Wednesday, April 4, 2007

New York State of Mind

As the 2007 MLB season begins, the Yankees find themselves chasing after a remarkable 10th consecutive AL East crown. However, no Yankee fan (or pundit, for that matter) wants to hear about divisional titles -- with a payroll closing in on $200M, the Yankees take on a "championship or bust" mentality every spring. And, Brian Cashman has positioned the Yankees, better than any other GM, to ride off with #27 come October.

Come playoffs, good pitching beats good hitting - but, the same does not hold true in baseball's regular season. The Bronx Bombers will slug their way to another 95-100 wins in '07 - and should flirt with 1,000 runs scored over the course of the season (as they beat up on the Odalis Perez's of the world).

Yes, I'm well aware that "Glass" Carl started Opening Day this past Monday - and, predictably, left more to be desired, as he continuously left the ball up in the zone. But, make no mistake about it...barring a miracle, Pavano will not be in this rotation by mid-summer (via injury, demotion, and/or trade). Wang, Pettitte, and Mussina comprise a very consistent 1,2,3 punch. Kei Igawa, the "other" Japanese pitcher, projects as a favorable #4 in the bigs -- it's worth noting that Igawa is only 27 years old (only 1 year the senior when compared to Dice-K, the latest $100M investment by Sox management) and recorded only 3 fewer wins and a mere 6 fewer strikeouts than Dice-K last year in Japan. And, Philip Hughes boasts as the top pitching prospect in the game. Hughes' stuff is filthy - give him 3 years (he's only 20), and you will be talking about him in the same breath as Johan Santana.

Yet, this still doesn't even begin to discuss Clemens' future. Take this to the bank...Clemens will pitch in 2007. And, it will either be in Houston or New York. There is a 0% chance that Roger ends his career in Boston. With every game that the Houston 'pen gives away (it's April 4th...and this scenario is already 2-for-2), the chances of seeing Clemens in 'stripes increases tenfold.

All-in-all, this constructed Yankee team (all the way down to the farm system) is very good -- and they hold the necessary ammunition (Steinbrenner's cash and an array of highly touted prospects, thanks to Cashman) to dominate as the season progresses.

Baseball is upon us -- it doesn't get much better than this...

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