One word comes to mind when thinking of the 2011 New York Yankees: failure.
Stop right there. I know what most of you are thinking and no it's not because AJ Burnetts' self loathing, cry baby act or Joe Girardi's managerial incompetence.
The Yankees failed because the YES network is now playing nightly reruns of Yankees Classics instead of 2011 Yankee playoff games.
Oh, and did I mention it's October?
With a team payroll coming in at a measly 197 million dollars, two wins against a lousy Detroit Tiger squad in the ALDS won't cut it.
Time to go back to winning.
In 2009, the Yankees made a splash, no tidal wave, in free agency by landing the likes of C.C. Sabathia, Mark Texiera and A.J. Burnett.
Cha ching, cha ching, the Yankees bought their 2009 World Series rings and were once again, on top of the world.
Now two seasons removed from their World Series run, the Yankees are in desperate need for a trip to the bank.
Let's take a look at five key free agents that the Yankees must land to get back to their reign of baseball dominance.
Changes have to be, and will be, made to get No. 28.
The Yankees biggest problem in 2011 was their starting pitching, and the addition of C.J. Wilson would fix that immediately.
Wilson is a strong young, lefty who has posted back to back years of dominance for the Texas Rangers.
In 2010, Wilson went 15-8 with an ERA of 3.35 while helping the Rangers win the American League pennant.
In 2011, as the Rangers No. 1 starter, Wilson thrived and posted a 16-7 record with an ERA of 2.94 and 206 strikeouts.
Wilson has led his 2011 Rangers into the ALCS, and looks to bring them back to the World Series for a second straight year. What's that smell? That's playoff experience people. Playoff experience.
The Yankees are already salivating.
Bringing in Wilson would create the front end of a starting rotation (Sabathia, Wilson, Nova) that would match up as one of the best and youngest in major league baseball.
If that isn't enticing, think about how Sabathia and Wilson would be the greatest lefty starting pitching duo in the league. Lefty hitters would have nightmares of traveling to the Bronx.
Scared yet Adrian Gonzalez?
C.J. Wilson will command big money and the Yankees are the team who can give it to him.
Get this man in pinstripes.
Grady Sizemore is likely to become a free agent in 2012, and the former American League All-Star could be a gem.
After only playing in 104 games with a combined batting average of .218 over the past two seasons, Sizemore will likely be a cheap addition if the Yankees can look past his recent injury woes.
The former three-time All-Star could still prove to be a reliable outfielder with a powerful bat if he finds the right change of scenery.
Most Yankee fans are content with the current outfield of Gardner, Granderson and Swisher, but Swisher may be on his way out the door.
Swish is coming off a poor season and has a $10.25 million contract option for 2012 that is extremely pricey for a mediocre right fielder.
If the Yankees decide to not pick up Swisher's option they will be able to save a large chunk of change which can go towards a valuable starting pitcher.
The Yankees can then take a flyer on Sizemore and move the former center fielder to right for a lot less money then what Swisher will be commanding.
The Bronx and a winning nature could bring back Sizemore's All-Star ways and solidify the Yankees right field position for years to come.
Can't you hear the bleacher creatures now? GRA-DY SIZE-MORE!
The journey man, Edwin Jackson has stood out as a solid major league starter for the past few seasons.
Will he ever be a No. 1? No.
Will he ever be a No. 2, or even 3? Probably not.
What Edwin Jackson would bring to the Yankee rotation is a solid No. 4 or No. 5 starter who will grind out 25 games a season and can produce 10 to 15 wins.
Edwin Jackson will be an equivalent to Freddy Garcia for the 2012 Yankees, except he is younger and has continued to get better and better in his nine major league seasons.
Jackson is a seasoned veteran who could be a very valuable commodity for a Yankee's staff that struggled after Sabathia and Nova in 2011.
Edwin Jackson will come cheap and bring a lot of experience.
Prince Fielder is the perfect addition to the New York Yankees lineup as a designated hitter.
If Fielder were to sign with the Yankees, the Yankees would have the most prolific offense the game of baseball has ever seen.
The front end of the Yankees 2012 lineup would look a little something like this:
Spots two through five in the Yankee lineup will all be capable of hitting 40 home runs each and who knows what Fielder could do with the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.
Fifty home runs? Sixty home runs? Brian Cashman is salivating.
In the past five seasons, Fielder has hit for 200 home runs and 565 RBI.
Yeah, he is that good.
Fielder also has a past with the Yankees as his father Cecil was a member of the 1996, 1997 Yankee Championship years and baby Prince used to hang around the clubhouse often.
Prince Fielder would lengthen his career by bringing his talents to the American league and imagine on how good he'll be when he is focusing solely on hitting by becoming the Yankees designated hitter.
Go get him Mr. Cashman.
Prince Fielder will become a fan favorite and will bolster the New York Yankees lineup.
Before you go ringing Brian Cashman's neck, do not fret Yankee fans. C.C. Sabathia is still indeed in pinstripes.
He is on this list because in order for the Yankees to have any hope in 2012, things need to stay that way.
Sabathia's current contract gives him the option to opt out of his current deal with the Yankees and become a free agent this offseason.
If Sabathia were to do such a thing (oh no, he wouldn't right?) he would be the most touted free agent pitcher in baseball.
His winter would probably consist of vacationing with fellow mega-free agent, Albert Pujols, while drinking pina coladas and laughing about the absurd amount of money they both will soon be making.
For the Yankees sake, let's hope it never gets to this point.
Sabathia has been one of the most dominant pitchers in Yankees history posting a 59-23 record, and a World Series championship in three year career in pinstripes.
The 31-year-old ace is the Yankees most prized possession heading into the future, and they must do everything humanly possible to keep him.
Does he leave? Probably not, Sabathia loves New York, but baseball is a crazy business and think about the amount of money teams will offer the hefty lefty to woo him away form the bright lights of New York.