New York Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez (31) delivers to the...

New York Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez (31) delivers to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning. (March 13, 2010) Credit: AP


1. The lineup

Understatement of the spring by Joe Girardi when asked about the realistic possibility of his everyday No. 7 (Curtis Granderson) and No. 8 (Nick Swisher) hitters reaching 30 homers: "I think our lineup really has a chance to be a complete lineup." The Yankees led the majors in almost every offensive category last season; there's little reason to expect less this season.

2. Rotation depth

The Yankees benefited more than any other team from the extra days off that were built into the 2009 postseason, allowing them to go with a three-man rotation. With the addition of Javier Vazquez, who finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting last season, only the Red Sox appear to have a more complete staff 1-4 in the American League.

3. Bullish 'pen

It almost looks like an embarrassment of riches for Joe Girardi with Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Damaso Marte, Alfredo Aceves . . . oh, and Mariano Rivera. Girardi would like a second lefty option but got away with not having one for most of last season.


1. Age

Given that they had one of the oldest teams in the league last season, the Yankees suffered an incredibly minimal number of injuries. Although they got younger in some spots, the core of this team is still old in baseball years, and it's a legitimate question to wonder if the injury bug will stay away two straight years.

2. Replacing Damon and Matsui

Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon came through in big spots all season in 2009, especially in the postseason. Looking strictly at the tangible numbers for both during the regular season - 28 homers and 90 RBIs for Matsui; 24 homers and 82 RBIs for Damon - those are numbers that won't be easily replaced.

3. Javier returns

It's probably not fair to say this is something "not to like" per se - Brian Cashman all but stole Javier Vazquez from the Braves - but the pitcher's first experience in pinstripes wasn't a good one, and fans have long memories. Even a good start to the season won't permanently push 2004 to the background. Fans are likely to take a wait-until-the-big-games approach before completely embracing Vazquez.


Looking at everything - rotation, lineup, bullpen - there aren't many weaknesses here, so long as injuries don't strike. Yankees go 101-61 but get upended by the Mariners in the ALCS.

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