Friday, March 11, 2011

The Yankees have no shot (and other tongue-in-cheek observations)

Boston has the best roster ever constructed by any team at any time. The 1927 Yankees? Please. This assemblage of Red Sox talent will make that group look like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Red Sox Nation laughs at the 1998 Yankees, since this group of Boston's finest will clearly win 138 games in the regular season. If those two outfits, often touted as two of the greatest teams of all time aren't fit to be in the same sentence as the 2011 Red Sox, why should the Yankees even take the field against Boston this year? Consider:

-I mean, seriously, Adrian Gonzalez is so far ahead of Mark Teixeira, despite their statistical similarities and Tex's "apparent" edge on the defensive side of the ledger.

-Dustin Pedroia is the best all-around second baseman in baseball if you disregard Cano's "better" statistics in all major categories.

-Derek Jeter is so old that he remembers when Fenway Park was built, and there's no way under the yellow sun of the Earth that he'll outshine surefire Hall of Famer Marco Scutaro at his advanced age.

-Youuuuuuuuuuk versus A-Rod? That popcorn-eating pansy is soft, even though he showed up to Spring Training in the best shape that he's been in in years. Regardless of Kevin Youkilis changing positions and not being the defensive whiz that the departed Adrian Beltre was, he's still better than the over-the-hill Alex Rodriguez, who could never come close to another MVP-caliber season, although, every other year he seems to.

-That outfield isn't even worth discussing. 29-year old Carl Crawford will steal 489 bases at the Fens and have 1,636 triples. 27-year old Brett Gardner, will be lucky if he steals another 47 and gets on base 38% of the time like he did last season. Yeah, Jacoby Ellsbury is always hurt and may not ever be the same player again, with his bizarre recuperation creating a rift in the clubhouse, but Curtis Granderson's late season upswing under the tutelage of Kevin Long was an aberration, and he will go down as another in a long string of terrible Yankee acquisitions. JD Drew and Nick Swisher, I'll grant, is close. I'll still take JD's bland persona over Nick Swisher's gregarious personality any day of the week.

-Then there's the pitching. Not even a fair comparison. Boston has no question marks at all in the rotation. Of course Josh Beckett isn't on the decline of his career, and, no, those recurring health issues aren't worrisome. John Lackey can't possibly be a guy who has never pitched well at Fenway Park because last year was just his adjustment year and not a playing out of a consistent pattern. Dice K isn't an enigma that is going to walk the ballpark in half of his outings who is also getting on in age; he's deceptive and crafty. I won't even mention Cy Young and Nolan Ryan. Oops. I always make that mistake. I meant Lester and Buchholz. CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes aren't even on the same planet as those two, and it's not even worth discussing. AJ Burnett is an obvious headcase who will never return to the form he showed in 2009 and the early part of 2010. Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia are jokes. The former showed flashes of excellence in 2010, but another year of maturity and being pushed to excel by top Major League- ready pitching prospects will only hurt him. Hey Freddy, 2002 called, and they want their pitcher back. Sure, you've always pitched well against the AL East, including at Fenway, and, yes, you've looked very good this spring coming off a year that you were finally healthy and gave the White Sox 12 wins in 28 starts, but none of that matters because you're old. Even if one of the Red Sox studs should falter, they have the ageless wonder Tim Wakefield ready and wiling to go, for 28 innings per start if he has to.

-Papelbon thinks he's better than Rivera, and that's all the proof I need, although the evidence suggests otherwise. Bobby Jenks got cut by the White Sox not because of his poor diet and attitude, but because the ChiSox had another closer who cost them less money waiting in the wings. Plus Soriano is overpaid.

-Tito doesn't need a binder since he wrote the book on managing.

-Theo walks on water, so even if Cashman manages to trade for another starting pitcher, it will be too little, too late, as the Red Sox will be able to acquire somebody better without having to sacrifice Bard, Kelly, Iglesias, or Rizzo. Cashman will probably trade Montero, Betances, Banuelos, and Romine for Wandy Rodriguez.

-Bottom line, the Red Sox will have the division clinched by mid-May and the pennant by early June.

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