- In 2005, the Yankees won 95 games despite a starting rotation with a combined age of 175 actual years. Randy Johnson, 41, was the team’s best starter, and was the only pitcher in the team’s rotation with an ERA under 4. Mussina, 36, had a down year, and Carl Pavano and Kevin Brown (combined salary: $26 million) were both unmitigated disasters for the Yanks.
- The team traded for Al Leiter on July 16 of that year, and he started ten games. Cobbling it together after injuries to multiple starters, New York brought in Shawn Chacon from the Rockies. Chacon, a one-time all-star, had fallen off the map in 2004 when Colorado turned him into a closer. In 66 appearances for the Rockies that year, Chacon sputtered to a 7.11 ERA and lost total control, walking as many batters as he struck out.
- New York installed Chacon into the rotation, and down the stretch, he got his walks under control, and his resurgence seemed unreal. Chacon was far-and-away the Yanks’ best starter in the second half, going 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA. Visually, Chacon looked like a different pitcher than ever, with opponents hitting just .225, and his WHIP fell dramatically.
- In October, Chacon went toe-to-toe with John Lackey in game four of the ALDS, as the Yanks beat the Angels. He got the no-decision, but went 6 1/3 strong innings in the victory. It was his only playoff start.
- In 2006, Chacon became, once again, a middling pitcher. He never recaptured the glory of the second half of 2005, and he was out of baseball two years later. On balance, Chacon looked a lot more like his 45-61 career record, and career ERA of 5. But for one summer, in 2005, Chacon owned the Bronx–and the AL East.