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FLB Offseason Reviews: Yankees (ESPN Insider)

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FLB Offseason Reviews: Yankees (ESPN Insider)

Postby jebatzel » Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:02 pm


Possible Lineup
1. Kenny Lofton, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Alex Rodriguez, SS
4. Jason Giambi, 1B
5. Gary Sheffield, RF
6. Bernie Williams, DH
7. Jorge Posada, C
8. Hideki Matsui, LF
9. Enrique Wilson, 2B


Possible Rotation
1. Mike Mussina, RHP
2. Kevin Brown, RHP
3. Javier Vazquez, RHP
4. Jose Contreras, RHP
5. Jon Lieber, RHP
CL: Mariano Rivera, RHP

What the Yankees did this offseason:
The Yankees replaced their Aaron at third with the man who has the greatest chance of breaking Aaron's record, A-Rod. Boone not only shattered the Red Sox' World Series hopes on the diamond, but also twisted the knife when he tore his knee on the hardwood. A-Rod went from rotting away in Texas, to possible Red Sox savior, to Yankee pinstripes. Oh, the Yankees also added a few other guys you might have heard of. Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Kenny Lofton, Tom Gordon and Paul Quantrill will also make their pinstripe debuts this season. It wasn't all smiles this winter for baseball's biggest bank account. Roger Clemens decided on playing again and will join Andy Pettitte in the Astros rotation. David Wells and General George parted ways, so Wells returns home to pitch for the Padres. The Yankees that'll come out to Bob Sheppard's role call this year are completely different. It will be the first time they all get to play on the same diamond since the All-Star game.

Top Current Yanks, 2003
Gary Sheffield, 5th overall
Alex Rodriguez, 7th
Javier Vazquez, 13th
Mike Mussina, 14th
Kevin Brown, 17th

Are they better, worse?
The Yankees added the best player in the game, so this answer is obvious. The talent at Yankee Stadium is beyond belief, but there are certain aspects of this game that you cannot factor. In order to win a championship in New York, you need to have patience and stones. The newcomers will be tested from day one in both areas. Will Javier Vazquez be another Kenny Rogers or Jeff Weaver? What if A-Rod hits .260 the first month? It's guaranteed that the crowd will be on him at home and on the road. Health is another major concern. Can Giambi's knee hold up for a full season? Will Jon Lieber return to 20-win form after Tommy John surgery? Can Kevin Brown, at age 39, make 30 starts? The Yankees won all 4 of their recent rings with at least one left-handed pitcher and sometimes two. Now their steady lefty Pettitte is in Houston. On paper this team should win the World Series, but look at all the question marks.

Spring Fantasy Sleepers
Nobody is slipping under the radar on this team. You know the names, you know the faces and you know the numbers. The addition of A-Rod will have a rippling effect throughout the lineup. It's easy to believe that every Yankee stick will benefit, but remember they do have to make 27 outs a game. The breakout player will be Bernie Williams. It has become common belief among fantasy owners that Williams might have lost a step and is past his prime. If that thought translates on the field, pitchers will pitch around A-Rod, Giambi and Sheffield to attack Williams. It was only two years ago that Williams hit .333 and drove in more than 100 runs. His .263 average last season had to do with injuries. When healthy, Williams hit .400 in the ALDS and WS. With the acquisition of Lofton, Williams might have his center field job taken and his ego wounded. A dedicated Bernie is a dangerous animal.

Yankees you want in fantasy
A-Rod. A-Rod. A-Rod. Rodriquez was the No. 1 pick before he was traded, but now it's a lock. He becomes more valuable, not because he's a Yankee, but because he can play SS or 3B. His HRs may go down because of the Yankee Stadium dimensions, but his RBIs could go through the roof. Giambi should reap all the benefits from A-Rod, too. Chances are very good that Lofton or Jeter will be at second when A-Rod comes to the plate. With pitchers not wanting to take a chance with A-Rod, look for Giambi to get the first real pitch to hit. If he should falter in the cleanup role, he could flip-flop with Sheffield. Oh, by the way, you want Yankee starting pitching in your draft. With all the runs we're talking about, the pitchers should get more wins. If Vazquez isn't affected by the New York distractions, he can easily win 20 games. Mussina wins at least 17 a year and this could be his first 20-win season.

just found this a little interesting

looks like this was before they added Lee

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