Cautious optimism

I get excited about strong pitching rotations. I mean, I’m excited about the Yankees in general, but I think having the potential for a dominating rotation, with CC, AJ, Wang, Pettitte, and Joba (with Hughes, Kennedy, and Aceves as backups) is particularly exciting.

But before I get too carried away and start envisioning each pitcher winning 20 games, I have to think back to 2005, when I was in some ways similarly optimistic. Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, and Jaret Wright. Seemed potentially dominating at the time. I disagreed with the Jaret Wright signing from the outset, but figured as a 5th starter, he’d be more than adequate.

Well, of course, I was wrong. Tyler Kepner of the Times has a good article reminding all of us of just that. The picture used in the article is very similar to the picture I used as a desktop wallpaper during spring training in ’05 (only mine had Moose in it too). I immediately went and changed my wallpaper after I saw it. I did have a picture of CC and AJ standing in the new Yankees stadium – but I don’t want to jinx them so I want back to some generic picture of an ocean. Better to play it safe.

Of course, there are numerous reasons why this year will be different: Pettitte is generally reliable. The other 4 are significantly younger than the pitchers in ’05. AJ, while injury prone, has far better stuff than Pavano or Wright. And so on. But still, odds are that at least one and probably at least two of the current Yankee starters won’t live up to expectations. That doesn’t mean they’ll be Pavano-like disasters. Just that they won’t reach that ceiling that Yankees fans (including myself) envision for them.

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