The last coals have just about burned out in the Hot Stove for this winter.
The New York Yankees made no significant trades or free agent signings.
As a result, Yankee fans should be very concerned about the upcoming season.
To begin with, Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankee brass put all their eggs in one basket and nothing hatched. It is well documented that the primary gameplan was to sign Cliff Lee and they failed. The only good thing that can be said about Lee is that he left the American League.
There were not many good options for front line pitchers after Lee. But Cashman failed to sign anybody.
The only addition to the Yankee starting rotation for 2011 is that Javier Vazquez is gone, hopefully for good. If there was ever a time to speak of addition by subtraction, this is the time. But of course, we all thought Vazquez was gone for good after the 2004 season only to see Cashman trade for him last winter.
Andy Pettitte has not re-signed and Cashman has said the Yankees are resigned to losing him to retirement. That is a major loss for the team.
The Yankees could have signed Carl Crawford. But Cashman was so intent on Lee that he did not attempt to sign Crawford until he was gone to the arch-rival Red Sox. Now Yankee pitching will have to face him in 19 games that will be even more important than when he was playing in Tampa Bay.
The Yankees might have signed Jayson Werth. But again, he was allowed to go somewhere else without much attention being given to him. Again, as with Lee, at least he didn't sign with an AL club where he could haunt the Yankees repeatedly.
Cashman said he was very well satisfied with Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher in the the outfield. Puzzling is the best way I can analyze this. When you could have added Crawford or Werth for just money, you are satisfied with Gardner, Granderson and Swisher?
Do Gardner, Granderson and Swisher really embue anyone with great confidence in the Yankee outfield? Not this observer.
The Yankees have the greatest infield in the game and perhaps in the history of the game. All four players have Gold Gloves and all are among the most productive offensive players at their position.
However, there are reasons for concern even among this glorious quartet.
To begin, Mark Teixeira, was oft-injured last season and one now must at least wonder if he is less durable than once thought.
And his propensity to start slowly has become a real problem. Games won in April and May count the same as games won in September. Tex has done very little early in the last two seasons to help the Yanks win in the early months.
Robinson Cano is one of the truly great stars of the game, both offensively and defensively. But after one of the hottest starts in memory, Robbie saw a reduction in production every month of the season. He filled the five spot in the order magnificently.
But is there any room for improvement? Can he continue to perform at the level he showed last year? Questions that can only be answered over time.
Derek Jeter is a year older. So is A-Rod. Realistically, anyone who thinks on this subject objectively has to expect some reduction in performance from these two great players.
Will Jeter hit .270 again? No. He will hit much better in 2011. But will he hit .320 again? Doubtful. And his defense will not continue to be as good as it has been.
A-Rod shows signs of wear as well. When you see him run the bases you understand that the hip or something is still bothering him. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say he is limited by the injury. His power numbers were down to some extent. And he is not as good in the field as he used to be.
Jorge Posada will be the full-time DH, and he does not like it. I don't care that the media says Cashman met with Jorge and everything is fine. Posada was surly with limited time behind the plate last year.
He will be worse than Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men in 2011. He will be poison to the team next year. Posada has also been injured frequently over the past three years and he will enter 2011 at age 39. He will not be what the Yankees want as a DH.
Everyone should be happy with CC Sabathia heading up your starting rotation. CC just came off knee surgery. There is no reason to believe he won't make a full recovery.
But CC has carried a load of innings over the past several years as no other pitcher has. There have been many concerns expressed that at some point it has to catch up with him. Was the tear in his meniscus only the first indication that wear and tear is catching up.
Phil Hughes was great in 2010. He is young, healthy and has been over protected against too much work. But to expect him to repeat his 2010 performance is expecting a lot. If he has 18 wins, that will be fantastic. Don't expect any more from Phil.
There are not enough psychiatrists in New York City to fix AJ Burnett. Talk of Dave Eiland working with AJ after Eiland's return to the team are meaningless now since Eiland was fired. No one knows what new pitching coach Larry Rothschild will do.
But AJ's problem is not with his arm or his slot or his mechanics. AJ Burnett's problem is between his ears. Don't expect anything any different out of Burnett in 2011 than what you saw in 2010.
Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre and a handful of lesser knowns are the most likely choices to join CC, AJ and Phil in the rotation. There is nothing to give us Yankee fans much hope here.
The brass will have to rebuild the bench. Gone are Lance Berkman and Marcus Thames. Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez are still Yankee hands, but don't expect too much.
Signing Johnny Damon is ridiculous and only slightly less ridiculous than signing Manny Ramirez. Neither one of those signing is going to happen. Nor should they.
Another major cause for worry is that the Yankees signed Russell Martin to whom the Dodgers gave an outright release. What that says is that Jesus Montero is not ready to catch in the bigs. If Martin is the answer, somebody is asking the wrong question.
One final area which has already caused problems for the Yankees in 2010 and will resonate for years to come arose in this offseason.
The Yankees treated Derek Jeter shabbily. Yes, they ended up signing Jete to a contract that pays more than he is worth on the field and recognizes his past accomplishments and intangible contributions to the franchise.
But the method used to arrive at the contract and the impact on Jeter will hurt the Yankees for years to come.
If you could get Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford to talk about it, I would bet that they would mention how Cashman and the Steinbrenners and Randy Levine treated Jeter during the contract negotiations.
"It's going to get messy..." "Shop it around...."
Can't you just imagine Cliff Lee sitting at dinner with his beautiful wife and asking: "If they treated Derek Jeter like that, how are they going to treat us?"
The Yankees have a great many problems.
There are a lot of reasons for Yankee fans to worry about 2011 and seasons to come.
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