Opening Day Lineup Bench Starting Pitchers
CF- Jonny Damon Cody Ransom IF CC Sabathia*
SS- Derek Jeter Brett Gardener OF Chien Ming Wang
LF- Hideki Matsui Melky Cabrera OF ^ Joba Chamberlain
3B- Alex Rodriguez Francisco Cervelli C^ Mike Mussina Derek Lowe* RF- Xavier Nady Juan Miranda IF^
2B- Robinson Cano
DH- Jorge Posada
1B- Nick Swisher
C- Jose Molina
Mariano Rivera- Closer
Demaso Marte- Setup
*= New acquisition
^= Minor League Call up
Notes: With the loss of Wilson Betemit they will rely on Juan Miranda who they could add to the opening day roster as well as Cody Ransom. They will carry what I will call 2.5 catchers with Molina starting and Cervelli being called up to back him up. Posada could catch a little bit next year but he will see a lot of time at DH. Damon will move back to CF because the Yankees have no other viable options. Nady will step in for Abreu at RF and do an excellent job.
In the rotation look for them to entice CC Sabathia with too much money that he will be unable to turn down. That being said the Yankees will show they have some budget in settling for Derek Lowe over AJ Burnett to fill out the back of the rotation. Mike Mussina should return after a great season although I'm going to call it a coin flip if he will. If not then look for Philip Hughes to be called upon as a fifth starter. and then the Yankees could decide to bring back Pettite at a very discounted price. With Chien Ming Wang coming back from injury he will be penciled in at number 2. Look for Joba to really develop this year as a starter as per Hank and Hal Steinbrenner's word he will not be in the bullpen. The only way I see him in the pen is if Mariano Rivera suffers a severe injury
This is all quite arbitrary and the positions that could be different are 1B, C, DH, LF, CF. We all know that Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter make up the highest paid left side of an infield ever. Robinson Cano- barring a trade for an elite CF or front line starter he will be the 2nd baseman. To me trading him or Philip Hughes or Ian Kennedy (both whom I predict to be in the minors to learn how to actually pitch) would really show that they Yankees are done with the youth and breeding talent within the farm system.
Xavier Nady should fill in nicely for Bobby Abreu and could be an upgrade on defense and at this point I would pencil him in to start there.
Also looking at the bench you will see that my predictions will have all of their bench players would have come up through the Yankees farm system. Although guys like Miranda and Cervelli may not be ready for the majors and could be replaced by journeymen.
Feel Free to leave your comments and other changes that could be made... These are just my opinions and I'm sure that other Yankee fans have their thoughts as well...