The New York Yankees
have baseball’s highest payroll as it tops $200 million. The strange thing is, that even with the new addition of Johnny Damon, the Yanks really haven’t even added payroll. The question on everybody’s mind is. Will the Yankees
finally win the World Series
they have been chasing since their pennant in 2001?
Last year the Yankees were a mess. They had pitcing problems, lots of them. Even with the addition of Randy Johnson, the Yanks looked like they might not make their first playoffs in years. They had no bullpen and their starting pitching which was supposed to be good last year was in shambles. Almost all of their starters got hurt. The Yankees spent $7 million a year on Jaret Wright who was amazing with the Braves but was awful with the Yanks last year. He played only a few games before an injury took him down for most of last season and he was unable to pitch in the postseason. When he did start he gave up a ton of runs and was a disaster.
Carl Pavano who the Yankees outbid every single team for, thinking he was their ace of the future, spent $10 million on him only to see him give up a ton of runs with an ERA over 4 and he too went down with an injury for most of the season.
Getting to Randy Johnson, he was just OK in his first year with the Yankees. He got off to a terrible start but finished the second half of the year strong posted a good ERA and win-loss record. However, he was horrible in the palyoffs. In his only start against the Angels, he was pulled after 3 innnings of work when he gave up 5 runs in a must win playoff game. He was booed off the mound in Yankee stadium.
Their fourth supposed starter was supposed to be the reliable Mike Mussina. He too has a very expensive contract and an option for next year that most likely won’t be picked up. He was just mediocre the entire season and never really seemed to have a spectacular start like in past years and his overall win loss record was near .500 and his ERA was over 4. In the playoffs he was ok, giving up a couple of runs and tried to keep the yankees in the game to win it.
Then there was surprising starter and rookie Chien Ming Wang. He got off to a great start and seemed to hold the Yankees together after they had a miserable record and looked like the would miss the post season. He showed flashes of brilliance with strikeouts and ground ball outs. As a rookie he gave the Yankees all they could ask for. However, like the other pitchers he too went down with an injury.
With the Yankees desperate for pitching General Manager Brian Cashman made some moves that show why hes one of the best in the business. He signed Chacon, a relief pitcher who had pitched for the Rockies. Chacon surprised everyone when he psoted an amazing win-loss record. Every time he pitched he seemed to win and he kept the Yankees afloat.
Finally, there was Aaron Small, a no name minor leaguer who had psoted average numbers at best in AAA but was sadly the best prospect the Yanks had to start. He first started in an emergency start for the injured Randy Johnson. After winning that game he never looked back. He won all 11 of his starts, posting an 11-0 record. In the playoffs however, he surrendered a couple of runs after haveing an ERA in the 2’s during the regular season.
Getting back to this year, the Yankee staff is very questionable. Most people, including myself think that Randy Johnson will finally settle in, in his second year as a Yankee. While age is a factor, Johnson never really seemd confortable as a Yankee until the second half of last season. I think that he will pick up right where he left off. The unknowns really are PAvano and Wright. Thry can both be spectacular and solid starting pitchers or be disasters like last year. No one really knows. I think they will be mediocre at best. Both really don’t seem to be comfortable in Ny. As for Mike Mussina, he will once again post mediocre numbers, as age has played a role and every year his numbers have gone down.
I do however, think that Chien Ming Wang will pick up right where he left off and post very good numbers in his second season in the pros. He showed flashes of brilliance last year and I think he will be a very good pitcher for the Yankees for years to come. Chacon won’t see much pitching action with the large depth of the staff but Aaron Small will see some appearance. While he won’t be as unbeatable as he was last year he will also post strong numbers.
Will the Yankees make the World Series this year based on their starting pitching? I doubt it. There starting pitching will be in the middle of the pack of other teams in the American league and they will have to rely on their vaunted hitting lineup and strong bullpen to get to the World Series this year.