New York YankeesManager: Joe Girardi
Stadium: Yankee Stadium
2007 Record: 94-68 (2nd in AL East)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule
2007: Batting Stats | Runs Scored (ranked 1st in AL)
|2008 FANTASY PROJECTIONS|
|OFF THE BENCH|
|-- = unavailable|
The lineup is proven, formidable and deep, with seven different players scoring 90 or more runs last season. Rodriguez is the game's top offensive force and he's surrounded by patient, quality hitters. Defying conventional wisdom, Posada enjoyed his best offensive season at 35 and seems to be getting better with age. The same lineup last season averaged just shy of six runs per game and seems poised to do the same this season. The Yankees don't give up at-bats and their dogged professionalism is exemplified by Jeter.
In a word: age. To find a regular in the Yankees' lineup under 30, you have to get to the final two spots (Cano and Cabrera). In particular, Matsui, Giambi and Damon are showing signs of deterioration. Thanks to the age and declining performance of a few starters, Duncan may be asked to play a bigger role than expected and though he showed power in spurts last season, he is largely untested.
HITTER TO WATCH:
Brett Gardner is the only Yankee hitting prospect who might get a shot this year. He's a fifth-outfielder type who will take a pitch but has zero power, and can play a solid center field.
PITCHER TO WATCH:
Joba Chamberlain starts in the 'pen, but he's a four-pitch guy who should be starting. Ian Kennedy is set up to start the season in the rotation; his stuff is just average, but he has great command and is aggressive going after hitters.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.
JUST THE FACTS
• Not the same old Joe. New manager Joe Girardi won't honor veteran allegiances like Joe Torre did. So Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon arrived at camp in better condition this year. As a result, the offense
could produce 1,000 runs.
• Joba Chamberlain will be a starter. Someday. For now, he's a rock in the bullpen.
• Derek Jeter could get yanked. He turns 34 in June, and defensive metrics used by opposing clubs say he's among the worst shortstops in the majors. If he takes another step back, he may be asked to move to first or the outfield.
• Keep an eye on the boss. It remains to be seen if Hank Steinbrenner will flip out like George did at the first sign of trouble.
"They're relying on Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina for another year," says an AL exec. "But if they don't get what they need from them -- and they don't need that much -- they'll be in trouble."
HOUSE CALL"Something has to be done to honor Bernie Williams. At a time when so many athletes have attitude, Bernie was a true gentleman. In my own diplomatic way, I'll nudge the Yankees every so often to remember Bernie." -- Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y.
-- Buster Olney
How many games will the Yankees win in 2008? Do they have the top lineup, rotation, bullpen or manager in their division? Did they do the best job improving their team in the offseason? Register your vote.
There's a reason the Yankees wouldn't deal Phil Hughes for Johan Santana; it's because they see future ace potential in him. Now it's time for him to prove them right.
Hideki Matsui's knee might limit him all season. Matsui, who batted .186 with two homers in his final 32 games of 2007 (playoffs included), is no lock for another 25-100 season.
-- Tristan Cockcroft
There was a run on back spasms among pitchers this spring and, sure enough, both the Red Sox and the Yankees sent representatives. For the Yankees, it is Andy Pettitte, who began having back spasms while driving home after practice one day. Pettitte also dealt with forearm soreness earlier in spring training, which seems to have subsided. Pettitte's back issues do not appear particularly serious, but he will move down in the first week's rotation as a result. At 35, there is definitely a concern that more of these types of injuries will crop up for Pettitte throughout the season, but as long as they stay minor, the overall impact should be minimal.
-- Stephania Bell