New York Yankees: 2011 MLB Season Preview

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New York Yankees: 2011 MLB Season Preview
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With pitchers and catchers set to report, let's take a look at the New York Yankees' season to come.

With Andy Pettitte retiring, there are a lot of questions about the starting staff:

What will we get out of A.J. Burnett? Who will take the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation? Will Ivan Nova step up? Will the Yankees trade for another starter?

After missing out on Cliff Lee, (despite Brian Cashman's wishes) the Yankees bolstered their bullpen significantly by signing former Tamp Bay Rays closer Rafael Soriano, as well as former New York Mets lefty Pedro Feliciano.

With the Bombers' new additions, the Yankees now have one of the deepest bullpens in the league.

With such depth in the pen, and such a questionable rotation, the Yankees may consider moving Joba Chamberlain back into a starting role, or even trading him for a quality starter.

This deep bullpen may come in handy with so many questions about the starting rotation.

Other additions: The Yankees have added former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, whose offense has declined in each of the last two seasons.

Even so, this signing does help the Yankees, as they have already informed Jorge Posada that he will be their full-time DH for this upcoming season.

Before signing Martin, at the top of the organization's catcher depth chart was top prospect, Jesus Montero, who is renowned more for his bat than his glove.

It is dangerous to leave a shaky rotation in the hands of a rookie catcher who has never played a game in the majors.

In the end, Martin is a good defensive catcher, and hopefully his offense will catch up to his 2007 standards, .293, 21 hrs, 87 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases. Those numbers were good enough to win him a Silver Slugger award, (he also won a Gold Glove in 2007).

The Yankees have also signed a plethora of over-the-hill, washed-up, former all-stars, such as: Mark Prior, Andruw Jones, Bartolo Colon, Eric Chavez, Ronny Belliard and Freddy Garcia.

Those six guys have a combined: 11 All-Star games and 16 Gold Gloves. But, the average age of those same six guys is 33.8. That number doesn't seem that bad, but without Mark Prior's injury-riddled 30 years of age that number would go up to nearly 35 years old.

I don't see those signings really adding much to the Yankees, except for maybe some outfield depth from Jones. Belliard will also be fighting it out between Ramiro Peña and Eduardo Nuñez for a backup infield spot.

The Yankees still have one of the best offenses in the league, (especially if Jeter can return to his previous splendor), as their lineup should look pretty much like last year's. 

But, the Boston Red Sox are in the way of the Yankees this year.

Boston signed former Rays speedster, Carl Crawford, as well as trading for slugger Adrian Gonzalez. The Red Sox already had a good lineup but these additions make that lineup nothing short of frightening.

The Red Sox have also bolstered their own pen by adding Bobby Jenks (a closing caliber reliever) who will probably being pitching the seventh inning for Boston.

Well, the Rays have lost a lot this offseason, and probably won't be much of a threat down the stretch.

However, the Baltimore Orioles have significantly improved with additions like: Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, JJ Hardy, Kevin Gregg, Jeremy Accardo and others. Although the Orioles are still not on the level of the Yanks or the Sox, this newly tooled team could definitely give the Yankees a run for their money.

With the 2011 season fast approaching, the Yankees still have some needs to address. Mostly with starting pitching and catching, but other problems may arise.

It would take a lot for the Yankees to win the AL East this year, with the Red Sox looking like a very formidable opponent. But look for the Yankees to make the playoffs, probably as the Wild Card.

We'll see how far they can go on the backs of CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and the re-tooled bullpen.

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