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March 26, 2007

Looking Ahead to 2007: Carl Pavano
by SG

Pavano's an easy person to write up, because there's no performance record to analyze for 2006. With Chien-Ming Wang's hamstring injury, Andy Pettitte's back spasms, Mike Mussina's creature-of-habitness, and Kei Igawa's nerves all in issue, Pavano is looking like the likely opening day starter for the Yankees this season. Here's a look back at Yankee opening day starters of recent vintage.

2006: Randy Johnson (W)
2005: Randy Johnson (W)
2004: Mike Mussina (L)
2003: Roger Clemens (W)
2002: Roger Clemens (L)
2001: Roger Clemens (W)
2000: El Duque (W)
1999: Roger Clemens (L)
1998: Andy Pettitte (L)
1997: David Cone (L)
1996: David Cone (W)
1995: Jimmy Key (W)
1994: Jimmy Key (W)
1993: Jimmy Key (W)
1992: Scott Sanderson (W)
1991: Tim Leary (L)
1990: Dave Lapoint (W)

I had to go back to 1991 to find a worse opening day starter for the Yankees. Great.

Pavano's not a bad pitcher. He's not a good one either. He's a decent pitcher, who projects to be league average when he can pitch.

Link to Pavano's projections

If Pavano can exceed that innings pitched total and match his projections, he'll be an asset for the Yankees as a league average pitcher backed up by what's looking to be the best offense in the majors.

I haven't been impressed by what I've seen in spring training so far, but I also know that I haven't seen enough to make any definitive assessments about Pavano. It's also not my place to question the validity of his injuries the last few years. As far as I'm concerned, whatever Pavano gives the team this season will be a bonus, and I wouldn't be surprised if Brian Cashman will be looking to deal him if he gets a solid half season out of him.