Editor's Note: The New York Yankees have spared no expense to win a World Series, which they last won in 2000. They have acquired and traded for every big-name player available, from Jason Giambi to Alex Rodriguez to Randy Johnson. The result is a roster with a payroll in excess of $200 million – more than Cleveland, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Kansas City combined.
So, given the Yankees' troubles and the good fortune of some former teammates, we've assembled a roster of players who've played in the Yankees organization. And through the expertise of WhatIfSports.com, we pitted the ex-Yankees against the 2005 Yankees in a simulated three-game series at – where else? – Yankee Stadium.
Below are the stories from the three games – all of them close, but all won by the current Bombers. Then again, George Steinbrenner wouldn't have expected any less, right?
Note: Click on the game links for the WhatIfSports box scores.
GAME 1: '05 YANKEES 1, EX-YANKEES 0
In a matchup between two of the greatest pitchers of this generation, Randy Johnson outdueled Clemens, combining with Mariano Rivera for a four-hit shutout of the ex-Bombers.
Johnson pitched 7 2/3 innings, scattering four hits to go with two walks and eight strikeouts. Rivera replaced Johnson after an Alfonso Soriano single with one out in the eighth. After walking Nick Johnson to put runners on first and second, Rivera got out of the inning with consecutive strikeouts of Wily Mo Pena and Rondell White. Rivera then retired the side in order in the ninth.
The only run of the game came on Rodriguez's RBI single in the third inning. With one out, Gary Sheffield smacked a ground-rule double off Clemens. Rodriguez then followed with a liner to right field to score Sheffield.
Clemens went 6 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits while striking out eight and walking two. Orlando Hernandez pitched the final 1 2/3 innings.
The ex-Yankees never got a runner past second base against Johnson. They had runners on first and second in the second inning, but Johnson got Aaron Boone on a flyout to center, Chris Widger on a strikeout and Enrique Wilson on an infield popup.
GAME 2: '05 YANKEES 7, EX-YANKEES 6
Ruben Sierra's RBI single won it for the '05 Yankees in the bottom of the ninth after the ex-Yankees rallied to tie it with three runs in the top of the inning against the usually reliable Rivera.
Rivera came on in the ninth to preserve a 6-3 lead for starter Mike Mussina. But with one out, the ex-Yankees got four straight hits. After singles by White and Tony Clark, Boone made it 6-4 with a single to left. Then Miguel Cairo, pinch hitting for Widger, delivered a two-run single to left to tie the score.
But the current Yankees put the outcome to rest in the bottom of the inning against El Duque. Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Jorge Posada walked to put runners on first and second. Then, after Hideki Matsui popped out, Sierra grounded a single to right field to score Rodriguez from second base to ensure a series victory for the '05 team.
Replacing the struggling Rivera, Tom Gordon got the final out of the ninth inning for the victory. Mussina went eight innings, allowing three runs and five hits, striking out six and walking one. Kenny Rogers, starting for the ex-Yankees, had trouble with his control, walking six in 7 2/3 innings. He also gave up nine hits and five earned runs.
Soriano and Boone homered for the ex-Yankees.
GAME 3: '05 YANKEES 6, EX-YANKEES 3
Thanks to a big day from Posada, the '05 Yankees were able to complete the three-game sweep.
Posada slugged two home runs and drove in five runs in his final two at-bats to put the game away. The ex-Yankees had a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning. But after Bernie Williams' sacrifice fly tied the score at 2, Posada tagged a two-run shot to left off reliever David Wells for a 4-2 lead. Javier Vazquez, who put the go-ahead run on base before being relieved in the sixth, took the loss. He went 5 1/3 innings, surrendering three hits, three runs and five walks and striking out six.
Then, after the ex-Yanks pulled to within 4-3 on Soriano's leadoff homer in the eighth, Posada nailed Wells again, drilling another two-run shot off his former mate in the bottom of the inning.
Carl Pavano got the win, pitching seven innings and giving up 10 hits and three runs, striking out seven and walking two. Rivera, rebounding from his rough outing the day before, pitched two scoreless innings for the save.