Additions: Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Nick Swisher, Damaso Marte (re-signed), Jason Johnson, Sergio Mitre, Brett Tomko, Kevin Cash, Angel Berroa, Todd Linden, John Rodriguez. Midseason: Xavier Nady.
Subtractions: Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, Bobby Abreu, Kyle Farnsworth, Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson, Wilson Betemit, Ivan Rodriguez, Chad Moeller. Midseason: Morgan Ensberg, LaTroy Hawkins, Ross Ohlendorf
Back in October I wrote, "If the Yankees somehow sign Sabathia, Teixeira, and another starter, they'll be looking fantastic for 2009." Well, they did that and then some. Let's see what the spending spree will get them.
Last year's offense was unimpressive – 7th in the AL with 4.87 runs per game. The new lineup, even with A-Rod projected to miss a quarter of the season and play at less than 100%, projects at 5.41 runs per game using CHONE and the lineup analysis tool. That level of offense would've ranked second in the AL last year. And that projection doesn't include Swisher, who projects to outhit Nady.
Last year's rotation posted a 4.58 ERA in 898.3 innings, with only Pettitte and Mussina making more than 20 starts. They won't be giving starts to guys like Rasner and Ponson in 2009. This year's group: Sabathia, Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang, Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes, projects at a 3.90 ERA in 862 innings. And Wang figures to top the projected 133 innings.
The '08 bullpen had a 3.79 ERA in 543.3 innings. This year's group has more Marte, Bruney, and Coke and no Farnsworth, Hawkins, Ohlendorf, or Chamberlain. CHONE says it will shake out to a cumulative 3.71 ERA for the '09 pen. At the least, the bullpen shouldn't be worse.
The Yankees were the second-to-worst defensive team in the AL last year according to The Fielding Bible II. They could gain 40 runs on defense by employing Teixeira and Nady over Giambi and Abreu.
All of these offseason in review pieces have skewed toward the optimistic side. I guess I am just a glass-half-full kind of guy. If you agree with what I wrote above and peg the Yanks for 870 runs scored and 640 allowed, that's a 105 win team. That's extreme, but it would not surprise me to see this team win 100 games.
Bottom line: In a dream offseason for Yankees fans, Brian Cashman improved the offense, rotation, and first base defense drastically by signing three top free agents and more.