The Yankees were not content to enter the 2010 season with the same team that won the 2009 World Series.
The Yankees decided to let World Series MVP Hideki Matsui walk, decided not to dish out the cash to bring back Johnny Damon, and dealt starting centerfielder Melky Cabrera to the Braves.
However, the Yankees new imports may outshine those who were let go. Nick Johnson was brought in to fill the DH role vacated by Godzilla, Randy Winn will try to fill Damon’s shoes in left, Curtis Granderson was obtained to take over in centerfield, and Javier Vazquez was acquired in the Cabrera trade to hold down a spot in the rotation.
The final result is a 2010 team that may be stronger than the 2009 World Championship squad. As always, anything less than another title would be a disappointment to Yankees fans in 2010.
Let’s take a look at the 2010 New York Yankees
The Yankees 2009 line-up was undeniably the best in the majors. They led the league in home runs and runs, and they finished near the top of the majors in nearly every significant offensive category.
The Yankees line-up boasts excellent depth, with Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez leading the charge. The losses of Damon, Matsui, and Cabrera will be eased by the additions of new CF Curtis Granderson, LF Randy Winn, and DH Nick Johnson.
On the base paths, the Yankees have a plenty of speed. Jeter, Rodriguez, Granderson, and back-up outfielder Brett Gardner will all be a reliable source of SB.
After Gardner, the Yankees bench doesn't offer much. With such a formidable line-up that lacks any really hole, it is unlikely anyone on the bench or any minor leaguer will crack the Yankees line-up in 2010 barring injury.
With on-base machine Johnson entrenched in the second spot in the order and Teixeira and A-Rod in the heart of the order, the Yankees 2010 line-up could eclipse their formidable 2009 line-up.
I don’t think Jeter will match his tremendous 2009 totals, but he remains an elite talent that will be the spark at the top of the major’s best line-up.
Projections: .320, 100 R, 12 HR, 70 RBI, 16 SB
Johnson is an extremely underrated talent. He walks a ton, resulting in an OBP in 2009 of .423. Getting on base at that clip in front of Tex and A-Rod will result in a ton of runs.
Projections: .287, 102 R, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 2 SB
Teixeira really enjoyed his first season in pinstripes, and there is no reason to think that he won’t enjoy his second season as a Yankee just as much. Expect another big season from Tex.
Projections: .298, 105 R, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 2 SB
After missing April with a torn labrum and struggling through a slow start once he did get back on the diamond, A-Rod turned it on and had another great season in 2009. Expect a huge 2010.
Projections: .302, 115 R, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 18 SB
Posada has had trouble staying healthy the past couple seasons, but when he has played, he’s show that he still has a lot of hits left in his bat. Expect more missed time, but another solid season.
Projections: .282, 60 R, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 0 SB
Cano is a supreme talent who started to show his potential with a big 2009. He could really bust out in 2010. Don’t be surprised if he finishes the season higher in the order.
Projections: .308, 101 R, 23 HR, 90 RBI, 4 SB
How many teams can say they have a talent like Swisher in the seventh hole in the order? Swisher is another guy who walks a ton, but his low average prevents him from being the same type of asset that Johnson is.
Projections: .252, 85 R, 27 HR, 85 RBI, 3 SB
Granderson is widely considered one of the game’s most liked players. He play a fantastic centerfield and provides an excellent speed/power combo. A great pick-up for the Yanks.
Projections: .270, 80 R, 28 HR, 80 RBI, 20 SB
Winn will not do anything to help Yankees fans forget about Johnny Damon. He probably is more suited as a fourth outfielder, and Brett Gardner could end up stealing a lot of at bats.
Projections: .270, 60 R, 6 HR, 53 RBI, 12 SB
The Yankees 2009 rotation was anchored by CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. They were nicely complimented by vet and Yankee legend Andy Pettitte and also Joba Chamberlain.
Overall, their 2009 rotation was good, but not great. However, when combined with their fearsome offense, the rotation proved strong enough to aid the Yankees to their 2009 World Series victory.
The Yankees looked to once again boost their rotation this off-season by adding Javier Vazquez, who had an excellent 2009 with the Braves. However, Vazquez struggled in his first go around with the Yankees in 2004. It is unlikely that he will be able to recreate his 2009 success now that he is back in the AL and the Big Apple.
Chad Gaudin offers a solid option should injury strike. Phil Hughes could surprise and be very effective should he find himself in the rotation at some point in '10.
1. CC Sabathia LHP
Projections: 20-8, 3.32 ERA, 205 K, 1.16 WHIP
2. Javier Vazquez RHP
Projections: 14-12, 4.30 ERA, 205 K, 1.26 WHIP
3. A.J. Burnett RHP
Projections: 16-9, 4.05 ERA, 195 K, 1.37 WHIP
4. Andy Pettitte LHP
Projections: 14-9, 4.20 ERA, 140 K, 1.40 WHIP
5. Joba Chamberlain RHP
Projections: 11-6, 4.10 ERA, 150 K, 1.43 WHIP
The Yankees bullpen is anchored by perhaps the greatest closer in major league history, Mariano Rivera. Phil Hughes provides a solid bridge to Rivera as well, should he remain in the pen.
After that things get a little murky. Damaso Marte, Alfredo Aceves, and David Robertson all can be effective in stretches, but none of the three is someone the Yankees will be comfortable relying on.
Expect the Yankees to add another arm to their pen at some point during the season as they make their run toward the playoffs.
Mariano Rivera (closer) RHP
Projections: 4-3, 2.05 ERA, 40 SV, 70 K, 1.00 WHIP
Damaso Marte LHP
Alfredo Aceves RHP
David Robertson RHP
Edwar Ramirez RHP
Mark Melancon RHP
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