The 2011 offseason is starting to wind down as most of the big-name free agents have been signed. While there is a chance of the Yankees making a big trade for somebody like John Danks or Matt Garza, they are demanding too much, and Brian Cashman will not make a move for the sake of making a move.
Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes could be in pinstripes, but reports say the Yankees only made a "modest" bid for Darvish, and Cespedes would not make a big impact in the majors in his first season if the Yankees do sign him.
Since the Yankees don't seem to be making any major changes, why would you get excited for 2012? Let's find out.
CC Sabathia is the New York Yankees' ace. When the Yankees are in a must-win game there is nobody I trust more to start that game than Sabathia.
Sabathia had an excellent 2011 season by posting a 3.00 ERA and even had a better season than Justin Verlander if you use sabermetric stats like xFIP and WAR. If Joe Girardi does not decide to bring out his six-man rotation, which messes with Sabathia's rhythm, and he keeps the weight he will lose this offseason off during the season Sabathia could improve once again in 2012.
The Yankees do not have many strong pitchers in their rotation behind Sabathia, but he is one of the best and most consistent pitchers in the majors.
Robinson Cano is considered to be one of the best batters in the major leagues and also plays Gold Glove defense.
Cano will switch with Mark Teixeira and move from the fifth to third spot in the lineup. With Cano near the top of the lineup with good protection—not that he needs it—he will have an even better season in 2012.
Cano hit .318 with a 1.057 OPS, two home runs and nine runs batted in against the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 ALCS. If Cano can play anywhere near that level during the 2012 season, watch out because he could be well on his way to an MVP Award.
Curtis Granderson was an MVP candidate in 2011 because of his 41 home runs, 119 runs batted in, 136 runs scored, 25 stolen bases and 10 triples, but he also played good defense.
You can point out his awful UZR, and while I do admit he took some bad angles on fly balls, he made some amazing plays, including two catches in Game 4 of the ALDS that probably were the reason the Yankees pushed the series to five games.
Even if Granderson does not repeat his 2011 numbers in 2012, he will be an exciting player.
Derek Jeter is an all-time great and is the face of the Yankees franchise.
Jeter silenced his critics last season by going on an absolute tear after getting his 3,000th hit. I think he can repeat that feat. He may be 37 years old, but hitting around .300 is possible because he did hit .297 in 2011, including .327 post All-Star Break.
Even if he declines, how does Derek Jeter not get you excited for baseball? He epitomizes the Yankees and postseason.
Ivan Nova was a a huge surprise in 2011 by coming out of nowhere and winning 16 games with a 3.70 ERA.
Nova can hit 97 mph on his fastball, but it normally sits around 93 mph. Nova will only get better with more experience, and he flashed his high potential last season.
Nova went 8-0 and posted a 3.09 ERA after July 1st despite being sent back down to Triple-A to make room for Phil Hughes in the rotation in July.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Nova was his Game 1 (part two) start in the ALDS. Nova went 6.1 innings of shutout ball before Luis Ayala came in and gave up back-to-back hits to let two runs score.
Ivan Nova will be the Yankees' No. 2 starter in 2012, and he will be up to the challenge.
Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances are the New York Yankees' top two pitching prospects.
Banuelos started the season in Double-A before being moved up to Triple-A. Banuelos showed his great potential by holding his own in Triple-A despite only being 20 years old.
I gave my full report on Banuelos here, but watch out, if Banuelos can work on his control he could be in the Yankees' rotation by August. He is that good.
Betances may be more physically imposing (6'8", 255 pounds) than Banuelos (5'11", 155 pounds) and is more major league ready. He made two appearances in the majors in September, but he does not have the same ceiling as Banuelos.
I gave my full report of Betances here, but like Banuelos, if he can work on his control he has the tools to be in the Yankees' rotation in 2012 if needed.
Jesus Montero had an amazing 2011 season in New York. It may have only been 20 games, but it was impressive nonetheless.
Montero hit .349/.414/.603, with a 1.017 OPS, four home runs and 12 RBIs in his 20 game stint in New York. That is production, especially from a 21-year-old.
If Montero can repeat his 2011 season over a full 162-game season, especially if he finds a position, he will be a contender for AL Rookie of the Year.
David Robertson had an incredible 2011 season to say the least.
Let me go over some stats very quickly:
1.08 ERA overall
0.86 ERA post All-Star Break
0.25 ERA on the road
0.00 ERA in the postseason
0.00 ERA, .053 BAA (1-19), 14 K with bases loaded
Not to mention he garnered a fifth-place vote in both the AL Cy Young and AL MVP voting. A non-closing reliever got a vote for both MVP and Cy Young—amazing.
If David Robertson repeats his 2011 season in 2012, I will dread Mariano Rivera's eventual retirement just a little less.
Mariano Rivera will likely retire after the 2012 season. That doesn't sound like something you want to be hyped about, does it? Think of it this way, this will likely be the last time you get to hear "Enter Sandman" play in the bottom of the ninth inning and watch the greatest closer of all-time and greatest pitcher of our generation jog from the bullpen to the mound.
Sounds better, right?
I hope Mo stays for another season, but all great things must eventually come to an end. Enjoy it while you can.
October is my favorite month of the year—the month that built the legacy of the New York Yankees.
The Yankees have 27 World Series Championships and counting, including 10 rings between Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.
If you are a Yankee fan, you love October because of the atmosphere and possible results. Some people think the Yankees have no chance of winning it all in 2012 because of their weak rotation, but they weren't supposed to win in 2009 either. Saying the Yankees "can't" do something just adds fuel to the fire.