Howard Megdal looks at the 2008 Yankees today for the Observer:
But there are a number of questions the Yankees will begin to answer this spring that will determine if this year’s team will win ugly during the regular season and fall short against the American League’s best pitching in October, or if the Yankees finally have the right mix of youth and experience.
Like personnel-deprived teams that played during World War II, New York’s starting pitching may be either too young or too old.
Which brings us to Mike Mussina, who may be finished as a good major league pitcher. He has ended up with a wose-than-average ERA+ in three of the past four seasons—his ERA in 2007 was 5.15. And it got worse for Mussina as the year went on—he was at 4.62 prior to the All-Star break, 5.72 afterwards.
Between left field and designated hitter, the Yankees need to find time for Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, while Bobby Abreu and Jorge Posada could both use occasional DH time as well. Once hitters catch up to pitchers in mid-March, watch all of these players, and notice if they are getting around on good fastballs, or if they swing and miss too much. With the exception of Posada, all displayed signs of decline for extended periods in 2007, and the end for good hitters is often swift.
I think the Yankees realize all this as well – which is why Brian Cashman has said this season could go well or not so well for the team.
I just wonder how many Yankees fans realize this? Probably not enough.