AL East Preview – New York Yankees

April 02, 2009 |

It’s not hard to create bad things to say about the Yankees, right? After all, they’re HATED as much as the Steelers – for some similar, as well as differing reasons. Admittedly, I hate the Steelers more, but that’s just me …..

Today’s blog isn’t about my personal feelings or disdain for the Bronx Bombers. Nope, no hating here – just my outlook on their upcoming season. I’ll start with this disclaimer – my predictions are NOT tied to the heart. I’ve predicted great things for the Yankees, in the recent past.

Today will not be one of those occasions …..

On the “Good News/Bad News” front, the Yankees are improved from their 2008 product. The additions of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher will make them a better team. Will it be good enough? Nope.

And, this is where the bad news fits in. The Yankees are undoubtedly going to be a very good baseball team. However, they’re in the game’s toughest division and a couple teams are better. It’s really that simple.

While the Yankees pitching staff is further bolstered with the additions of Sabathia and Burnett, I’ll absolutely GUARANTEE you one of these two guys doesn’t fulfill his promise and obligation. Ironically, my suspicion is it will be Sabathia.

Lets also remember the Yankees lost a 20 game winner over the off-season. So, Sabathia or Burnett will simply be replacing a 20-win effort, with a decent season. Thus, is their starting staff greatly improved? Hey, it’s a fair question.

Beyond starting pitching the Yankees have plenty of questions remaining. Did they add enough long relief help? Who replaces Chamberlain in the setup role? Can Rivera bounce back from off-season surgery? These, too, are formidable questions for a contending team.

Perhaps, many are thinking the Yankees will crush their competition into submission. Really? Even without their best hitter for the first month? I think the loss of Alex Rodriguez is HUGE, regardless of his off the field issues. He’s the dominant force in that lineup.

Add another year of age on Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter, as well. Last year, it was Posada and Matsui breaking down. Who will it be this year? And, are the Yankees deep enough to compensate for injuries – which is an area where the Red Sox and Rays excel.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting the Yankees will collapse or even finish with less than 90 wins. I don’t see that happening. Besides, as I reasoned yesterday, they’ll be feasting on Blue Jays and Orioles pitching. Yep, they’re a 90 win team.

But, 90 wins won’t get the job done in the AL East. I honestly see the Red Sox and Rays as deeper, overall. And, I think they’ll both finish ahead of the Yankees – although it will be a pretty tight race.

Honestly, I think the loss of A’Rod is pretty destructive and it saddles Teixeira with immediate pressure. For the past few years, I’ve labeled Teixeira one of the most overrated guys in the game. I still believe this and I think that label will become further evidenced this season.

So, there ya go …..

Sabathia or Burnett disappoints – one of them will …..

Teixeira can’t carry A’Rod’s lunch …..

Age becomes a factor in the Yankees lineup …..

As I predicted last year, Joe Girardi’s marriage to the Steinbrenners will end nastily. I just see it coming and a 3rd place finish just might propel it. A mere 91 wins won’t help …..