Link 4-20-2011: Who’s afraid of the Yankees?

Yeah, they’re on top of the division, but looking at the New York Yankees, they’ve got some issues to deal with. Beyond the Box Score sums it up rather well, but here are three bullet points:

The rotating rotation

Even with the solid performance of Ivan Nova, they were already down a rotation spot. Now with Phil Hughes not able to repeat his early success, the Yankees are stuck with some combination of Kevin Millwood, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Andrew Brackman to fill 1.25 slots. Oh, and A.J. Burnett is the other starter. Forgive me for being underwhelmed. I don’t see any of these guys being able to produce a Hughes-like season, apart from Hughes. They need quality innings, and it’s not clear how many they can get out of this group.

Unsustainable offense

The Yankees have been on an offensive tear, thanks to a Major League-leading 29 home runs in 15 games, or a clip of two taters per contest. I know they’ve got firepower, but that’s a lot, even for them. Consider that last year, Toronto hit only 257, or 1.58 per game to lead all of baseball in that category.┬áThe Yankees are hitting .256 as a team, but have suffered from some poor BABIP (.256 as a team) so they will stand to get some more hits. But they will experience a power outage at some point, and it’s gonna hurt.

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Spring Training 2010: Considering Josh Beckett

With the leader of the pitching staff entering his contract year in 2010, the Red Sox are said to be broaching extension talks with Josh Beckett this Spring. Entering what will be his age 30 season, Beckett has already compiled quite a resume, including two All-Star appearances, a pretty sterling postseason track record and three World Series rings. He’s also been the World Series MVP. It’s rare to find a player with such command over his whole arsenal – a good fastball, a power curve, a polished changeup and a cutter to boot. He’s the stopper you bring in to silence the other team’s offense, start after start. Not only so, but Beckett is known as a fierce competitor and a driven athlete who sets the tone for the rest of the pitching staff. Let’s examine extending him in a bit more detail.

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2010 AL East Preview: Sox, Yankees reloaded

As Spring Training finally dawns, we are looking at two teams at the top of the division with significant turnover from this offseason. The Yankees have shed several older, oft-injured players and added a powerful left-handed bat in OF Curtis Granderson. For their part, Boston has decided to focus on run prevention with the signing of John Lackey and even sacrificed OBP in order to improve their team defense in this “bridge year”. The Tampa Rays have another year of development and polish on their young and talented core. Meanwhile, Toronto has gone into rebuilding mode with the trade of Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and the Orioles’ youth movement is on the cusp of paying dividends. What can we expect to see in 2010? Read more of this post

2010 Free agent profile: John Lackey

While we’re on the topic of starting pitchers, there seems to be a lot of interest in 30-year old John Lackey, the big righty who silenced the Red Sox in Game 1 of this year’s ALDS. It has been widely reported that the Angels are not at all confident that they can retain his services after this season. Should he go to free agency, it would likely make him the biggest name free agent pitcher this offseason. Nice, solid FIPs from year-to-year, pretty good groundball percentage (43.2% lifetime), low BB rates and steady K rates; there’s a lot to like here.

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2009 Preview: Who’s got the best rotation in the East?

The New York Yankees have completely rebuilt their rotation with the signings of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett this offseason. Are these two pitchers enough for them to overtake the best rotations in the East?

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2009 Offseason: Progress with Tek, Teixeira slipping away?

The Red Sox tendered an official offer to Jason Varitek yesterday, according to agent Scott Boras, but Nick Cafardo is now disputing that. Boston’s offer is purportedly for two years and an unknown dollar amount. It’s beginning to look like Varitek will re-sign in Boston after all.

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2009 Offseason: Sox prepare to make a move

With the Winter meetings less than a week away, the Boston front office is humming with activity. Could there be a big move or two in store after this relatively quiet start to the offseason?

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