March 30, 2003
Manager: Joe Torre (eighth season).
He's here: LF Hideki Matsui, RHP Jose Contreras, LHP Chris Hammond, OF Bubba Trammell, RHP Juan Acevedo, RHP Antonio Osuna, INF Todd Zeile, C John Flaherty.
He's outta here: LHP Mike Stanton, RHP Ramiro Mendoza, RHP Orlando Hernandez, OF Rondell White, OF Shane Spencer, OF John Vander Wal, INF Ron Coomer.
Projected lineup: 2B Alfonso Soriano (.300, 39 HRs, 102 RBIs, 41 SBs, 51 2Bs), SS Derek Jeter (.297, 18, 75, 124 runs, 32 SBs), 1B Jason Giambi (.314, 41, 122, 120 runs, 109 BBs, .435 OBP), CF Bernie Williams (.333, 19, 102, 102 runs, .415 OBP), LF Hideki Matsui (.334, 50, 107 in Japan), C Jorge Posada (.268, 20, 99), 3B Robin Ventura (.247, 27, 93), RF Raul Mondesi (.232, 26, 88), DH Nick Johnson (.243, 15, 58) or Bubba Trammell (.243, 17, 56).
Rotation: RH Roger Clemens (13-6, 4.35 ERA, 192 Ks), RH Mike Mussina (18-10, 4.05, 182 Ks, 27 HRs allowed), LH Andy Pettitte (13-5, 3.27), LH David Wells (19-7, 3.75), RH Jeff Weaver (11-11, 3.52).
Key relievers: RH Mariano Rivera (1-4, 2.74, 28/32 saves), RH Steve Karsay (6-4, 3.26, 12/16), LH Chris Hammond (7-2, 0.95 with Atlanta).
Hot spot: Wells angered management and some of his teammates with an autobiography filled with revelations of drinking, drug use and disparaging talk that the Yankees felt tarnished their image. Wells, usually a crowd favorite, figures to be razzed if he doesn't pitch well right from the start.
Stat sheet: The Yankees struck out a league-high 1,171 times last year, frustrating Torre at times with their lack of hitting. The strikeouts weren't much of a problem, though, as New York led the majors with 897 runs.
Bottom line: Two years without a World Series title has left owner George Steinbrenner on edge. The Boss has already gone after Jeter and Torre's coaching staff and won't settle for anything short of a championship. Payroll will exceed $150 million, making them the favorite for their sixth straight division title. If Matsui adjusts to the majors anywhere near as well as Ichiro Suzuki did two years ago for Seattle, the Yankees figure to have the best offense in the league once again.