Overall, the 2011 season was a failure for the Yankees. Because in New York, 97 wins and a division title simply don't serve as any sort of consolation. Not for the 27-time World Series Champions.
In fact, Yankees regular season success in 2011 was nothing more than a testimony to the promising foundation they have in place. Despite subpar starting pitching, New York managed to win arguably the toughest division in baseball last season—thanks to stellar hitting and a solid relief pitching.
Baseball's second-best offense and fourth-ranked bullpen carried the Bronx Bombers into the postseason with the second-best record in the majors. But for the second time in six years, the Detroit Tigers eliminated New York in the first round, showing the Yankees again that it takes a complete team to win in October.
With a glaring weakness in the rotation, the Yankees entered this past winter trying to cut down on payroll. An unfamiliar concept in New York left fans skeptical about the 2012 roster until Brian Cashman silenced the talk with a handful of moves that bolstered starting rotation while sparing the checkbook too.
With the low-cost additions of Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, the Yankees now have six starters battling for four spots behind ace CC Sabathia.
A new-found depth at starting pitching could give New York one of the most well balanced teams in the majors, but a minimum of 173 games (including the playoffs) still stand between the Yankees and their ultimate goal.
Here are five bold predictions that could happen along the way...