Here at the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog, we like to do a lot of thinking. Not just any kind of thinking mind you, but rather the kind of thinking that leads to action, and the kind of action that leads to incarceration. But not all of our thoughts are related to stealing Deron's pension, some of our thoughts are related to baseball, and the Yankees. To this end, here are our thoughts about some positive signs that 2009 will be a good year for the New York Yankees.
Phil Coke. Mr. Coke only threw 14.2 innings last year, and I know we've been burnt by our youth movement before, but Coke shows some signs that he could carry his success to 2009. Though a starter by trade, Coke was used a reliever, and was very efficient to that end. The question will be whether they want Coke to start, which he may be able to do. He's not a lefty specialist since he was better against righties than he was against lefties, and if he can get righties out as a lefty, why not let him start a few games? Whether he's vying for a spot in the rotation, or he's sitting in the bullpen Coke could prove to be a valuable asset to the Yankees.
Robinson Cano. After his absolute worst season in the majors some may have lost confidence in Cano, but I think he's primed for a huge comeback next season. A "Comeback Player of the Year" kind of comeback. In the midst of this awful season many may have overlooked that he finished the season with an 11 game hitting streak batting .450 in that stretch with 11 RBI's. The man can still hit.
Joe Girardi. Weren't we just criticizing him a week ago for losing the veteran clubhouse, and watching the youth movement decline under his watch? Yes, but this is exactly why I think he'll do better next season. He won't make the same mistakes that alienated his veterans, and he now knows that he needs to push these kids more.
Alex Rodriguez. Anyone whose watched A-Rod's tenure as a Yankee knows that he always wins an MVP in odd years. 2005, 2007, and now 2009. I expect him to hit 60 homeruns and with Madonna by his side, he could hit 80.
Alfredo Aceves. Aceves started against the Rays, Angels, White Sox, Orioles and Red Sox in September, 4 of which were post season contenders. His last start of the season against the Red Sox was not particularly impressive, but his other appearances more than make up for it. Will he be able to continue these performances into 2009? Usually, the reason rookie's digress is that they did not learn to pitch, they only learned to throw. The difference? They rely on their talent, and not on their smarts. They blew fastballs by hitters in the minors, and then had some success doing so in the majors, but eventually, big league hitters catch onto the trick and start knocking those fastballs out of the park. The rookie pitcher, knowing nothing else, continues to launch his fastball and continues to get rocked. Aceves is not a rookie in the traditional sense. He is a veteran of the Mexican league, and although the quality of hitters is much different, he has enough experience to know how to switch things up, and I suspect that is what allowed him to pitch excellently against 4 big league teams, 3 of them post season contenders.
Derek Jeter. Its hard to lose a season when your shortstop wins a batting title. You heard it here first.
Chamberlain and Hughes. Between the two of them, I suspect we'll get a full 30 starts, and not the Hughes of Spring, 2008 kind of starts. I'm talking about the Hughes of September, 2008. The best kind of Hughes there is.
Free Agent Player to be Named. There's no doubt about it, the Yankees are signing some big free agent. I don't know who it will be, but trust that the Yankees will have one of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, or AJ Burnett.