A big part of every Red Sox season is, of course, the New York Yankees’ season.
Difficult though it may be to admit in our neck of the woods, the 2009 World Series Champions were the class of Major League Baseball last year and deserved their title. The Yankees put their money where their mouths were (and in the pockets of Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett, and CC Sabathia) and returned to the glory they’d known so often last century.
Here, we’ll explore the Sox’ arch-rivals in preparation for their title defense and baseball’s regular season at large.
Though the team is strong at large, its success depends on its offensive output. Apparently impervious to age, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada both put up fantastic numbers in 2009, and Teixeira Alex Rodriguez should continue to mash in the lineup’s heart.
Left-fielder Johnny Damon and designated hitter Hideki Matsui are gone to the Tigers and Angels, respectively, but in their stead the Yankees got younger. Nick Johnson has returned to the club and will serve as the designated hitter the majority of the time; he is expected to hit second, where Damon hit last season, and his high on-base skills should fit well in that spot. Curtis Granderson was brought in in a blockbuster trade to patrol between left and center-field. The phenomenal athlete struggles against left-handed pitching, but he should prove quite valuable hitting 7th, where he will be able to run rather freely and should have plenty of men on base ahead of him.
The book’s still out on center-fielder Brett Gardner, but he put up a decent season in 2009 and should be a fine enough fit at the bottom of the lineup. The Yanks’ backup plan for the quick youngster is the once-productive Randy Winn, but he is hardly a scary force. Nick Swisher returns to play right-field. He was productive last year, putting up an .869 OPS in 150 games.