New York Yankees Off-Season Recap – It has been eight years since the New York Yankees captured a World Series Championship, and the organization is as hungry as ever to end that drought in 2008. The Steinbrenner regime is committed to bringing one last pennant to the loyal Bronx bomber fans before they see Yankee Stadium close following the seasons culmination.
One thing working in favor of the Yankees is history. In its final season, Yankee Stadium will host the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. If history were to repeat itself, this is great news for the club because the previous three times they have hosted the game, the Yankees have made it into the World Series. In 1939, the first All-Star game was held at the stadium and the Yankees went on to win their 8th World Series Championship later in the season. In 1960, the second All-Star game was played in the Bronx and the Yankees again made it to the World Series, only to lose in Game 7 to the Pirates. The most recent All-Star game at Yankee Stadium took place in 1977, and you guessed it, the men in pin stripes went on to beat the Dodgers in the World Series for their 21st ring.
This off-season, the organization has put itself in great shape to give them a shot at getting back into the fall classic. It won’t be easy playing in the same division as the defending World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox, but the Yankees will battle their rivals into late September for the division and league titles, and do it with a lot of familiar faces.
The Yankees locked up All-Star C Jorge Posada to a four-year contract deal in November. Posada had an amazing offensive year at the plate, finishing 4th in the league with a .338 batting average, best among all catchers in MLB. He also led all MLB catchers in hits (171), runs (91), doubles (42), walks (74), On Base Percentage (.426), and Slugging Percentage (.543).
The club picked up the 2008 contract option on OF Bobby Abreau. The utility outfielder had a very solid 2007 batting .283, driving in 101 runs, belting 25 HR’s, and stealing 25 bases. He will most likely be used in right field for the Yankees in the 2008 MLB season.
One of the most historic signings ever took place on Dec. 13th, 2007 when the Yankees closed a deal with 3B Alex Rodriguez. The 2007 American League MVP had opted out of his club option for 2008 seeking free-agency and luckily for the Yankees, they were able to negotiate terms to a new deal. The deal set a record for baseball’s highest contract where Rodriguez is set to make $275 million dollars over 10 years.
RHP Mariano Rivera, arguably the greatest closer of all time, signed a three-year $45 million dollar contract with the Yankees. This deal almost guarantees that ‘Mo’ will finish his incredible career with New York. The closer role is only his to lose and he will be there until he can not finish games. Rookie Joba Chamberlin will start as the team’s setup man, and may or may not end up in the starting rotation.
Other off-season signings include one-year contract deals with LHP Andy Pettitte and RHP LaTroy Hawkins. Pettitte was in the Yankees starting rotation last season while Hawkins pitched in the NL Champions bullpen with the Colorado Rockies. Another free-agent signed was C Jose Molina for a two-year contract. Molina had spent the prior 7 MLB season catching for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization.
One face that has been a cornerstone in the Yankees organization over the past decade that will not be returning is former skipper, Joe Torre. Torre signed a three-year, $13-million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and will take over the young NL West team. Replacing Torre as manager will be former Yankees catcher Joe Girardi. Girardi also signed a three-year deal worth $6-million dollars and figures to pick up Torre’s success right where he left off.
We also may have seen Roger Clemens throw his final pitch in Yankee pin stripes. The veteran pitcher was denied salary arbitration and will likely be calling it quits this off-season, wrapping up a brilliant 24 year career in the big leagues.
Baseball in the American League East will be very exciting this season. The Yankees have all the pieces to make a 2008 Championship dream, a reality. The question is whether or not they can put together the puzzle before the Boston Red Sox do. Make sure to contact Ace Ticket today for your Yankee/Red Sox ticket needs!
Recap: Madison Square Garden has always been a great place to watch a hockey game and this year the New York Rangers have appreciated the home rink advantage winning 15 games in their backyard. That’s good for best in the division and 2nd best in the Eastern Conference. If all of their games during the second half were at home, you’d be watching a playoff caliber team. Unfortunately, the majority of the remaining schedule is road game, a place where they have struggled all year long. Veteran leaders Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan need to step it up and show the team what it takes to win on the road if they want any chance of making the playoffs.
2nd Half – The Rangers will score more goals in the second half of the season, their 118 in the first half was 3rd worst in the league. The problem is they will give up more goals as well. In only his second year in the league, starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has struggled at times and will have to play better on the road for the Rangers to make the playoffs.
Final Standing Predictions: 5th in Atlantic Conference, 9th in Eastern Division
Team Name: New York Rangers (22-21-6)
Atlantic Division Standing: 5th place
Conference Standing: 9th place
The Mets have been suspiciously quiet this offseason. The only real move of note is trading Lastings Milledge for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church. Sources close to the Mets seem to believe that Omar Minaya is holding out for a 4-1 type deal for Johan Santana to be worked out.