15 Feb 2009
Comments Off on Winter Review
Let’s do a quick review of what the Yankees accomplished this offseason….
The Good: Snagging the best starting pitcher and Mark Teixeira was a major coup. Both are still young and should greatly improve the club. In Sabathia the Yankees have the ace they have lacked for years. Beyond that, the guy is an absolute gamer, demanding the ball on three-days rest in Milwaukee, even though an injury would have killed his free agent chances. Teixeira is a great bat and glove and he should really improve the defense and offense.
Exchanging Betemit for Swisher is another savy move as Betemit wasn’t doing much and Swisher should get a a chance to contribute on a regular basis (assuming he isn’t traded.)
The Bad: It’s hard to harp on it, but the bench is still a major concern. If Swisher and Nady are both kept, it is much better, but the backup catching and infielder situations are poor at best. Why does Cashman never focus on a bench?
The Unknown: Which A.J. Burnett is coming to New York? The guy who struck out 231 hitters in the AL last year or the guy who was hurt most of his career? It is impossible to say, but the Yankees had better hope the former after spending over $80 million on him.
Strengths: The Yankees have a number. From a very good rotation to a strong lineup, there are plenty of reasons to like this team. And with Hughes and Kennedy slotted for AAA and a number of power relief arms joining them there, the Yankees should be able to survive pitching injuries
Weaknesses: They have no depth behind the position players beyond the loser of the Swisher/Nady competition. An injury to a player like Jeter, or a slow return by Posada would be a serious blow.
What’s Next? Clearly the expectations are a return to the playoffs and more. If the team struggles early, expect Joe Girardi to get the axe quickly and a new manager brought in. Anything less than a playoff spot will be a huge failure for this team.