John Brattain has a new piece up on MSN sports, making the case that the Yanks are an 85 win team this year. He starts out with this:
“Now I’m supposed to believe that the additions of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira will be what take a flawed team to the promised land?
You heard me: a flawed team; the 2008 Bronx Bombers had just two pitchers that gave them 30+ starts (the only other guy to start 20 games–Darrell Rasner–posted an ERA of 5.40), not much of a bullpen behind the incomparable Mariano Rivera, a porous infield defense, a sub par outfield defensively and only two lineup spots that were younger than 32 and possessed an offense that was a tick above league average.
Please explain to me how Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira turn that into world beaters. “
If Wang, Hughes and Posada miss most of 2009 as well, then I suppose you could argue that. But that the chances of that are slim. Also, someone might want to tell him that Darrel Rasner was sold to Japan.
He goes on to question the signing of CC, referring to him as “a solid innings eater that throws strikes” but goes on to knock his record in the AL last year vs weak competition. If CC ever runs into John at the stadium, he might want to show him the 2007 CY Young award he won pitching for the Cleveland Indians. The “unremarkable bullpen” he cites was 5th in ERA in the AL last season.
The best part of his argument is where he stacks up AJ Burnett vs Mussina career stats, but even this is flawed. Despite his strong 2008 campaign, Mussina was a fading pitcher in recent years, to the point where he lost his spot in the rotation late in 2007. The bounce back season Moose had was almost unprecedented in Baseball history and Mussina said after the season what drove him was the knowledge he was retiring. Also, Burnett has been increasingly durable in recent years, averaging 183 IP over the past 4 seasons. Also Burnett’s (and Sabathia’s) SO rates make him a better fit for the Yanks “porous defense” so he contradicts himself there as well.
“The only way the Yankees will be a factor in 2009 is if they get unreal starting pitching and even that might not be enough as the Blue Jays demonstrated last season. “
The Yankee lineup that was missing Posada, A-Rod for a month, Matsui, and saw Jeter’s numbers plummet for a month after being hit in the hand by Daniel Cabrera still outscored the Blue Jays by 75 Runs. Comparing the Blue Jays and a healthy Yankee lineup as if the are equivalent isn’t even worth discussing.
He comes across as reactionary and his logic is flawed throughout. He makes no mention of the devastating injuries the Yanks suffered last season, which most objective observers agree is what sank their playoff chances last year. He admits the Yanks have made upgrades with their 3 big free agent signings, yet somehow will go from 89 wins last season to 85 in 2009. After reading this, I feel even more confident in their chances this season.
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