New York Yankees 2011 Season Preview
You can find your New York Yankees tickets for the 2011 season on SeatGeek.
New York Yankees 2011 Season Preview
As the Yankees get ready to head to Tampa for Spring Training, there are still many questions with regards to the pitching staff. Will Andy Pettitte return for a 17th season? Who will the Yanks get to fill the back end of their rotation? Will they even bring in another starting pitcher or will we be stuck with Sergio Mitre as the fifth starter? Who will stake their claim on the eighth-inning role?
It is appearing more and more likely that Andy (Can I) Pettitte will not pitch in the 2011 season and instead hang the spikes up after 16 glorious seasons and five World Series titles. As much as I would love to see Pettitte come back for another go ‘round, how many starts could the team really depend on him for? Pettitte, who will turn 39 in June, broke down in July of last season with a groin injury and pitched hurt in the postseason. Although he was phenomenal in the playoffs, another injury is almost certain at this juncture in his career. I’d love to see him pitch again, and the Yanks desperately need him, but the team should (and is) prepare for 2011 as if he is retiring.
It’s extremely slim pickens for free agent starters this offseason, so the team might have to go with Ivan Nova (who I think could be a good fourth starter) and Sergio Mitre (not so much) at the back end of their rotation. If either of those two fail, the Yanks could always finagle a trade during the season…I think they’ve done that once or twice before. They’re not exactly lightweights in that department.
It appears that the eighth-inning role could go to an outsider, as opposed to Joba or D-Rob. Apparently the team has shown interest in free agent closer Rafael Soriano, who was with Tampa Bay last season. The only problem with him is that he is used to closing and, obviously, that role belongs to Mo, who recently inked a two-year deal. Soriano might not be a good fit if his heart is set on closing.
The Yanks have also been notified that Royals closer Joakim Soria would be willing to don the pinstripes. If he is willing to waive his no-trade clause and play for the Yanks he must know that he won’t be sniffing the ninth inning, so he might be a better fit than Soriano.
Also, it will be interesting to see where Pedro Feliciano, the third lefty in the Yanks’ bullpen, fits in with regards to relief pitching. I usually don’t condone signing ex-Mets but hopefully he can follow in the footsteps of Doc Gooden and Strawberry…sans the drug use and arrests.
The lineup is more or less set as the team returns all position players from last year’s 95-win team. The only new comer is Russell Martin behind the plate. He will usurp catching duties from Jorge Posada as Georgie moves to the DH role, a move he cannot be happy with.
Scouting the enemy:
The Boston Red Sox will be the strongest divisional foe in 2011 as they have spent like the Yanks this offseason. In addition to getting a healthy Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury back, they’ve acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, Matt “Fat” Albers and Dan Wheeler, among others. (The best part about the Sox’ offseason is that after they signed Jenks they boasted a higher payroll than the Yankees. CHEATERS!!!! I wonder if John Henry still wants a salary cap.)
Boston’s lineup is stacked but its pitching remains the biggest question mark. I don’t trust Beckett, Dice-K and Lackey, and Buchholz and Lester most likely won’t repeat their 2010 campaigns. Run prevention FTW!
The Rays lost a ton of players to free agency but should be competitive, though I don’t think they have what it takes to compete for the division title or the Wild Card. As a matter of fact, I think the Blue Jays could finish above them in the standings.
The Jays, I believe, will get off to another hot start but then fizzle in the second half as they have been known to do over the past few seasons. They made a lot of free agent signings this winter, but I don’t trust them to compete in the tough AL East. Keep them on the pay-no-mind list.
The Orioles will be less of a push-over than in years past, but, much like the Jays, I don’t think they will be good enough to take this division. They signed Mitch Atkins, Mark Reynolds, JJ Hardy and Jeremy Accardo, among others, but they’re still a young team. As I said prior to last season, I think they start to make noise in the 2012 season.
Red Sox: 94 wins
Yankees: 92 wins (wild card)
Blue Jays: 77 wins
Rays: 72 wins
Orioles: 70 wins