I had the pleasure to have our first interview with Kevin Rozell, owner of Zell’s Pinstripe Blog. I asked him a few questions regarding the 2010 Yankees. Check it out.
1. On paper, Is this team better than the 2009 Yankees?
No doubt about it. The addition of Javier Vazquez is the main reason why. The game isn’t played on paper though, so we’ll have to wait and see if this team can repeat. Injuries, team chemistry, and “off-season” changes can all change this.

2. If you had to pinpoint one player, who is the most vital part to the team’s success?

It’s really hard to pick just one, so I’m going to have to go with Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera. Last year,¬†everyone saw how the Yankees were struggling early on in the season, and when Alex came back they looked like a whole different ball club. When he’s in the lineup, it allows all the other players to relax and be themselves.
And of Course, Mariano Rivera. Last postseason, after we saw some of the best closers in the game falter in big time situations, it just gives the fans a better appreciation for what Mariano does. He’s the best closer of all-time, and there’s no other player I would want on the mound in all of baseball in a big spot. People don’t realize how many games are lost in the last three outs of a ballgame. We’re spoiled by having this guy on our team, so we don’t realize how hard it is to have someone like him.

3. How much do you think Derek Jeter will receive in the off-season?

I’m 100% sure he will be a New York Yankee next season, and I don’t think there is even the slightest chance he goes elsewhere. He means too much to the franchise, and Derek loves playing here. So, why even debate it? Derek will get pretty much whatever he wants, as the Yankees won’t want to put themselves in a situation where they are embarrassed in front of the whole country. He will be the hot issue this off-season. If I were to guess, I would say he gets something like 5yrs/$100M. He’s got all the leverage in these negotiations, so it may be for more money. If the Yankees were to make an issue about this, you know damn well who the fans will side with. Derek Jeter.

4. Bigger Impact in 2010: Brett Gardner or Randy Winn? Why?

I would say Brett Gardner, only because I feel like everybody has a love affair with this guy. I question his ability to hit. If he can get on base, there will be no problems, but I think there are some serious questions about that. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with giving Gardner another chance, but I’m not expecting much out of him. Winn doesn’t have a starting job right now, so it would be kind of stupid to pick him. If Gardner loses the job, I could definitely see Winn taking his spot. Not sure how long the ball club will stick with him instead of Gardner though.

5. Do you think we will see Jesus Montero this season?

I can’t wait for this kid to be called up from Scranton. The guy has an unbelievable bat and the staff said that he’s been working diligently on his defense. That’s the only real reason why he’s in the minors anyway, and I don’t think that should stop the Yankees from calling him up. I could see them calling him up towards the end of the season, but the feeling around the organization is that they want him to stay in the minors and work on his overall game. If something were to happen to Francisco Cervelli or even Jorge Posada, it’ll be a different story.

6. What weaknesses does this team have?

To be honest, there aren’t any real weaknesses. This is the first time in a long time that people can actually say that. They have the best lineup in all of baseball and arguably the best rotation. In recent seasons, they usually had the most powerful lineup, but a weak rotation. That isn’t the case in last season or 2010. After acquiring Sabathia, Burnett, and now Vazquez…the Yankees are loaded with starting pitching. Over the last few seasons, the bullpen was the main weakness. However, it’s now extremely deep and talented. Aceves, Robertson, Chamberlain and Rivera anchor the bullpen. The only negative? Mariano’s age. He’s 40 years-old now. When will he show signs of a mortal?

7. How many games do you plan to attend?

So far, I only have tickets to one game and that’s the Yankees home opener. I’ll get to see the team get their World Series rings. Steinbrenner and Matsui will be in the house, so I’m pretty excited about that. I¬†plan on going to a few more games this season, but nothing is set in stone.
Thanks, Kevin. Check out his blog. Season starts tonight!

Photo Credit: news.yahoo.com