If you listened to the New York Yankee fans here in the Big Apple, you would think that Cliff Lee beat up their firstborn. I really can’t get over the reaction to a guy who made a decision that was best for himself and his family.
Yankee fans are reacting as if not getting Lee, the Yankees are going to win 60 games in 2011. Wake up people. Lee would have been a luxury.
The Yankees still have a $200 million payroll and a very talented team that will certainly be one of the top teams in the American League. If anything, this was a big blow to the Yankees ego internally. Lee was their guy and he said talk to the hand.
But not getting Lee is not the end of world; tomorrow will still happen, and the Yankees need to move on. So the question now is—where do the Yankees go from here?
Outside of bringing back Andy Pettitte, there isn’t much improvement they could make to their rotation. Obviously bringing back Carl Pavano is not a possibility and the Yankees are too worried about Zack Greinke‘s mindset to bring him into New York.
Unless the Yankees pull off a surprise for someone like Mark Buehrle or Josh Johnson (my friend Tom suggested that at lunch), the Yankees are most likely going to have a rotation of CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, AJ Burnett, Pettitte (I say he re-signs) and Sergio Mitre.
What I can see the Yankees doing if they don’t bring back Pettitte or even if they do, is build a super bullpen. The best way to compensate for a weak (by Yankee standards) rotation, is to have a strong bullpen.
What would prevent the Yankees from signing Rafael Soriano and re-signing Kerry Wood? Soriano can’t find a home right now, so why not pair him up with Mariano Rivera? A Wood-Soriano-Rivera trifecta at the end of the game would be lethal.
Whichever direction the Yankees go in, losing Lee is not the end of the world. They will be just fine in 2011.
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