Thursday, March 03, 2005

Players I'm Rooting For This Year

1) Jon Leiber - the Yanks cheaped out on their most consistent starter of '04 (okay, that's not saying a whole lot), and went for Jaret Wright instead. Dumb move. Lieber has been able to pitch without the tutelage of pitching magician Leo Mazzone. Wright looks like another John Burkett, just with fewer innings pitched due to injury. I hope Leiber makes the Yanks regret cheaping out on him.

2) Mike Lowell - this guy makes my list every year, thanks to one of Brian Cashman's many boneheaded moves. Lowell should be helped by the addition of Carlos Delgado to the Marlins' lineup. Lowell doesn't get much recognition, even though he hits at least 25 HR annually. Current Yankee 3B A-Schmuck might put up better numbers, though I'd love to see how he'd hit in that pitchers' haven in Florida.

3) Jose Contreras - who lost the hype faster - Contreras or Hideki Irabu? Unlike Irabu, there should be life for Contreras after New York, especially will fellow Cuban El Duque on the Pale Sox. I'd love to see this guy finally live up to his billing. He better win 20 games.

4) Carlos Beltran - the Yanks cheaped out on this guy, instead going for a 41-year old pitcher and a guy with one good season and not much of a track record. (Carl Pavano) We all know Beltran will do better than Bambi Williams; but I'm hoping his numbers kick Williams'. And I'm hoping he catches all those balls that Bernie can't get to, and gets a few clutch hits that the Chokin' Crankees could've used. Those Junkee fans will be begging for Beltran -- if the Mets keep underacheiving, they might be able to trade for him in a few years. And that better not happen.

5) Javy Vazquez - he had one bad half-season, and the Yanks said "sayonara." He didn't want to pitch on the west coast, and the Yankees couldn't care less. I respected Vazquez for saying "you'll regret it" when the Yankees traded him, especially since they treated him like dirt (or slightly better than one of George's secretaries). Vazquez, unlike Pavano, has a track record; from '00-'03, his highest ERA was 4.05, while Pavano's best was 4.30 in '03 (not to mention his 6.33 whopper in '01). Vazquez will have better numbers than Pavano this year, and the Yanks will regret it. Go Javy!

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