Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Those new Yankees

From a Red Sox perspective the most interesting thing about the Yankees off season moves was the one move they didn't make - the non move for Carlos Beltran, who it appeared was almost begging for a role as the Yankees CF for the next 5+ years.

This is a source (at least one that doesn't begin with the words Derek Jeter) of contention between Neil and I - Neil is a Bernie fan, as am I -Neil M because he believes that 86 year old CF's have one more great year in them, me because I think he will stink up a key defensive position and continue his offensive decline. Beltran would have provided the Yanks with a young player in a key defensive position, who would have provided strong defense, excellent speed and a nice bat (though not as nice as the Mets seem to think - I wish I had been able to see his agents eyes as HR after HR left the park in the play-offs). The idea that the Yanks passed on him because they had reached a mythical payroll limit was slightly unreal - if they are restricted to $200M (read that and weep you Brewer / Pirate / Twins fans!) then things get real interesting in the next few years as the line-up ages and gets more expensive.

I hope no one in Sox Nation denies what a fantastic signing RJ is for the Yankees - we can hope that an old man realizes at some point that he is 53 or whatever he is, but I think it is safer to assume that he will be the same monster that he always is - a lot of wins, a huge number of strikeouts and a well below league average ERA. The other pitching signings I am not so sure about - Pavano and Wright had great years - but the concern has to be that one great year each has produced healthy contracts, for what may be nothing better than average production. My favorite Sox game in 2003 was the Sox v Marlins interleague game where the Sox scored 14 runs in the first and Carl didn't record an out - a few of these against the Sox this year would be acceptable.

It would be nice if my mother had taught me that "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything" - but she didn't so...... Tony Womack - what is that all about? He had a nice year in 2004, but is he really a solution at 2B that the Yankees should even consider? When you look at the Yankees lineup, it really does have a lot of frightening names, but it would concern me as a Yankee fan that $200M can be spent on a lineup that includes Womack and really doesn't have the kind of depth that proved so useful to the Sox last year.

All said though, I think the Yankees got better overall during the close season, but with enough serious question marks that a 100+ win season is possible, but so is something a lot less spectacular, and more fun for this Sox fan to contemplate.

A nice review of all teams off season moves can be found at the Hardball Times - a blogging collection that has a typically sabermetric outlook - the top 5 teams are at The Hardball Times but follow the links to find your team!

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