New York Yankees Fantasy Report
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Despite losing three of their past four games, the Yanks are heating up, going 14-6 since July 4 to pull within a game of the second-place Red Sox in the AL East.
Trust the Yanks to replace one All-Star with another just like that. Jorge Posada, limited to just 51 games this season with a wonky shoulder, decided to undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery Wednesday, and so the same day, the Pinstripers land Ivan Rodriguez from the Tigers for Kyle Farnsworth.
Coming off a career year in 2007, Posada signed a four-year, $52.4-million deal to return to New York, a contract that’s not looking like a good investment right now. It’s a move I began souring on back in May. He’ll miss six months, but should be ready for Opening Day 2009. Supposedly.
Clearly, if you haven’t given up on Posada already, do so now. But who should you pick up to replace him? Some names I’m watching: there’s a very slim chance (depending on how shallow your league is) that A.J. Pierzynski is available; in any leagues that I-Rod was still out there, he’s being snapped up, but it’s worth checking, especially if you’re that Posada owner. I’d say your best bet at this point is grabbing Kurt Suzuki from the A’s. He’s out there in at least three-quarters of leagues, is scorching hot (.455 in the last week, .326 in July, .370 in June), and still has plenty of upside, even though catchers do tend to wear down towards the end of the season.
Xavier Nady isn’t exactly making a seamless transition into Pinstripes, batting just .200 through five games. However, he’s smacked two doubles and gone yard once. Despite his sluggish start in the Apple, batting average wise, the dude is still hitting .346 this month with ten extra-base hits in just 81 at bats.
The other Pirate the Yanks pilfered – Damaso Marte – is also struggling in the early going, with a 7.71 ERA for his first three appearances as a Yank. With Farnsworth gone, Marte is sure to get plenty of hold chances, and of course, he’s had success in the AL before, but right now, I can’t recommend him.
While the Yanks have been pecking away at the AL East lead, they face the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels – who just got better with the acquisition of Mark Teixeira — ten times over their final 55 games, starting Thursday with a four-game set in New York.
Andy Pettitte, who’s been excellent lately, takes the hill for the opener against Jon Garland. Dandy Andy is averaging over 100 pitches per start for the first time since 2003, but is showing no signs of wearing down, enjoying his finest season since his career year in 2005 with the ‘Stros.
Sidney Ponson, pasted by the BoSox his last time out, takes the hill Friday vs. Ervin Santana. I’m not expecting much, and neither should you. Please tell me you’re not one of those that actually picked this dude up.
Mike Mussina, who starts Saturday against Jered Weaver, is also coming off a shellacking, causing some to lose confidence in the Moose. He’s been on such a roll this month, that’d I overlook it, although I am slightly concerned by the number of hits he’s giving up lately. At some point, he won’t be quite as lucky with his strand rates.
The series finale Sunday pits Darrell Rasner against John Lackey. I’m inclined not to start Rasner in this outing; in fact, if you’re still among those keeping him on the roster of your AL-only league, it’s time to cut bait. His last quality start was back on June 6 against the offensively-stunted Royals, and even in that outing, he gave up nine hits in eight innings. Rasner’s control has been good, and as long as he’s starting for the Yankees, he can provide some help in wins, but I am not seeing any progress from him, so have a difficult time rationalizing his fantasy use.
Hideki Matsui, out since late June with a knee injury, is making some progress. He took 25 swings off a tee and then another ten soft-toss swings on Wednesday. He’s still wearing a brace, however, so if you haven’t cut him yet, it’s definitely time to at least think about it. Matsui believes he’ll play again this year, but with Nady aboard, no way do the Yanks rush Godzilla.
It’s about time to start considering Bobby Abreu as one of the greatest players to ever come out of Venezuela. There’s been plenty of great ones (Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio; All-Stars Vic Davalillo, Dave Concepcion, Manny Trillo, Tony Armas, Bo Diaz, Ozzie Guillen, Andres Galarraga, Omar Vizquel, Wilson Alvarez, Carlos Garcia, Edgardo Alfonzo, Ugueth Urbina, Magglio Ordonez, Alex Gonzalez (the one from the Marlins), Carlos Guillen, Freddy Garcia, Melvin Mora, Ramon Hernandez, Johan Santana, Cesar Izturis, Carlos Zambrano, Victor Martinez, Francisco Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Lopez among others), but Abreu is starting to set career records. His double Wednesday (which was accompanied by a pair of dingers) was number 444 of his career, tying The Cat, Andres Galarraga, for the most ever by a player from Venezuela. After a huge May, Abreu has been rather quiet, but he’s sure tearing it up now. In the past week, he’s 11-for-21 with eight runs, seven RBI, five doubles, five walks and two dingers. He’s bounced back somewhat after a down year in 2007, but for fantasy owners, Abreu’s lack of running game (just 13-for-20 in steal attempts) has really hurt.