"Around the Horn" is going to be a series of articles that preview each major league baseball team's 2009 season outlook, and will answer five important questions heading towards opening day.
We start off today with New York Yankees, who play in the very competitive American League East. These guys have made the biggest offseason moves, and there really aren't a lot of big questions surrounding the team.
The only one is will their investments be worth it? The Yankees were already a good team and these offseason moves have made the AL East fight that much harder for their opponents.
1. Is it worth the money?
You can't help but ask that question. Almost half a billion dollars were spent on three players, so for that type of money, they had better win the World Series this year. Could you imagine if the team stayed average?
There are question marks around all of these guys, so Cashman better hope he gets a few championship rings out of these deals.
2. Can Sabathia get better in October?
This is probably one of the of the questions that the front office does not really want to face. This is definitely a playoff team, and if their multi-million dollar ace, newly-acquired CC Sabathia, can't improve on his October performances of seasons past, it will not be worth it.
He definitely does have a better offense behind him, though, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Sabathia has said that he has put a lot of pressure on himself, and that could be a reason for his struggles. He better turn that around, because the last thing the Yankees need is on overpaid player who cannot produce in the playoffs.
3. Can Tex help A-Rod?
Alex Rodriguez has faced a lot of criticism for his lack of clutch hitting. Hopefully Mark Teixeira can help A-Rod and give him some protection. But also, it takes more than one or two guys to win a championship.
Some people have also said that even though Teixeira puts up some nice numbers, he is not a difference maker. But maybe that's what Rodriguez needs—someone else to produce runs.
4. Can Nick Swisher get his groove back?
Swisher is a guy you keep waiting to break through. He has a really nice swing, but he never seems to do what you expect him to. Maybe it was all the bouncing around the field he has done that messed him up.
Going from spot to spot and trying to remember what you have to do can mess with your head. I would really like to see him stay in the outfield and finally breakout.
5. Will Matsui and Posada be back?
Word is, Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui will both be back in time for Opening Day, which is a very good thing. They may not put up huge numbers, but with Abreu, Giambi and possibly Xavier Nady leaving, there are some gaps in the offense.
So these two veterans have to come back healthy. Posada is one of the better catchers at the plate, and Matsui is always good for production.
When looking at this year's Yankees on paper, they appear to be World Series worthy. They have added some of the best players out there, and they should do much better than last year. But the Yankees did this in the 1980s, and that didn't produce the same results.
Buying the top free agents doesn't always mean success.