be 18-8 this year. Therefore, right now, I think Randy Johnson is the one guy that the Yankees will miss the most in 2006 – if he’s out for a couple of months or more.