Kris Benson, RH Chien-Ming Wang, RH (11-11, 4.49) (18-6, 3.57)
Let me tell you a little story about Kris Benson. Lately, of course, we've had plenty of Benson discussion. I keep saying I don't trust him to repeat this season in 2007, and that's true, but I also seem to be coming off negatively toward what he's done this year. I've realized this is not Benson's fault.
When we acquired Benson, I was mostly concerned with two things. The first is that he was almost certainly an upgrade on Sidney Ponson. That has proven to be very, very true. The second was that I would be happy if he was just average and chewed up some innings and held his own. He's done that.
So why do I get all negative about Benson? Because of Rodrigo Lopez, Bruce Chen and Daniel Cabrera. Lopez was pretty bad last year, but he's been awful this year. Chen was a disaster after a really good 2005. Cabrera didn't improve, as I expected he would. So our pitching, despite Benson's perfectly OK efforts and the maturing of Erik Bedard, was even worse. Somehow, I started blaming this partly on Kris Benson. But it ain't his fault. He's done exactly what I had reasonable hopes for, and he's met our community projection.
Wang's had a hell of a season and become the ace of the Yankees' staff. If his K-rate doesn't improve, I don't see him having long-term success. He's kept the ball on the ground really well this season, giving up only 12 homers in 212 innings. He's been very good, but if his sinker stops working as well as it has, that could change very quickly.