#9. The New York Yankees
Team Ace: C.C. Sabathia
Most Valuable Position Player: Robinson Cano
Breakout Candidate: Michael Pineda
Notable Offseason Additions: Kevin Youkelis, Travis Hafner, Mariano Rivera (Injury)
Notable Offseason Losses: Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raphael Soriano, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Alex Rodriguez (Injury), Mark Teixeira (Injury), Curtis Granderson (Injury)
Biggest Team Weakness: Third base and catcher
To start, I would like to say I created the order of my power rankings before any of the Yankees’ injuries, so they probably should be a little lower down on my list, but I don’t think by much. Losing Teixeira and Granderson will be difficult to over come simultaneously, but once they’re back in May, the team should be right where they left off last season. A lot of people saw last season as a down year, but the team still had the most wins in the AL, the 5th best ERA and were 2nd in the league in runs scored.
There isn’t any reason to think that the Yankee’s pitchers’ production will be any different from last season. If Andy Pettitte can stay healthy the’ll be a very solid rotation, and with Mariano Rivera returning at closer they still have a very dominant bullpen.
The problem will be the team’s opening day lineup. Really the only returning Yankee hitters on the active roster are Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano. Ichiro has only played a handful of games as a Yankee, catcher Chris Stewart was a backup last season, and Brett Gardner missed most of last season. Dan Johnson will play first for Texiera, Kevin Youkilis will play third for A-Rod, and Juan Rivera will replace Granderson in the outfield. A lot of last year’s runs will have to come from somewhere else, at least for the first month or two of the season.
The Yankees haven’t missed the playoffs since 2008 and 1995 before that. Even in their down years they’ve been able to win because they have the experience and the resources to carry them. I definitely don’t see this team winning the World Series, but they could easily win their division or at least one of the two wildcards.