Baseball Magazine

New York Yankees Make Last Minute Off-season Roster Moves - Are They AL East Favorites?

By Beardandstache @BeardAndStache

New York Yankees Make Last Minute Off-season Roster Moves - Are They AL East Favorites?

Photo: Anthony J. Causi

- Adam Parker
The New York Yankees' front office has been flooded with activity over the last couple of months; with most of the noise surrounding the trade of troubled and inconsistent pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor leaguers pitcher Diego Moreno, and outfielder Exicardo Cayones.
This saga of a deal came to a close at the perfect time for the Bronx Bombers, as they were looking to dump the much-maligned Burnett's salary so they could target a veteran designated hitter like 39-year-old Raul Ibanez, who the team agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden deal with on Monday morning.
The Yankees plan to use Ibanez as a left-handed designated hitter, a source told's Andrew Marchand last week.
The Yankees, in part, favored Ibanez over other free agents like Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, because they believe Ibanez can still play the field every so often when called upon. With Ibanez' numbers similar against right-handed pitching as other free agents the added element gave Ibanez the inside track to the job.
Since it's widely believed around many baseball circles that both Damon and Matsui are virtually unplayable in the field at this stage of their careers, Ibanez will be one in Yankee pinstripes for the 2012 season because they feel he offers more depth.
With spring training now underway, do these latest moves make the Yankees the Beasts of the American League East?
You have to like their chances.
With Burnett in Pittsburgh, this freed up the necessary cash for the Yankees to fill their void at DH, the last piece to general manager Brian Cashman's offseason puzzle.
As it has been for most seasons in recent memory, the Bronx Bombers once again will field one if not the deepest lineup in the American League with guys like Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and last but not least -- the Captain -- Derek Jeter.
The only glaring weakness on their team was in the starting rotation. However, after acquiring 23-year-old future ace Michael Pineda from the Seattle Mariners for Jesus Montero, the Yankees have all but solved their depth issues there as well by pairing him with workhorse C.C. Sabathia.
The Yankees seem to have set the table for what they hope to be their 18th division title and a trip to yet another World Series.
Now the question is, can anyone in the AL East foil the plans of the 'Evil Empire?'
The rival Red Sox will still be very talented, but with a new manager in Bobby Valentine, the retirement of Tim Wakefield, and possible retirement of team captain Jason Varitek, I just don't see Boston having the necessary stability to threaten New York for the division crown.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays look like the only other possible threat to the Yankees in 2012. Reigning Manager of the Year Joe Maddon received a three-year contract extension and the Rays' pitching staff continues to be full of the youngest and brightest stars in the big leagues like staff ace David Price.
The under-the-radar signing of veteran catcher Jose Molina cannot be overlooked either. His pitch-framing ability is uncanny, and should help decrease the amount of walks Tampa Bay's pitchers give up in 2012.
If they can improve an offense that was in the middle of the pack in the AL last season, they should at least have a puncher's chance.
But honestly, at this point, you have to believe that the AL East crown is the Yankees' to lose.
Be sure to follow Beard And Stache on Twitter @BeardAndStacheand also Adam @Adam_Parker43, Like our Facebook page HERE!

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog