Sunday, February 06, 2005

Yankee Postseason Transaction Patterns

It's funny how the Yankees' postseason transaction focus seems to change every year. And since 2000, it hasn't really helped. Let's take a look:

Post-2000: Even though the Yankees won it all, they were kind of thin on the back end of the rotation with an awful Denny Neagle and a washed-up David Cone. So while other teams picked up marquee free agents A-Schmuck and Manny Ramirez, the Yanks' prize catch was Mike Mussina. Offensively, the team was identical in 2001, except for Knoblauch ending up in LF and the rookie Soriano taking over at 2nd.

And in the 2001 World Series, the Yankees' hitting was awful. So they canned ill-fated hitting coach Gary Denbo, got rid of David Justice (to the Mets for Robin Ventura), and what was the big splash that winter? Jason "BALCO" Giambi. The Yankees also finally got Rondell White, who they'd been trying to acquire for years. On the pitching end, the Yankees added Wells. And after all the "Mariano was tired" theories, the Yanks overpaid for Steve Karsay, Yeah, a lot of good it did them.

After 2002, it was the pitching that did the Yankees in. Their acqusitions the next winter? Jose Contreras, and for the leaky bullpen, Chris Hammond and Antonio Osuna. The Yankees were trying to fix that pen. Taking over for Rondell White in left was PR-puppet Shemp Matsui.

And fixing the pen was an issue lasting throughout '03, as the Junkees brought in a circus including Acevedo, Miceli, Orosco, Benitez, Gabe White, and Felix Heredia.

After Josh Beckett stymied the Yankees in '03, George decided the hitting had to be shored up. SO he went out and got Sheffield, A-Schmuck, Kenny Lofton, and Tony Clark (and I am forever grateful to George for getting him). As for the pitching, the Yanks didn't need to tinker, but after losing Wells, Pettitte and Clemens, something needed to be done. And Weaver had to go. So in came Brown and Vazquez.

After '04, the Yanks have focused solely on pitching -- 2 question marks in Pavano and Wright, and a sure but aging Randy Johnson. The offense is the same, except for Tino and Womack. Last time the Yanks went without improving the hitting? '01. They stayed with what they had, and look what happened.

Now, the Yanks may not run into Johnson and Schilling this October. But remember: they had trouble against Brian Anderson and Miguel Batista too, that October. And Bernie has gone down since then. as has Tino. But again, they do have Shemp and A-Rod now. So here's hoping Gary Sheffield turns in David Justice '01 next year!

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