It was a season of lows and highs from an 11-19 start to 95 wins and a playoff spot the Yankees gave their fans a story with many twists and turns in 2005. There was the emergence of Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang and the painful decline of Bernie Williams. In the end, the Yankees couldn’t keep the momentum they had built in September going and fell to the Angels in five games.
The biggest problem with the 2005 Yankees was their pitching. A starting rotation that made $65 million dollars proved to be fragile and ineffective. Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright combined to throw 230 innings and win 13 games. In the bullpen, the Yankees spent all year searching for someone who could pitch other than Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera. Mike Stanton, Steve Karsay and Paul Quantrill were all released in the middle of the season, but the Yankees never found an effective reliever.
Offensively, the 2005 Yankees clicked scoring 873 runs. A Rod had a MVP caliber season and Jason Giambi hit 32 home runs. Derek Jeter did a great job leading off scoring 122 runs. Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield also had great seasons. Jorge Posada struggled, but still managed to hit 19 home runs.
The only thing for sure heading into 2006 is that massive changes will be on the way. Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez will probably not be back. Al Leiter and Ruben Sierra may retire. There may be a new pitching coach and GM as well. With a weak free agent market, the Yankees will have a tough time rebuilding on the fly. Will 2006 mark the end of their run of postseason appearances? Time will tell.