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New York Yankees: Projected 2011 Lineup and Starting Rotation As of Right Now

Jason KimCorrespondent IDecember 24, 2010

New York Yankees: Projected 2011 Lineup and Starting Rotation As Of Right Now

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The New York Yankees have made small signings this year, especially after they missed out on the Cliff Lee Sweepstakes.

    Players include Russell Martin, Luis Vizcaino, and Pedro Feliciano.

    And if you look at it in a positive way, this is still a similar lineup compared to the 2010 team when they reached the American League Championship Series.

    Adding to that, there is money that can be spent on even more signings, which can be critical.

    But for now, here is the projected lineup and starting rotation of the New York Yankees, for the 2011 season.

    Please read this Joe Girardi. Please.

Brett Gardner, LF

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    I know there's going to be controversy for my decision here.

    But think about it: with Gardner's speed at the top of the lineup. His 47 stolen bases says it. He also hit .277, which is 7 points higher than Derek Jeter's .270 in 2010.

    Gardner is also patient at the plate, drawing 79 walks at the plate which lets him have a .383 OBP. On base percentage is critical for leadoff hitters. He is one of the two in the Yankees lineup last year who saw more than 4 pitches per at-bat along with Nick Swisher.

    Yes, I know he struck out 101 times, mostly looking.

    But over the last three seasons, Gardner has been steadily improving. He hit .228 in 2008, .270 in 2009, and .277 as a full time everyday outfielder.

    In 2010, he was hitting .300 until he broke his thumb and started hitting in the low/middle of the .200s.

    Imagine what he can do in 2011, with more experience, at full health, and his potential.

Nick Swisher, RF

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Nick Swisher is a dependable bat, while being a fan favorite by the bleacher creatures out in right field. That's another reason why he shouldn't be traded.

    Swish has batted in the #2 slot in the lineup last year in a few games, because of his .359 OBP and his ability to work the count.

    If he and Gardner are at the top of the lineup, that's an average of 8 pitches for the first two hitters, which will allow others to see what the pitcher's got that night. Or even better, they both will be on base with a walk or hit.

    Adding to the debate, his 29 home runs in 2010 will add to the positives.

Robinson Cano, 2B

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    He will be the American League MVP in 2011.

    Robinson Cano is already getting attention from baseball fans, with rumors surrounding he might make a run at the triple crown. He did hit 29 home runs, drive in 109 RBIs, and hit over .300.

    Which is why he should be the #3 hitter. With a switch hitter in front of him, and another back of him, this part of the lineup will have no weaknesses regarding left or right handed hitters.

    He is still in his 20s, and is rapidly improving year after year.

    Any more questions?

Alex Rodriguez, 3B

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Alex Rodriguez will return to his original spot, cleanup.

    Even though he might have only hit 30 home runs which is less than Teixeira, A-Rod only did that in 137 games: 21 games less. He also hit .270, which is higher than his teammate.

    And considering the fact that he has been batting there for some time, he won't feel uncomfortable, and will continue to produce good numbers.

Mark Teixeira, 1B

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Mark Teixeira will move down to the #5 slot in the lineup, after his disappointing season.

    He did hit 33 home runs, which is why he is in the middle of the lineup.

    But his .256 average at the plate last year is not good enough to be a #3 hitter for the New York Yankees, especially when you are competing for an World Championship.

    His 113 runs was only possible because of A-Rod behind him.

    And because he won't be pressured to be the go to guy every single game, maybe he'll put up better numbers in his new spot.

Curtis Granderson, CF

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The Grandy-man can have a rebound back year, when he's healthy.

    Granderson hit 24 bombs in 136 games, so he can hit 30 of those when he plays full time.

    Even though he has been hitting only .247, his power and speed can get him by: for now. This type of player is acceptable in the 6 hole.

    Perhaps if he doesn't prove he can play in New York this year, he outta there.

Derek Jeter, SS

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    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Derek Jeter had a down year in 2010: perhaps the worst offensive year of his career.

    But he did score 111 runs, and hit .270 which is acceptable.

    Yes, this is another questionable decision, and probably Yankees fans would scream at me right now for being dumb.

    But, he fits in the lineup at #7 as a right handed hitter, with left handed hitters in front and back of him, making the lineup even.

    Perhaps taking pressure to reach base everytime will increase his performance, too. And if he's unhappy with batting in the bottom of the order, he should work towards to be a leadoff guy again.

