The New York Yankees head into the 2011 season with high expectations. After signing Rafael Soriano to solidify the eighth inning and Pedro Feliciano to handle the lefties, the Yankees have one of the best bullpens in baseball.
The Yanks also re-signed Derek Jeter to a new four-year contract and they were able to re-sign Mariano Rivera to a two-year contract.
Jeter is coming off a Gold Glove-winning season at shortstop, but also the worst offensive season of his career. He has been working with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long to see where he went wrong last season and is hoping to prove that his .270 batting average was just a fluke. Jeter is 74 hits away from becoming the first Yankee to 3,000 hits.
The Yanks were also able to sign Andruw Jones as their fourth outfielder and he will see time in all three outfield spots in relief of Brett Gardner (LF), Curtis Granderson (CF) and Nick Swisher (RF).
They also added Russell Martin for depth behind the plate. With Jorge Posada named the DH for 2011, Martin will be the starting catcher with Francisco Cervelli and Jesus Montero battling for the role of his backup.
Heading into spring training, the Yanks are preparing for life without Andy Pettitte, as he has decided to retire after 16 seasons—13 of them with the Yankees. With Pettitte retired, the Yanks have added Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to compete with Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre for the final two rotation spots.
Although the Yanks had a tough offseason, I still think they will finish with an impressive 94-68 record, good enough for second in the American League East behind the Boston Red Sox, and they will make the playoffs as the Wild Card.