This is the very first edition of the NYSOS mailbag. I got a decent amount of e-mails, so make sure you keep sending them every week. ( Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see your question. Re-send it and I’ll get to it next week.

Anyway, on to this week’s edition of the mailbag. I selected three questions (all Yankee based) and my Super Bowl prediction, so let’s not waste anymore time…

Julian asks:

I have been wondering about the backup infielder spot for the Yanks. The Yanks currently have Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez vying for playing time. To me, Nunez seems the better fit for the platoon role. What do you think they will do with Nunez and what does the future look like for Colin Curtis?

Even though Pena was on the postseason roster, Nunez is going to be the better player for the Bombers. Hitting-wise, Nunez looks like Babe Ruth compared to Pena. Over the last two seasons in Triple A, Nunez has hit .322 and .289 respectively. In 154 at-bats with the Bombers last year, Pena put up a putrid line of .227/.258/.247 with only two extra base hits. Pena is a wizard with the glove though, ranking well above league average universal zone ratings for shortstop, third base, and second base. Neither player is a burner, so rule out speed.

The Yankees will likely start the season with Pena in New York because they don’t want Nunez’s skills rotting on the bench. Let Nunez go play Triple A and call him up if you need him.

As for Curtis, he will start the season in Triple A. In 59 at-bats with the Yanks last year, he posted a .186/.250/.288 line with one home run. At times, Curtis looked a little over-matched as he struck out in 25% of his at-bats. Curtis is currently behind Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner, Andruw Jones, and Justin Maxwell on the depth chart. I could even argue that Greg Golson is ahead of Curtis because the Yankees love having a speedster on the bench. Curtis will need an injury in the Yankee outfield in order to have an impact in 2011.

Bill Asks:

It might sound crazy but with all the hype and talk about LACK of starting pitchers in Baseball & notably on the Yankees, why wouldn’t the Yankees give Joba Chamberlain another chance to become a starting pitcher? Yes he hurt himself as we are now finding out from our GM a few years ago but can’t he “Get in Shape” and be better than 90% of these over the Hill Gang we are bringing into Camp?

Bill, I’m with you on this one, but the Yankee front office has stated time and time again that Joba will be used in the bullpen. After the Yankees agreed with Rafael Soriano, rumors began to swirl about Chamberlain’s role on the team. Chamberlain, who has been the media’s favorite whipping boy, has bounced back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation over his first four years with the Yankees. With Soriano and Pedro Feliciano now in the fold, Joba will theoretically receive fewer meaningful opportunities. We have all seen flashes of brilliance from Joba. We have also seen his constant mental lapses.

Brian Cashman has been very candid in his analysis of Joba, constantly stating that he ‘ain’t what he used to be’ and he’s right. Joba’s velocity was 95.1 MPH up until that injury in 2008. After the injury, his velocity dropped down to 92.3 MPH. Is Joba a better starting option than Ivan Nova or Sergio Mitre? I think so, but I don’t get paid the big bucks to make baseball decisions for billion dollar franchises. The Yankees definitely mis-handled their so-called ‘Answer to Josh Beckett’ and they are paying for it now.

The over-the-hill gang is basically a bunch of low-risk, hopefully high-upside players. If one of them can give the Yanks 5-6 innings on a consistent basis, we’ll take it. I’m banking on Freddy Garcia having an impact and watching Joba come into the sixth inning of games. Joba does need to drop a few pounds, by the way. Maybe him and Bartolo can have their own edition of ‘The Biggest Loser’.

Kevin Asks:

Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer?

In short, I don’t think so. At least not in the immediate future. Personally when I think of Hall of Fame, I think of pure dominance. I think Bob Gibson, Cy Young, Randy Johnson, etc. Andy never dominated games, but no one was tougher than #46. He was the pure definition of a grinder. He just took the ball and grinded out seven innings. Yes, Andy has the all-time post-season wins record and has 240 wins, but he just wasn’t a dominator. Factor in the whole HGH thing and that pushes Andy back even more. Andy may get in via the Veterans’ Committee, but that’s a good twenty years away.

Mark Asks:

Who wins the Super Bowl?

Packers 24 Steelers 21

Clay Matthews III is the MVP.

That wraps up the first edition of the mailbag. Check back every Friday and keep those e-mails coming in. (