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Restoring the rosters: No. 5 – New York Yankees

Sep 4, 2009, 5:05 PM EDT

This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
No. 16 – Florida
No. 15 – San Francisco
No. 14 – Texas
No. 13 – Cleveland
No. 12 – Minnesota
No. 11 – Arizona
No. 10 – Los Angeles (AL)
No. 9 – Toronto
No. 8 – Boston
No. 7 – Colorado
No. 6 – Montreal/Washington
Things couldn’t have gone any differently for the franchises over the last 15 years, but in these rankings, the Yankees follow the Nationals and come in at No. 5.
Rotation
Andy Pettitte
Joba Chamberlain
Phil Hughes
Chien-Ming Wang
Jose Contreras
Bullpen
Mariano Rivera
Russ Springer
Phil Coke
Tyler Clippard
Manny Acosta
David Robertson
Jeff Karstens
The staff definitely lacks depth, but there’s a reliable veteran to top the rotation, three very good arms behind him and then the greatest closer ever to finish it all off.
Of course, I am giving Chamberlain, Hughes and Wang quite a bit of credit here. Chamberlain and Hughes still haven’t proven much at all as starters, and Wang hasn’t resembled a major league pitcher since the first half of 2008. I’m pretty much rating them all as No. 3 starters for my purposes. Perhaps it’s a bit of reach, but the talent is obviously there for the youngsters to go beyond that and Wang may yet get back to that level.
If he doesn’t, well, there’s always Kei Igawa.
Lineup
SS Derek Jeter
1B Nick Johnson
C Jorge Posada
DH Hideki Matsui
LF Alfonso Soriano
2B Robinson Cano
RF Juan Rivera
3B Mike Lowell
CF Melky Cabrera
Bench
INF Cristian Guzman
OF Brett Gardner
OF Marcus Thames
C Dioner Navarro
Now that’s a whole lot better. It’s still not quite as potent as the current Yankee lineup, but it ranks right up there with the top lineups in these rankings. There are plenty of lineup options with such a group, but I’ve chosen to concentrate the OBP at the top of the order and the run producers at the bottom. Soriano is the wild card. Fifth would seem to be the right spot for him if he rebounded to his 2008 performance. With the way he’s played this year, he belongs in the eighth or ninth spot.
Summary
The Yankees’ lofty rating could be considered a testament to an organization that has had one top-20 draft pick since 1993 (C.J. Henry, No. 17 in 2005), but there’s also a lot that needs to be owed to luck. The 39-year-old Rivera, the 35-year-old Jeter and the 38-year-old Posada are freaks. They’re as good or better now than they were 10 years ago, and that simply wasn’t supposed to happen. With Lowell, Matsui and even Springer also playing key roles, the Yankees are getting more value here from old players than any other team.
In this case, that’s enough to overcome the team’s late-90s, early-2000s dry spell as far as producing talent, particularly through the draft. Recent years have seen the farm system become more productive, and the team currently boasts one of the game’s very best prospects in Jesus Montero.

  1. Baseball Fan - Sep 4, 2009 at 5:51 PM

    About 10 spots too high. Age, a weak bench, very poor starting rotation and incredible injury risks are all I see.

  2. rdawg - Sep 4, 2009 at 6:29 PM

    That leaves Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Seattle. Very interesting.

  3. Bulldog73 - Sep 4, 2009 at 6:38 PM

    I agree with Baseball Fan, way too high. Neither the lineup nor the rotation, let alone the bench or the relievers behind Rivera, justify being in the top 10.
    Oh, and just what we always need, another picture of Pretty Boy Jeter.

  4. JLHC - Sep 4, 2009 at 8:30 PM

    I agree with baseball fan… this is way over-rating the offense by far. Posada, Matsui, Soriano? Not even close to deserving this ranking. Pettite-Joba-Hughes? Nuh uh, way over-rated. Pettite’s not even a top-10 pitcher in the league, and Joba/Phil aren’t proven yet at all. I love this series, but this entry for the yankees is the first entry I have a strong disagreement on.

  5. Alan - Sep 5, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    I agree with the writer. I see these players each day. Posada is the best hitting catcher in baseball. Matsui, look at his numbers there impressive and Soriano is just having a horrible year but is still a great hitter. The Staff of Andy Pettite, Joba and Hughes are good and they haven’t been around long enough to rate them. It sound like we have Yankee haters writing here. It’s always good to hear from Yankee haters because they don’t see or acknowledge the home grown talent that we bring up.

  6. Alan - Sep 5, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    I agree with the writer. I see these players each day. Posada is the best hitting catcher in baseball. Matsui, look at his numbers there impressive and Soriano is just having a horrible year but is still a great hitter. The Staff of Andy Pettite, Joba and Hughes are good and they haven’t been around long enough to rate them. It sound like we have Yankee haters writing here. It’s always good to hear from Yankee haters because they don’t see or acknowledge the home grown talent that we bring up.

  7. Brendan - Sep 5, 2009 at 12:28 PM

    “I see these players each day. Posada is the best hitting catcher in baseball.”
    Have you had a chance to watch the Twins this year? I’d be curious to find out what would lead to the conclusion that Posada is a better hitting catcher than Joe Mauer.

  8. irrelevant - Sep 5, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    Way too high. These Yankees are too old and seriously lack defensive. Nationals/Expos should be higher.
    You lose credibility when you do stuff like this – the Yankees are ranked higher due to their current success and the Nationals failures.

  9. JLHC - Sep 5, 2009 at 7:30 PM

    C’mon, Alan…
    The amorous lens through which you see Posada and Matsui is completely myopic, I’m glad someone else noted Mauer so I don’t have to. Moreover, he’s in this lineup as an underwhelming #3 hitter. The cherry on your sunday is the feat of self deception:
    “The Staff of Andy Pettite, Joba and Hughes are good and they haven’t been around long enough to rate them.”
    Ah, but that is what this article is about, rating them, Alan. To make it simple for you, perhaps looking back just one spot to the NatSpos will show you a better lineup and staff.

  10. Yanks09 - Sep 6, 2009 at 12:51 AM

    What you Yankee haters fail to realize is that despite these players being “old” they are having fine years offensively for the most part and some of them have even gotten better defensively(Captain Jeter anyone?). Yes Posada is not the greatest hitting catcher in the league but he is top 5 in that category. This team as it is has a high OBP and can work the count and tire pitchers out if this was actually the Yankees lineup. Soriano would thrive at New Yankee Stadium and when Cano is still your #6 hitter than you know you have a pretty darn good lineup. The rotation has its problems but for the most part has a high ceiling and with the way Pettitte has been pitching in the second half he would be an adequate anchor to the rotation. Philthy Phil and Joba are inconsistent but when they are on they are tough to beat and if Wang can get it together he is another top of the rotation starter. Mariona Rivera is like fine wine and gets better with age and Phil Coke, Robertson, and Karstens can hold the fort down until the ninth. I say this ranking is reasonable with the Nationals/Expos possibly being ahead of them in this list.

  11. kenny - Sep 10, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    I love how anyone dont bow to the Yankees and there greatness is automatically a hater. I can see my last post on this didnt get posted, oh well.
    But In summary, the Rays team this guy has would beat this Yankees team. So would the Blue Jays, who have far superior pitching. And the offense isnt to shappy either. This Yankees team isnt top 10 on this list.

  12. BOB SALOMON - Sep 10, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    http://www.yankeeaddicts.com/news/fan-news/bernie-williams-drives-home-the-winning-message-of-a-glove-of-their-own/

  13. online stock trading - Feb 16, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    what a great site and informative posts, I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

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