So as it snows here on the east coast, I've begun looking forward to spring training. I love it, you start looking at what your team has done in the offseason and you see some of the top players in the farm start to make a name for themselves.
So it's time again to start Around The Horn, where I'll profile what each team ha done in the offseason and how they'll fair in the upcoming season. We start with (who else?) the defending champs, the New York Yankees.
It wasn't the prettiest offseason for the Bombers. They had to see the World Series MVP walk, a kid loaded with potential shipped off, and a nasty divorce from Johnny Damon. But then they made some moves to make sure they would stay on top.
Replacing Matsui will be former Yankee Nick Johnson. As far as that move goes, you'll have to wait and see how it goes. He's injured a lot, and doesn't have the pop Godzilla does.
That said, he isn't a black hole of offense. The guy will get on base, move runners around, and that short porch in right field may put some pop in his bat.
The big move was the trade that saw former Tiger Curtis Granderson end up in the Bronx. He will be a STAR in that stadium. His home runs will go up, he plays solid defense, and can steal bases.
As far as the rest of the Yankee outfield goes, there are a few concerns. Swisher is hot and cold with the stick. And with Brett Gardner still unproven as an everyday player, the Yanks signed Randy Winn.
I think the plan is to platoon those two. They may not be as productive as Damon, but since Boras and himself priced the Idiot out of New York, the Yankees had to settle. Solid players, but the outfield took a step backwards.
But with the infield and pitching, New York can deal with a quiet outfield. I don't need to tell you what Jeter, Teixeira, and Rodriguez can do. We saw that all season. Those guys will carry the load.
By the way, when will Jeter have a bad year? That guy is so consistent, so good, it annoys me. Even as a Red Sox fan, I can recognize that guy is the best player in the league. I don't want to hear any crap about "range factor."
Pitching is what it is last year. Sabathia, Burnett, and Petite are as good as it gets. We saw age start to catch up with Petite in the postseason, but he'll be solid as a No. 3 guy. Javier Vazquez, however, may raise some eyebrows.
New York fans remember his time with the Yankees in 2004 for the wrong reasons. He absolutely collapsed after the All-Star break and got even worse in the playoffs. He won't put up 2009 numbers. His ERA will go up and strikeouts down. But with that offense backing him, 12-13 wins isn't out of the question.
The other rotation problem is Joba Chamberlain. He had an awful second half, with a few starts sticking out. I really wish they would keep him in the bullpen, he is a solid eighth inning guy, with the potential to be the next Yankee closer.
What I do want to see however, is Robinson Cano to step it up a notch. I know about the batting average, I saw the RBI and home run numbers.
But the guy is lazy on defense and is your typical add on hitter. He barely hit above .200 with RISP, but around .300 when they were up by 4 runs or more. For me to take him seriously, he's got to kick it up a notch.
All in all, this is a team made to win. Even with a few subtractions, the moves they made will just compliment the stars already in pinstripes. With a solid bullpen, good rotation, and dangerous lineup, it will take an absolute collapse for them not to win.
2010 Projection: AL East Champs, AL Champs, World Series Champions