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CC Sabathia says Yankees, not Red Sox, are the team to beat

Dec 10, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

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Asked yesterday what the Red Sox adding Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to their lineup does to the AL East picture, CC Sabathia predictably responded that the Yankees remain the team to beat in 2011.

You want me to say the Red Sox are the favorites? I mean … I think the Yankees. If you look in our clubhouse and look at our lineup and the things we can do, it’s hard not to like our chances.

Sabathia’s quote is pretty innocuous and anything but surprising, yet it somehow made back-page headlines in the New York Daily News (and its own post here, which I suppose makes me a co-conspirator). He even went on to say that the Red Sox “made some good moves” and “any time you can add a guy like Carl, and Adrian, that makes your lineup that much better” while adding that the Yankees are “just getting started” with their offseason additions (read: Lee, Cliff).

Also of note: Tampa Bay actually won the AL East this year. And in 2008.

  1. primobang3000 - Dec 10, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    If there is a baseball god, Cliff Lee will sign with Texas.

  2. Old Gator - Dec 10, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    So the Beanbags will beat them. Nicely put, CC. And barring some heretofore unguessed miracle, Tampa Bay will be out of the picture by June.

  3. uyf1950 - Dec 10, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    What some fans and the so called “experts” seem to have forgotten is the Yankees won 95 games this past season with effectively the same roster at they currently have (assuming Pettitte come back). That’s with a sub-par season by ARod, Tex & Jeter. While ARod and Jeter may not be the players they were a few years back I have no doubt that each will have at least if not a better season then 2010. The same thing applies to Tex., no way he bats under .260 again. Now about the pitching again assuming Pettitte comes back does anyone doubt that the combination of CC, Pettitte and Hughes won’t win at least 50 games (their 2010 total). That only leaves the 2 “head cases” AJ and Vazquez who combined won 20 games. Unfortunately the Yankees are stuck with AJ he won 10 games last year. He should be good for that even in his current condition. While Vazquez is no longer on the Yankee payroll, whoever the Yankees get do replace him can’t possibly do any worse. The Yankee catching position should be better without Posada behind the plate full time and Granderson should show improvement. To be honest and even with a moderately improved bullpen in 2011 I can’t see the Yankees winning any less than 95 games, with Andy in the rotation. That should certainly be good enough for the post season even if they don’t get Lee. Just me opinion.

  4. Kevin S. - Dec 10, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    “Also of note: Tampa Bay actually won the AL East this year. And in 2008.”

    Also of note: Tampa Bay actually is replacing a seven-win outfielder with a rookie and has some other lineup holes to fill on the cheap. Look, I think the Rays are good enough to win 90 games and hang around last year, but they basically played the Yankees to a draw over the course of the season and are losing a lot more talent this offseason. Snide reminders that Tampa actually won the division last year don’t change the fact that they probably aren’t the “team to beat.”

    • Kevin S. - Dec 10, 2010 at 10:56 AM

      hang around *this* year,

      Boo lack of edit button!

    • buddaley - Dec 10, 2010 at 2:12 PM

      I think most of these projections are premature-for at least 2 reasons:

      1. The off-season is not yet over. We do not know what the rosters will look like yet. Having divested themselves of the contracts of Pena, Crawford and probably Bartlett-and possibly one of their more expensive starting pitchers as well-the Rays may use some of those savings to acquire a productive DH or 1B for example.

      2. Calling Crawford a 7 win outfielder is something of an overstatement. He was that in 2010, but has never been near it before. He was at 5.7 (on fangraphs) in 2009 but only 2.5 in 2008 when the Rays went to the World Series. Do we know what his replacement (likely Jennings) will be? And can we be so certain that other young players, perhaps Joyce, Sean Rodriguez, Brignac, will not add more value than they did last year.

      Nobody is in fantasyland thinking the Rays will not have serious obstacles to overcome. But with what seems to be a solid rotation and some young and developing talent on hand, as well as a creative front office, it is too early to count them out.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 10, 2010 at 3:47 PM

        If we’re talking about the “team to beat” we’re talking about what happened last year and how things change in the offseason. And last year, Carl Crawford was a seven-win player. I’m not saying that Desmond Jennings is bad or anything, I’m just saying that it’s highly likely that 2011 Desmond Jennings will be several wins worse than 2010 Carl Crawford.

  5. jkay123 - Dec 10, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    what is wrong with what he said? What is he going to say the red sox are amazing, it’s a wrap etc.

  6. thinman61 - Dec 10, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    Last time I checked, there are still 162 games remaining in the 2011 baseball season, each of which needs to be played. Nobody wins World Series titles in December. This time last year, I don’t think anyone would have predicted the slow start the Sox got off to in April, nor the rash of injuries they then had to endure. This is baseball. Weird stuff can (and most likely will) happen.

    /voice of reason

  7. frankvzappa - Dec 10, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    looks like all that fat is cutting off the circulation to CC’s brain…Yanks better make a good run this year, because by 2012 CC will probably weigh about 400 pounds and need a forklift to get out to the mound…right about the time every Red Sox is in the middle of their prime…

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