By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
Front Roe Seat
Sorry to burst your bubble, Yank-ees fans, but as the Texas Rangers al-ready found out, Alex Rod-riguez is only a shortstop.
Or wait is he a third baseman?
Either way, A-Rod is not a pitcher. Though the Yankees will display one of the most powerful offensive lineups Major League Base-ball has ever seen, the facts remain.
Winning in baseball has always been about three things: pitching, defense and pitching. And no matter how many sluggers the Yankees purchase from other teams, as of right now, their pitching is not strong enough to give Rodriguez his first World Series championship.
Yes, New York may score 1,000 runs, and Rodriguez may become the first right-handed Yankee hitter to hit 50 home runs since Joe DiMaggio, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a championship.
Last season, the energetic Marlins came out of nowhere to claim a World Series title. How did they beat the mighty Yankees? Easy, led by the young arms of Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, Brad Penny and others, the Marlins out- pitched the storied Yankees.
I agree, New York did in fact add Kevin Brown and Javier Vasquez to its starting rotation in the off-season. However, it also lost Roger Clemens and two left-handers in Andy Pettitte and David Wells. And its number four and five starters are unproven Jose Contreras and often-injured Jon Lieber.
The Yankees have never won a World Series without a left hander in its starting rotation, and as of right now, New York is starting five right-handers in its rotation.
While the Yankees were adding Gary Sheffield and Rodriguez, other teams were adding to its pitching staff. The Chicago Cubs just recently added Greg Maddux to a rotation that already includes Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Matt Clement and Victor Zambrano.
The Houston Astros added both former Yankees in Clemens and Pettitte to a rotation that already includes Wade Miller and Roy Oswalt.
And let’s not forget about the Yankees archrivals, the Boston Red Sox. Though Boston is taking hard criticism for losing A-rod to the Evil Empire in New York, the Red Sox had a great off-season.
After owning one of the best pitching staffs in 2003 that featured Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox went out and acquired ace Curt Schilling and closer Keith Foulke.
Over in the American League West, the Oakland Athletics still have the trio of Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, and the Angels added ace Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar to their rotation that won the World Series just two seasons ago.
Alex Rodriguez is a great player and will help the Yankees on and off the field. But the fact remains: A-Rod can’t pitch.