• Are The Pieces Now In Place?

    Posted by on December 29th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    Here’s an updated look at the Yankees roster (from how it looked three weeks ago):

    Catchers (2): Posada and Stinnett
    Infielders (6): Giambi, Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez, Phillips, and Cairo
    Outfielders (5): Matsui, Damon, Sheffield, Williams and Crosby
    Starting Picthers (5): Johnson, Wang, Mussina, Pavano, and Chacón
    Bullpen (7): Rivera, Farnsworth, Myers, Sturtze, Villone, Small, and Wright

    Just a couple of weeks ago, I came up with the notion that a World Championship roster should have:

    1. Great table-setters at the top of the line-up, and
    2. At least one SP who is not afraid of the post-season – a guy who wants the ball in the big game, and
    3. A good/solid LHP in the pen, and
    4. A good/solid LHP in the rotation, and
    5. A back-up INF with good hands, and
    6. A 4th OF who can hit, and
    7. An effective guy in the pen who can start or relieve (in any inning), and
    8. A shut-the-door closer, and
    9. A catcher who is not an auto-out, and
    10. Two guys in the middle of the line-up who make contact as well as drive the ball.

    The Yankees might have some matches here, being:

    1. Damon & Jeter
    2. Johnson
    3. Myers and/or Villone
    4. Johnson, again
    5. Cairo
    6. Williams
    7. Small
    8. Rivera
    9. Posada
    10. Sheffield and Matsui

    The items of concern above are numbers six and seven. Both of these guys could be busts in 2006 and then you’re looking at Crosby and Wright as their subs – and we know that they should not be effective players, if given the chance, most of the time. Maybe a come-backing Dotel helps here? But, that’s still a question-mark now.

    And, it would not matter if the Yankees have items 1 through 10 if Mussina, Pavano, and at least one other member of the righties in the rotation bomb.

    Still, it’s not unreasonable to expect league average seasons from Mussina, Pavano and the rest of the question marks. So, if they go something like 62-58 combined, and Randy Johnson goes something like 18-8, then the Yankees would still be in decent shape in terms of the standings.

    If the Yankees could get some Bernie insurance now and then have Small continue to do well next year, their chances in 2006 look great.

    Comments on Are The Pieces Now In Place?

    1. DaveD
      December 30th, 2005 | 9:24 am

      You have 12 pitchers there, do you think they can carry 12 all year? Of course they won’t as soon as someone goes on the DL in May. Hopefully Wright/Pavano can wait until Dotel is ready before that happens.

    2. Raf
      December 30th, 2005 | 10:36 am

      The items of concern above are numbers six and seven.

      You think?

      I wouldn’t be too concerned about 6; even if something were to happen with Bernie, there’s always someone who can be picked up via trade, or plucked off the scrap heap. Doesn’t have to be a big name, at the very least we want/need someone who can produce at a league average.

      As for 7, the same applies. Small has started, Villone has started in the past, and so has Sturtze, Proctor didn’t do too bad in his spot start. Wright’s still is on the roster, so he has to be considered (I know, I know, I’m just saying). Someone can be traded for or picked off the scrap heap (remember Wally Whitehurst a few years back?) You just need someone who can hold it down for a few innings.

    3. December 30th, 2005 | 11:18 am

      What’s Leiter’s status these days?

    4. MikeC
      December 30th, 2005 | 11:22 am

      This roster looks great to me … with one exception. There is just no way Jaret Wright can work out of the pen. Remember his starts last year … he almost always struggled in the 1st and 2nd inning. Small is going to the the long man and Dotel will take Wright’s place in the roster when healthy.

      I would expect to see Wright pitching heavily in Spring Training as a way of show-casing him to other teams to see that he is healthy. Cashman knows he will have to throw some $$$$ into the deal, but Wright’s destiny is not with the Yanks next year. The best thing he can do for us is bring back a decent prospect or two.

    5. hopbitters
      December 30th, 2005 | 12:22 pm

      Re: number 6

      Courtesy of Raf in a previous thread :

      2005 RCAA
      Bubba Crosby -4
      Bernie Williams -17

      There is no reason for Bernie Williams to be in the outfield.

      Re: number 2

      We have one that we know of (Johnson). If our rotation was in the order Steve has (Johnson, Wang, Mussina, etc.), I think Wang would probably step into the role, but I think Torre will always trot Mussina out in the two spot or even first no matter how well Wang does and how badly Mussina does. Beyond Johnson and Wang, I’m not convinced we have a reliable starter for the post-season, so those two had better stay healthy and consistent.

      Re: Jaret Wright

      MikeC is pretty much dead on here. The best thing Wright can do is get out of town.

    6. December 30th, 2005 | 12:23 pm

      I would not be shocked to see Leiter come down to ST, get some work in, have a spring vacation of sorts, and then end up in the YES booth – like Girardi did in 2004.

      Good points on Wright. Best case might be for him to have a good spring and then get traded – if he’s not needed to fill in for Mussina or Pavano. Remember, Moose is still iffy this year.

      Agreed, 12 pitchers is not ideal. But, those issues usually work out.

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