A lot has gone on in New York Yankee Universe since losing to the Texas Rangers in the 2010 ALCS and handing the title of "reigning champions" over to the San Francisco Giants.
So, how are the 2011 New York Yankees looking heading into the season? Let’s take a look.
The Offseason Summary:
The New York Yankees headed into the offseason with high expectations, but everything seemed to take a turn for the worst.
Yankee Captain and New York icon, Derek Jeter’s new contract negotiations became a soap opera and the press had their claws all over it.
Fans were pissed, some at Jeter but mostly at the organization for the belittling and penny pitching games being played on the Captain. It all worked out in the end, but it did leave bruises behind that hopefully won’t linger too long, but you never know.
That followed the news that Cliff Lee was not going to play in the Bronx, but instead went back to his old team in Philadelphia.
It came as a shock because the Yankees usually get whatever they go after.
Now that time passed since Lee’s decision, it was a humbling experience and a needed one, particularly in Yankee Universe.
For Yankee fans, it makes them realize that not every player’s dream is to be in pinstripes; for the team, they will have to work that much harder for anything they earn this season.
Hey, at least Yankee-haters can’t use “the buying championships” excuse any longer, as that torch has now been lit in Boston and Philadelphia too, and that is a fact.
One resigning that GM Brian Cashman sealed up without much drama, was that of closer Mariano Rivera for two more seasons.
Owner Hal Steinbrenner, who finally took some charge and made his daddy proud too, made a vital move by adding Rafael Soriano to the roster. Soriano was the AL’s best closer in 2010 and is elated to be Mo’s set-up man.
This move gives the Yankees the best eighth and ninth arms in the game, but it also provides a back up in case Mo’s age catches up to his talents.
So, how do the Yankees look heading into 2011?
The Yankees look like one of the best teams heading into 2011 and will contend again in 2011.
Here are some hopes that could make the Yankees season even better:
1. AJ Burnett has been working his butt off this offseason, now let’s see if it pays off.
2. One of our pitching prospects is good enough to win a rotation spot.
3. Pettitte could make a decision.
4. Cashman trades for King Felix in June.
5. A-Rod and Jeter both have career years.
6. Teixiera doesn’t struggle at the plate past April.
Is there anything else to note regarding the 2011 New York Yankees?
Of course, but this list could go on forever and talk many directions so here are a few:
- The Yankees play in the AL East and it looks to be tougher than ever.
- The Bombers can still hit, as their line-up is atop the best in baseball list.
- My bet is that Robinson Cano to be unbelievable this season, along with the Yankee outfield of Swisher, Granderson and Gardner. This groups production is more important in 2011, as they are the Yankee future.
- After watching the Red Sox GM Theo Epstein win with homegrown players, Yankees GM Cashman followed that formula by growing the Yanks farm the past few seasons. So far, it has produced Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, Robinson Cano and of course, the "Core Four." Funny that Epstein and Cashman, in a sense, have traded places this offseason.
- This season would be the time to bring up one or two formidable youngsters, at least one has to be a pitcher, and see how they fair in the Bronx. The innings limit need to be handled a lot better than the "Joba Rules" by Girardi and company.
- Speaking of Girardi, he seems to be a good fit so far. It wouldn’t hurt if he kept his binder in the clubhouse sometimes.
- The Yankees are not being viewed as the favorites for anything this season, as almost all predictions have been Phillies vs. Red Sox in the 2011 World Series. This group doesn't like to be doubted and statistically, the franchise fairs better as the underdogs.