1. Joba in the rotation...finally
-For all the hoopla surrounding the landmark signings of Burnett, Sabathia, and Teixeira this offseason, I still think Chamberlain is going to be the real key to the Yankees success in 2009. Joba has some of the best stuff in the league and will finally be unleashed, for good, in the starting rotation for the entire season. If Joba stays healthy, the sky is his limit. The thought of Joba taking the ball every fifth day should be VERY exciting for Yankees fans, who have not had a quality homegrown starting pitcher of this caliber since Andy Pettitte.
2. What next for A-Rod?
-Baseball's favorite tabloid star can't seem to spend a week away from the headlines? What embarrassing and very awkward story will appear next week? Will it involve hookers? How about a pop star? Any hint of steroid use involved? Any chance of this happening: A-Rod getting busted in a hotel room with Britney Spears, while getting injected with steroids by a bunch of hookers....somehow, nothing seems crazy in the weird and wacky world that is Alex Rodriguez. Strap on your seat belts, Yankee fans. May is right around the corner! A-Rod returns!
3. Brett Gardner
-Have the Yankees finally found their center fielder of the future? Well, after the Melky Cabrera experiment went sour, the Yankees have turned to Gardner this spring hoping that the young guy can inject the lineup with some speed. This spring, Gardner has been a machine at the plate, but it remains to be seen if he can keep up his torrid pace during the season. If Gardner can get on base consistently with the Yankees, he could become a real force at the end of the lineup and potential leadoff hitter in 2010 if Johnny Damon leaves.
4. A healthy Jorge Posada
-No amount of words that I type will be able to express just how important Jorge Posada is to the New York Yankees. Not only will the Yankees be depending heavily on his bat this season, but they will need a healthy Posada to anchor their star studded pitching staff while providing steady defense behind the dish. The Yankees sorely missed Posada in 2008 after he was forced to undergo major shoulder surgery, so they will need Jorge to remain healthy and productive if the Yanks are to challenge for the division in 2009.
-This is a scary thought for all the Red Sox and Rays fans out there: the Yankees finally have an ace. After failing to win a championship in the past 8 seasons, the Yankees finally ponied up the dough (surprise, surprise!) and signed the best pitcher on the free agent market. Sabathia is a franchise changer; not only will he win lots of ballgames for the Yankees, but he will throw lots of quality innings and strikeout a good amount of hitters. When he is on, Sabathia is filthy and flat out dominant. Look for a big season out of Sabathia, who will be heavily counted on by the Bombers in 2009 and beyond.