The Yanks got to suffer through the spring ritual of picture day last week, and while I don’t really know what happens with these pictures, the results sure are bizarre. The Sports Hernia took a look at some of the stranger and more humorous photos. Andy Pettitte looks might surprised to see the camera, and Derek appears, well, just vacant. For more, check out Getty Images. CC Sabathia looks either very happy or rather pensive.
As Spring Training approaches — today’s the ever-popular Truck Day up in Boston — the fantasy guides are hitting the Internets. Today, both MLB.com and ESPN.com unveiled their respective guides, and while I’m not complaining much, the early projections for the Yankees are widely optimistic.
Take, for example, Mr. Rodriguez. MLB predicts a .293/.381/.570/41/124 season for A-Rod, and ESPN predicts .303/.393/.585/44/130. Mark Teixeira looks primed for a big fantasy season as well. When you add up the totals, the Yanks come out with around 850 runs scored via ESPN and 958 via MLB. The playing time totals are a little sketchy, but I’d take that improvement in a heart beat.
On the pitching front, Sabathia emerges as a true ace. MLB pegs him at 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP while ESPN predicts 19 wins, a 3.33 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Both sites believe he’ll toss more than 230 innings in 2009. Adding up the pitcher’s win totals on ESPN puts the Yanks at 95 for the season; MLB targets a 98-win season for the Bombers. Pessimistic PECOTA these are not.
In the end, of course, these projections are great for the plethora of upcoming drafts — and yes, we’ll probably put together a RAB Fantasy Baseball League — but they’re not great for much else. It’s fun to imagine that everyone on the Yanks will be as great as their potential, and it’s wishful February thinking to target a 98-win season for the Yankees. But if the stars align just right, it may just become reality.
A few days ago, the creatively-named online sportsbook SportsBook.com released its most recent set of odds for the 2009 baseball season. Unsurprisingly, the Yankees came out on top. Our hometown team is the 5/2 favorite to capture the title. Someone tell Mayor Bloomberg to save the date for the parade.
Bryan Hoch took a look at the lower Yankee payroll a few days ago and notes that the Yanks are on target to pay out less in 2009 than they did in 2008. Right now, the team has committed $186 million to 16 players. While some of that lower figure is due to creative bonuses for their big free agent signings, this figure is largely dependent upon Andy Pettitte’s not returning. If Pettitte comes back — as I hope and think he will for the right price — the Yanks’ figure will actually be lower this year than last for the first time in a long time. If Pettitte returns, the two figures should be about to the same.
In an article appropriately written by Chase Write — but probably not the Chase Wright — The Stamford Times reports on the newest member of the 2009 Yankees. Lou Potter of Stamford has signed a one-year deal to join the club as the full-time massage therapist. He’ll join the club next month in Tampa and travel the baseball nation with them this summer. This is Potter’s second stint with the club but his first in a full-time position. What a perk, eh? (Hat tip to long-time RAB supporter Scott.)
Using the rosters as of this week and The Hardball Times’ projections, RLYW has run a simulation of the 2009 season, and the results are encouraging. The Yanks end up winning the AL East 76 percent of the time and the Wild Card 19 percent of the time. They average out to be about 102-60. I’ll take that.
While numerous free agents have yet to sign, ESPN.com has already rolled out their MLB 2009 watch list, and the Yankees just dominate the list. Peter Gammons sees CC Sabathia as the biggest new face in a new place; Jerry Crasnick accurately puts Joe Girardi on the hot seat; and Rob Neyer tabs the Bronx Bombers as the team to win it all. Sounds about right to me.