The Boston Red Sox are loaded with the additions of AGone and Crawford. The Phillies are loaded with Cliff Lee, who spurned the Yankees (essentially). So where are the Yankees for 2011, as of January? Lets look at lineup and rotation first:
Is a starting rotation, right now, of CC, AJ, Hughes and __________ enough to keep up with the other clubs?- Short answer, no. However, the January rotation as currently constructed will not be the rotation which emerges from Spring Training, and certainly not the rotation which the Yankees use for the season. But lets look deeper, because there are many unanswered questions. Is AJ Burnett going to be as bad as he was last season? Is Hughes going to continue to improve in his second full season as a starter? Will Andy Pettitte come back at all? Will CC continue to be a stud? Who will be the 5th starter? (and if no Andy, who will be the 4th?) What effect will the departure of Dave Eiland and the arrival of new pitching coach Larry Rothschild have on the starters.?
Will the lineup be as strong as in year’s past?: Short answer, yes, maybe even more so. Age is a factor to be sure. Several older players are surely not getting any younger. Jorge Posada has been removed as the starting catcher, and will be replaced by Russell Martin as Posada transitions to full-time DH. This does clog the DH spot for resting other hitters, but Posada can always step behind the plate when someone needs a day off from fielding. Plus he will likely backup catch along with Montero. Jeter had a down season last year, but if my suspicions are correct, this will be a Jeter year where he has something to prove. Kevin Long is a great hitting coach and Jeter is a hard worker. I am sure the hole in his inside-out swing will be gone by March/April. Nick Swisher will have a tall task in replicating his 2010, but on the other hand Curtis Granderson will look to continue a hot second half. Brett Gardner will need to play as well as he did in 2010, but A-Rod should be a year healthier. Russell Martin will need to revert to his Dodger All-Star ways, but Robinson Cano is one of the best hitters in baseball. Mark Teixeira had rough patches but also went without his protection in Alex for stretches. Nick Johnson is gone, but so is Larry Walker.
My ideal lineup would be Jeter, Granderson, Cano, Rodriguez, Teixeira, Posada, Swisher, Martin, Gardner. How does this lineup stack-up against
Jeter, Damon, Tex, Arod, Matsui, Cano, Posada, Swisher, Gardner?