2009 AL Preview: New York Yankees

Team Name: New York Yankees

2008 W-L Record: 89-73

Place in division: 3rd

2009 Projected Lineup

Player

Pos.

Jorge Posada

C

Mark Teixeira

1B

Robinson Cano

2B

Derek Jeter

SS

Alex Rodriguez

3B

Johnny Damon

LF

Brett Gardner

CF

Xavier Nady

RF

Hideki Matsui

DH

Key Bench Players

Player

Pos.

Cody Ransom

IF

Nick Swisher

OF

Javier Molina

C

2009 Projected Rotation

Player

Pos.

C.C Sabathia

SP1

A.J. Burnett

SP2

Chien-Ming Wang

SP3

Andy Pettitte

SP4

Joba Chamberlin

SP5

Key Relievers

Player

Pos.

Mariano Rivera

Closer

Damaso Marte

Setup

Brian Bruney

Setup

Phil Coke

Specialist

2009 Outlook:

We all know that 2008 was a disappointing season for the New York Yankees.  They're streak of 13 straight postseason appearances was snapped.  Plain and simple they're only goal every season is to win the World Series, and you can't do that if you don't make the playoffs.  With the emergence of the Rays and the always competitive Red Sox not going anywhere, the Yankees knew they had to be proactive this offseason if they were going to get back on top of the AL East.  So they did the only logical thing and signed the best free agent pitcher in C.C Sabathia, and the best free agent hitter in Mark Teixeira.  Oh, don't forget about the addition of A.J. Burnett either. 

Those three combined for a 20.3 WAR last season, replacing Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina and Pitcher X.  Teixeira also brings Gold Glove caliber defense to a Yankee team that's been severely lacking in that department.  Tex posted an 11.7 UZR and a 10.1 UZR/150 last season while Giambi put up -1.8 and -2.5.  Their defense up the middle leaves much to be desired.  Jeter, who should be moved from shortstop as soon as possible, hasn't put up a positive UZR since 2002 and Cano had a -7.3 UZR at second last season.  The only saving grace is Brett Gardner and/or Melky Cabrera should man centerfield in 2009, and both play excellent defense.  The outfield is a bit of a log jam with the above mentioned Gardner and Cabrera joining Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher, but that's a good problem to have. 

Their rotation wasn't bad last season, posting a 4.05 FIP without Wang for a large majority of the year, and they went out and added two starters with FIP's of 2.91 and 3.45.  The bullpen is going to be good again; it had a FIP of 3.82 last season which was second in all of baseball to the Dodgers. 

The Yankees didn't go out and spend their money unwisely.  They had specific issues that needed to be addressed and they smartly did just that, while actually lowering their payroll from last season.  Baseball is better when the Yankees are good, and they've thrown their hat right back into the American League East race.

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