    He is the worse decision when comparing with Gardner, and putting him at #2 isn't a good idea, as he hits into double plays easily.

    And he would reach base with his .340 OBP to provide extra RBIs for the next hitter who is....

Jim Thome/ Marcus Thames, DH

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Surprised? Don't be.

    It would make sense if Brian Cashman went to get Jim Thome, strictly as a DH against right handed pitching.

    Thome doesn't have a problem with being a DH, because he does not want to play in the field. Lance Berkman on the other hand, wanted to go to a National League team to be in the field.

    With Marcus Thames, he could bat against the left handers, where he is capable of going deep many times. Thames was actually one of the most effective players on the Yankees September run last year. He hit 12 home runs in 84 games last season. Cashman better resign Thames, instead of his excuse of finding more flexible players on defense. Thames is worth it.

    Thome hit 25 home runs in 105 games last year.

    So, with Thome even in a more smaller ballpark. along with the fact that he can reach 600 home runs this year, it makes sense.

    Notice they are put in the #8 spot, which means this entire lineup will be feared. Not just the middle, not just the front, but even in the back, with two legit power hitters.

    You can estimate 30 to 40 home runs between the two in a full season, if Cashman does make this move.

Russell Martin, C

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Sad not seeing Jesus Montero? You'll see why he isn't in the lineup soon.

    But back to the topic, Russell Martin will start as catcher of the Yankees, mostly full time along with Posada. Posada can catch about 20 games this year.

    Martin can catch ball games, as he has spent time behind the dish in Los Angeles. He's not half bad, either.

    Martin also fills confident he can regain his All-Star form, and I do too.

    This is a guy that hit in the high .200s with good offensive production.

    And no need to worry about the pressure getting to him: he'll be a #9 guy. He is capable to drive in runs at the back end of the lineup.

    Notice the fact that this lineup is evenly put: Left handed batter, switch hitter, LHB, RHB, Switch, LHB, RHB, Left or right handed batter depending on who pitches, and a RHB

1. C.C. Sabathia

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The obvious. Next.

2. Phil Hughes

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    It is questionable to put a 25 year old pitcher that just finished his first full big league season as a full time starter in the #2 spot in the rotation. But if anyone's going to do it, it's Hughes.

    Hughes had a Strikeout to Walk ratio of around 3:1, which isn't bad. He also had an ERA of 4.19, which is enough to win 18 games like he did last year if you have a terrifying offense on your team.

    Hughes is a great choice for this job.

3. Gio Gonzalez

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Gio Gonzalez had his brekout year in 2010, collecting 15 wins with an ERA of 3.23.

    So, how did I come to this conclusion?

    The deal will involve Gonzalez coming to the Yankees, for Jesus Montero, Kevin Russo, a player to be named later, and cash considerations.

    Montero can be traded especially for a pitcher, because the Yankees have a very thin pitching depth in their farm system. Also, they have a deep system in catchers.

    So why not? The A's like young players, and even though they are trying for a playoff push with the signings of DeJesus, Matsui, and Harden, they still lack a good catcher. That's where Montero comes in.

    Kevin Russo will be a part of the deal that will sweeten the deal.

    Russo would be 26 years old, and hit .184 at the ML level. Even though that might not be good, he did get a taste in the majors.

    And cash: the Yankees have it, and with that they can finalize the deal.

4. Freddy Garcia

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    There have been rumors this offseason that the Yankees have asked for the medicals of the man pictured here, Freddy Garcia, although Brian Cashman declined to comment.

    But bringing in Garcia would make sense, as he known what it takes to win.

    In fact, he did win the World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, when he had an ERA under 4 while getting 14 wins.

    In 2007, 08', and 09' he was injured for most parts of the season, but in 2010, he came back strong winning 12 games and an average ERA of 4.64.

    Garcia has proved he can pitch in a hitter's ballpark in Chicago and the American League: so why not? You have money left over from missing out on Cliff Lee.

    He would certainly be a better option than Sergio Mitre.

5. A.J. Burnett

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    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    I am aware Burnett can rebound back from a tough season when he posted an ERA over 5.00 and 15 losses.

    But if he is placed in the #5 slot in the rotation, some pressure can be taken off. He won't have to be relied on too much as the #2 guy.

    And if Burnett gets upset that he seems "not important," he can work for it by posting good numbers, and moving up in the rotation.

    Without the two starters that should be acquired, Burnett might have just another terrible season.

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