Yankee Stadium (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
I've asked the other AL East bloggers to write us up a preview of their team for 2012, let us know their team's additions and subtractions as well as a feeling for how their team will do this year.
Offseason recap: The biggest concern this offseason was merely retaining the services of CC Sabathia, who, using the threat of opting out of his contract, signed an extension mere hours before the deadline. After that, it was, if anything, to address the starting rotation. But come January it looked like the roster was set. Nary a rumor had been uttered about the Yanks all winter, even in regards to pitchers like C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish. But then it all happened one night. Out of nowhere we learned that Jesus Montero had been traded for Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda had been signed. The rotation went from a weakness to a strength just like that [snaps fingers]; so much so that they're shopping A.J. Burnett, who's (a close) second to CC in starts for the Yanks since 2009.
2012 Predictions: The lineup will be virtually identical to 2011, save for the DH spot. Jorge Posada saw the most time there last season, but was replaced (way too late in most fans' opinions) in September by Montero. We'll now likely see a DH platoon of Andruw Jones (against LHP) and probably Raul Ibanez or Johnny Damon (against RHB).
A-Rod, who played just 99 games last year, had platelet-rich plasma therapy, so we'll see if that keeps him any healthier. I don't expect the same monster year from Curtis Granderson, but not a big drop off either. Cano is the most dependable hitter in the lineup. I see Teixeira having a bounce-back season after a sub-par 2011. Gardner, though not a great hitter, will force his way into the lineup via defense and baserunning. Swisher's in a contract year, Martin's now guaranteed to be the everyday catcher... Oh, and a guy named Jeter is still playing shortstop.
In 2011, with 60% of the rotation comprised of Burnett, Colon and Freddy Garcia, the club still managed to win 97 games, the most in the AL. Replace Garcia/Colon and Burnett with Pineda and Kuroda, and we're looking at the division winners by a comfortable margin (again), and maybe 100 wins.