The New York Yankees entered the offseason two wins shy of a second straight American League Pennant. Seeking what they were short on for much of the second half and the postseason - starting pitching - they attempted to lure free agent left hander Cliff Lee with a ludicrous offer. Instead, Lee returned to Philadelphia to form the best rotation in baseball, leaving the Yankees in dire straits.
The current rotation for the Yankees in 2011 as of now looks like this: CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova, and Sergio Mitre.
Sabathia is coming off another stellar season, but he had knee surgery in the offseason to repair a torn meniscus and an opt out clause looms (despite getting the word he won't exercise it.) Hughes is coming off a solid, yet inconsistent first full year as a big league starter, and he should improve. Burnett is coming off a horrendous season, so he should be expected to be at least SOMEWHAT better.
Nova is unproven, and is just back-end of the rotation insurance, but he's the first of a wave of good, young pitching prospects the Yankees have. Mitre had a 5.93 ERA as a starter in 2010, and will only be in the rotation if the Yankees don't make a move for a starter or bring back Andy Pettitte.
Every champion has almost everything go right for them in order to win, and this year's edition of the New York Yankees is no exception. The following things must go right for the Yankees to be legitimate World Series contenders.