|There’s no question that the 2006 Yankees’ roster is more intimidating and tight than in any time in the recent past. The lineup offers no easy outs for opposing pitchers, and all of the position players finally seem at home at their posts. The first two games of the season went off without a hitch; it really looks like this year might really be their year.
Of course, there is always a “but”. In this case, the “but” is the Yankees rotation. Like last year, the starting rotation looks good in print: Randy Johnson, Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, Mike Mussina, Shawn Chacon. Sadly, like a beautiful vapid model, this pitching rotation doesn’t have much substance to back up the surface good looks. The pitching staff is riddled with problems, from Wright’s and Pavano’s propensity towards poorly-timed injuries to Mussina’s relative instability, not to mention the fact that we have yet to see how Chacon will perform over the course of a full season with the Yanks.
Luckily for the Yankees, with a batting lineup like they have this year even average pitching will do. This is not to say, however, that the Yanks should settle for the hurlers they have now. It would truly behoove them to add a solid starter to their roster. Clemens is one obvious semi-option (I say “semi” because it will be up to Clemens to decide whether to even consider the Yankees), but my personal vision for the Yankees is a pinstriped Barry Zito. He has communicated his interest in possibly moving to the Bronx after his contract is up this year, but why not make a push for him this season?
The bottom line is that the Yankees have a nearly impeccable squad this year. Their chances of making it to October are high, but a bolstered starting rotation would make them the team to beat.