2008 New York Yankees Team Preview – Betting

2008 New York Yankees - From a Betting Perspective
by Badger of Predictem.com

As is the case every year they dont win a World Series ring, the New
York Yankees are a team in turmoil again in 2008.

Sure they won 94 games (94-68) and earned another trip to the post
season last year, but thats not good enough for the pinstripes. An
early trip home courtesy of the Cleveland Indians in the first round
American League Divisional Series and all hell broke loose.

The Yankees basically let manager Joe Torre walk away after insulting
him with their contract offer, so in comes Torres old bench coach
Joe Girardi to fill out the lineup card. Then when Alex Rodriguez
opted out of his deal, they threatened to cut ties with him
permanently. When A-Rod came crawling back without agent Scott Boras,
the Yankees and Rodriguez finished a new, record-breaking deal.

But even with A-Rod back, and with Girardi calling the shots, the
Yankees are nothing like the Yankees of old. They showed fiscal
restraint by not trading for pitcher Johan Santana in the off-season,
choosing to give some of their young talent a chance before they go
shopping for overpriced veterans at the trading deadline.

Their off-season moves, or lack there of, is the main reason the
Yankees are listed as just 13-to-2 future odds to win this years
World Series
. In fact, the 2008 Yankees have a lot of questions to
answer before we can just anoint them with another post-season birth
and World Series title run.

2008 Outlook - Lineup

Normally stacked top to bottom with All-Stars and high-priced
veterans, the Yankees lineup this season will feature several high-
priced vets that could very well be past their all-star years.

Case in point is the Yankees leadoff hitter Johnny Damon. Damon
struggled with injuries all season and dropped to just .270 (.351
OBP) and 93 runs last year. The Yanks are so unimpressed with Damon
that they are even considering moving 4th outfield Melky Cabrera into
the full time role in centerfield.

The heart of the Yankees lineup remains intact, with Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu,
Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi pretty much set to man the 2 through 5 spots
in the order. Giambi is the huge key to this set up, because if the Yankees
expect him to protect A-Rod they are going to need to get more than the
14 homeruns and 39 RBIs they got out of Giambi in 2007.

Catcher Jorge Posada could slide up one spot to help protect A-Rod,
but after him the Yankees lineup is one big question mark.
Leftfielder Hideki Matsui is just now getting back after knee surgery
and most likely will be regulated to DH duties early in the season
(hence prompting Damons move from center to left). And if Matsui is
the DH, and if Giambi is not healthy enough to play first, then
either Shelly Duncan, Wilson Betemit or Morgan Ensberg will have to
play first and hit eighth.

Robinson Cano will anchor the 9th spot, giving the Yanks a rock-
solid .300 hitter with run-producing potential (19 HR, 97 RBI, 93 R)
at the bottom of the order.

2008 Wagering Outlook - Pitching

This is the area where the Yankees are either going to sink or swim
in 2008.

The Yankees are banking big time on the young arms of Phillip Hughes,
Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain. Hughes and Kennedy will likely go
into the rotation, while Chamberlain will start the season as the
main set-up man for closer Mariano Rivera. All three have big talent
and have had solid results in the big leagues so far (Hughes 5-3,
4.46 ERA; Kennedy 1-0, 1.89; Chamberlain 2-0, 0.38).

Chien-Ming Wang becomes the ace of the staff after winning 19 games
last season. He also becomes the rock of the rotation because no one
really knows what the Yankees will get out of veterans Andy Pettitte
and Mike Mussina. Both Pettitte and Mussina have been more injury
prone than effective in recent years, both if they can both be
average it could be enough for the Yankees to stay in the hunt.

The bullpen has some issues too. They are strong at the back end,
with Rivera back to be the closer and a three-headed combo of
Chamberlain, Kyle Farnsworth and free agent pickup LaTroy Hawkins to
get them through the 7th and 8th innings of close games.

It’s the Yankees middle relief and the lack of a serviceable lefty
for special situations that could hurt them this season, especially
if any of the young starters fail or Pettitte or Mussina go on the DL
for an extended period of time.

2008 Outlook Defense/Intangibles

The defense should be good enough for the Yankees to stay in
contention for most of the season, although they could end up with a
few glaring holes they may need to address at the trade deadline.

If Damon moves to left and Cabrera takes over in center, the outfield
should still be solid. The big question is whether or not Giambi can
handle playing first base on a consistent basis. He was never that
great of a first baseman to begin with, but add in creaky knees and
Giambi may need to be replaced in the late innings for defensive
purposes.

The Yankees schedule is also easy to start. Their early season series
versus rival Boston is sandwiched in between two series with the
Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals, and followed by a series with
Baltimore. They will have to get off to a fast start against those
teams because the end April and open May with 16 games against the
Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners.

They will also benefit from their draw in interleague play this
season, as they get to face Houston, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in June.

2008 Outlook Betting

The Yankees were a bad team to wager on in 2007, and with them being
a huge public favorite, their prospects for 2008 dont look much better.

New York was -1,062 on the moneyline last season, most likely when
they struggled out of the gate losing a lot of games early. They were
much better at home as heavy favorites (-140) then on the road as
heavy chalks (-922). The Yanks finished the year with a 79-72 mark on
over/unders.

Much like the Red Sox, betting on the Yankees requires you to lay a
lot of juice on the line, making it difficult at times to find the
best bang for your buck. One interesting thing to look for is to see
how oddsmakers treat the young pitchers on the Yankees staff. If
Hughes or Kennedy are favored on the moneyline in the -140 or -150
range at the start of the season, you might be able to find good
value there depending on the opponent.

The current 2008 Regular Season wins future at Bodog Sportsbook is listed at
93.5. With this team and all of the questions, I have a hard time
believing they will get over that win total. They would need to
duplicate last years 94 win total, and I simply dont think they
have as good a team as last year.