The 15 predictions and how they were for 2008
1) The Yankees should re-sign ARod. I then added after the fact, “Because no prospects were involved it is probably a good thing to get ARod back (clearly player wise it is), but if the numbers coming out are correct, the Yanks bid against themselves and spent way more than they needed to.” Ruling: It was a good move to keep ARod, however, they wasted money as they bid against themselves. Overall this was the right move and I believe I was right
2) “I said last year that I would like someone else to drive the Lamborghini and it is time for Mattingly or Girardi to step in. “ Ruling: I clearly was not right on this, but I have to say that I don’t think Torre would have made a difference this year. Girardi did not do to well in first year, but he clearly showed that he can handle a bullpen MUCH better than Torre and I think the rest/future will be better. This year was a bit of a perfect storm and things will get better. If Girardi does not adapt his style a little (mostly his attitude to the team and press) it is possible Mattingly comes back? While I would love that as I am a huge Donnie baseball fan, my hope is that the Yanks win and if they do Girardi will probably stay.
3) “I think their starting pitching and bullpen should be better and the lineup should be about the same. 93-96 wins seems in line.” Ruling: The Yankees won 89 games so I was wrong here. Considering this was the toughest division in baseball and the Yanks got pounded with injuries, this could be expected though. Does anyone think that if Posada and Wang were healthy (even if all the other injuries occurred, remember ARod missed over 20 games) the Yanks wouldn’t have won 93?
4) “Tampa Bay will be the most improved team in baseball.” Ruling – Correct, although I never figured they would win the AL Pennant
5) “The Yankees must retain Larry Bowa,” “The Yankees will miss Larry Bowa. It was a mistake to let him go.” Ruling: Correct, this was a terrible decision to not lock him down immediately. In fact many people think Cano struggled without him (I have no way of validating this), but we clearly had a much worse 3rd base coach.
6)“Posada - at 35 Posada had perhaps his best year so while I would not expect him to have the same year (in fact he should have the largest drop off of any Yankee) the fact that guys are having great years at an older age does make age a little less of a concern, but, a catcher rarely does this well this late in his career. LY 969 OPS, I would hope he keeps his OPS above 869 and that would be good.” Ruling: I was correct about the largest drop off, but his injury was obviously an issue.
7) Abreu – “my money is that his overall numbers will be better next year.” Ruling: Usually predicting an uptick for a guy 35 year old guy who had seen his OPS go down over the past years is dangerous, but I was correct on this one. Abreus OPS went up about 30 points, mostly because he hit 4 additional HR’s.
8)Matsui - “I would expect him to be similar in numbers.” Ruling: Inconclusive: Like Posada, his injuries sapped him of half his year and some of his power. His batting average and OBP were slightly better but he had significantly less power because of the knee.
9) Jeter – “I would expect his numbers to be about the same.” Ruling: Incorrect. Jeter had his worst year of his career (1997 was similar) not counting the cup of coffee he had his rookie year. His OPS dropped from .840 - .771.
10)Giambi – “I wouldn’t be surprised if Giambi did better though” Ruling: My prediction while correct was a little weak so I will only say Giambi was a very effective hitter last year
11)ARod –“ Have to assume a drop off from the great year, but not significant.” Ruling: Correct. Had a .965 OPS which is right on line with his career numbers so he had another excellent season. Missing 22 games he still hit 35 dingers, 33 doubles and had over 100 runs and RBI’s.
12) Cano – “I really think he could put up a 900 OPS, the guy has amazing talent.” Ruling: Ouch, embarrassingly incorrect. I didn’t see this coming from a guy who has excellent plate coverage and great wrists. His OPS dropped from .841 - .715.
13) Melky “His weakness from the right side of the plate is discouraging. I soured on Melky as the year went on, but I hope he can take the next step; I doubt it though. If he can it would be a huge plus for the Yanks. Unfortunately, I don't see the upside anywhere close to Cano's. I also don't think he has the speed to be a solid defensive CF'r...even with his strong and accurate arm (that he takes too long to release)...” Ruling: Correct. I give myself a correct because of souring on him and not seeing the upside, but I didn’t expect him to be so worthless. Maybe a somewhat correct is in order?
14) Damon – “had a big drop off last year, but I don't see him getting worse this year, in fact I would say a slight uptick would make sense” Ruling: Another prediction expecting an older guy to get better, but Damon came through for me (us) as he reverted back more to his norm and made this correct. In fact, Damon played a little better than expected finishing with an OPS of .836
15) “I want Santana. It is not common to have a clear top 3 pitcher available while still on the good side of 30.” Ruling: I have said when you are the Yankees you go out and fill in the top players at a position whenever you can because you can afford to. You then fill in the rest with prospects etc…It is unknown what the Yankees would have to give up but it appears it was Melky, Kennedy and Hughes. Hughes has upside and is the only reservation I would have, but I would still do it. Hard to say if I am right at this point in time as the development could take a few years.