American League East Team Previews: New York Yankees

Brian HoltContributor IFebruary 10, 2011

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20:  (L-R)  CC Sabathia #52, Derek Jeter #2 and Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees walk back to the dugout at the end of the top of the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

After finishing in second place last season and not adding another world championship to their collection, the popular thought was that the Yankees would reload over the offseason. All signs pointed toward yes during their pursuit of Cliff Lee, but as it turns out, money really ISN’T everything to some people.

The challenge the Yankees will face this year will be their rotation. While CC Sabathia is a solid ace, once you get past him there are a lot of question marks. Phil Hughes looks like a solid starter, maybe not a No. 2 which is most likely where he will fall in the rotation this year, but solid.

AJ Burnett is looking to bounce back from a down year which seemed more related to his mental approach than his stuff. Joba Chamberlain, we’re being told, won’t be a starter and Andy Pettitte has decided to retire. The recent signing of Freddy Garcia at least moves either Ivan Nova or Sergio Mitre out of the rotation, thankfully for all those Yankee fans.

If Cashman can find another arm, Burnett find his way back into form and Hughes continues to develop, they could have a very good staff; if all those things don’t happen, it will be below average. Unless of course you're holding out hope for Bartolo Colon to round into form.

Notable Losses:
Javier Vazquez, Lance Berkman, Marcus Thames 

Notable Pick-Ups: Freddy Garcia, Rafael Soriano, Andruw Jones, Russell Martin, Pedro Feliciano

While overall I still see a 90-plus win team here, the concern is not that the Yankees have declined, but how much the Red Sox have improved. On paper I would see the Yanks finishing in second once again, but this year it will be behind the Sox. Of course, that’s just on paper and there’s a reason they still play the games.