Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Out With the Old...Yankees

Fact: Randy Johnson is officially gone from the Yankees organization and, pending future advancements that could allow Johnson to preserve himself in a block of ice until he can be rebuilt using next generation tissue rebuilding technology; I think that is the last we will see of the Unit in the Bronx. In exchange for the pitching behemoth, the Yankees acquired Luis Vizcaino, Ross Ohlendorf, Steven Jackson (pitchers) and Alberto Gonzalez (infielder). Vizcaino and Jackson are currently on the 40-man, but Vizcaino will likely be the only newcomer on the bench come opening day.

Spank’s Opinion: Cashman…nice dude. I think it is pretty easy to see what Brian Cashman is attempting to do as of late. Anyone with a brain will notice that the Yankees are one old guy short of a Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, but the team can play well together. Cashman is trying his best to make much needed changes to the Yankees bench and bullpen including bringing in more youth without compromising the team’s chance at going to The Series this year. A “rebuilding year” is not something the triumvirate will ever settle for and I like that. The Yankees don’t rebuild, they don’t back away from deals to lower the payroll, the Yankees win. That’s what they do, and neither Steinbrenner, Cashman, nor Torre will do anything to compromise that mentality. That’s why I love these guys. By dealing Johnson, the Yankees only minimally hurt the starting rotation and gained some more depth in the bullpen and a few definite prospects. Let’s look at the numbers: I personally think Johnson had a good season for a 42 year old man. The Unit finished 17-11 with 205 innings and a 5.00 era. His only real problem (other than his mustache) was giving up the long ball with men on base. Now let’s look at the numbers from the newly acquired players. Vizcaino has had some pretty impressive numbers for a middle reliever. Luis threw 65 innings in 70 games last year finishing with a 3.58 ERA. Ross Ohlendorf’s numbers from AA ball looked pretty good as well. Ohlendorf, a 24 year-old righty, went 10-8 with a 3.29 ERA over 27 games. He also averaged nearly 7 innings a start. While, Steven Jackson’s record at 8-11 is misleading, he finished out the 2006 season with a 2.65 era over 149.2 innings. With run support from a team like the New York Yankees, Jackson may never have to worry about such a discrepancy again. Finally infielder Alberto Gonzalez hit .287 over 449 games during the 2006 season. With the star-studded infield currently in pinstripes, Alberto may not see any time in the majors next season, but his consistent bat makes him look like a promising utility infielder for the future. Who knows, I don’t think the nickname A-Gon has formally been taken by any other pro infielders. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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