Alright New York Yankees' fans, fasten up your seat belts, because it could be a long ride.
As always, the Yankees have high expectations. If they match them, the World Series title will likely be coming back to the Bronx for the first time since 2000.
There will also be a new Yankee Stadium hosting it's first game against the Cleveland Indians in two weeks. The older Yankee Stadium, who sung it's swan song on Sep. 21, 2008, as Derek Jeter, and the Yankees walked around the stadium, greeting, and addressing the crowd of 54,610, after defeating the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.
Expect to see the old Yankee Stadium dismantled sometime during the baseball season.
Back to this season, the Yankees broke the bank when they acquired CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixiera. Other notable signings were Nick Swisher and Kevin Cash.
Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano, Wilson Betemit, Ivan Rodriguez, and Bobby Abreu are no longer members of the Yankees.
Some things that need to happen if the Yankees want to get back to glory.
1: Staying Healthy.
Injuries doomed the Yankees in 2008. Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Phil Hughes, Chien-Ming Wang Hideki Matsui, and others went down at some point during the season. Unfortunately, A-Rod will already miss the early part of the season, due to a cyst on his hip.
2: New signings have to handle New York, and start contributing.
C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira, welcome to New York City! The pressure is on these three to produce, and help the New York Yankees win. The Yankees are paying them big time bucks, and if they flop, it is not going to be pretty!
Sabathia delivered the Milwaukee Brewers a playoff appearance for the first time since 1982, shutting down his opponents while pitching in all 27 outs most of those games. Unfortunately, the momentum couldn't carry the Brewers against the eventual champion Phillies in the NLDS, as he was bombed all series. I'm looking for Sabathia to be our ace, making opposing hitters look like sitting ducks.
Burnett, well what can I say? He's been above average throughout his career, and injury prone, yet he makes the Yankees batters look like Keystone Cops in baseball uniforms every time he takes the mound against them. Hopefully he does that to every team he faces, and stays healthy in the process.
Teixeira has been nothing short of brilliant in his MLB career. He had a .290 BA, 203 HRs, and 676 RBI in his career with the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He also won two Gold Gloves as well. He usually goes on slow starts, hopefully that won't be the case in 2009.
3: Beat the Rays and Red Sox, and capture the AL East!
Our two main adversaries heading to 2009 obviously. Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox made some smart moves in the offseason, with the Rays acquiring good players in Pat Burrell and Jason Isringhausen, and the BoSox acquiring former Ray, Rocco Baldelli, Brad Penny, and John Smoltz. The Rays won the AL East and AL pennant, and the Red Sox won the wildcard in 2008.
4: PLEASE improve on offense, especially on RISP situations.
The Yankees were a complete abomination with RISP. A-Rod grounded into a double play about 33,423 times last year.
In 2007, they would be home runs. It was sad to watch. Another reason why the Yankees were not invited to the postseason in 2008. Great teams takes advantage of every opportunity they get.
5: Bullpen must be in form.
The bullpen must not squander leads like LaTroy Hawkins, Kyle Farnsworth, and Kei Igawa (heaven forbid I see him on the mound this year).
6: Just win, baby!
Yankees have to meet and even exceed the high expectations they received this year.
Looking forward to the Yankees taking the field, go Yankees!