One year ago, the New York Yankees were preparing for the World Series instead of packing their bags for the winter. In losing the American League Championship Series to the Texas Rangers four games to two, the Bronx Bombers showed that they do have some improvements that need to be made to their roster if they expect to celebrate on the field again like they have done 27 times in their history.
If Cliff Lee tests the free agent water (which he is expected to do), then he will in all likelihood come to New York. No one – especially Texas – will outbid the Yanks in dollars, even if the Rangers were able to acquire the battle-tested lefty starter in a trade with Seattle after he seemed to be on his way to the east coast. Adding Lee to a rotation that includes CC Sabathia will make a huge difference.
Sure, Mariano Rivera had another fantastic season as the game’s top closer, but how much longer can he continue to produce in this fashion? He is in his forties, so sooner or later his age will catch up to him. Kerry Wood was a good transaction for GM Brain Cashman, but he will probably get a better offer on the market to be a closer again. It was a good thing that David Robertson and Boone Logan took a step up, because former set-up man Joba Chamberlain took a big step back.
The biggest question is what will be the outcome of the Derek Jeter situation. It is almost unthinkable for him to be in any other uniform besides the pinstripes but even Joe Montana finished his career wearing odd-looking colors. The captain will have to be reasonable when it comes to his contract extension and his age and production will be a two major factors. Figure on a quick resolution.
Both Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner played well enough that Cashman will feel comfortable enough to pass on free agents Carl Crawford and Jason Werth.
Jorge Posada’s skills, especially defensively, are in a steep decline and Francisco Cervelli is not an everyday starter, so they Yankees need to upgrade at this very important spot. Jesus Montero will get a long look in the spring.