I Know Sports is Awesome Right Now, But It’s Time to Talk 2012 Yankees

Newly Acquired Yankee Michael Pineda Arrived Early to Tampa

With the Giants winning the Super Bowl, Linsanity taking over the city and the Rangers staying on top of the Eastern Conference, New York has had plenty to cheer about these days. But what’s going to happen when this Big Apple sports honeymoon comes to an end? I guess we will have to move on to baseball. So while we continue to enjoy our recent success, let’s get ready for the 2012 Yankees season:

Ever since that terrible night in October when the Yanks were eliminated by the Tigers in Game 5 of the ALDS, I’ve wanted nothing more than the 2012 season to begin. This year, the Yankees will have some new faces on board but the core of the team will still be around. Brian Cashman overall has had a quiet, yet very productive offseason. The big noise this winter was the Jesus Montero – Michael Pineda trade. I understand Yankee fans have had mixed feelings about this. Montero looked like a blossoming star in the final month of the 2011 season and seemed to be on his way to having an outstanding career in pinstripes. But with this current Yankees team, where could Montero play in the field? He’s not good anywhere defensively. Plus with A-Rod’s health amd Jeter’s age, it wouldn’t be wise to have an everyday Designated Hitter.

I have full confidence in Michael Pineda, even though he hasn’t thrown a single pitch in a Yankee uniform. In Seattle, he was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA. That’s not too shabby pitching in the American League while having no run support. He’s only 23 years old and has one of the best sliders in the league. According to the Daily News, Pineda felt a little overwhelmed yesterday when pitchers and catchers reported, but apparently Robbie Cano has taken him under his wing.

The big offensive news in the off-season came this morning when it was announced that the Yankees signed Raul Ibanez to a one-year deal. Raul will not be an everyday starter, but he will have plenty of at bats in the DH spot. He had a disappointing season in 2011 only hitting .245 but his power numbers have remained strong throughout his career. He’s now 40 years old, but his lefty power swing should work very well at home. If Ibanez stays healthy, look for 25-30 home runs from the guy. As for the rest of the offense, here are some quick notes:

– Let’s hope Jeter can start right where he left off the 2011 regular season (he hit .327 in the second half of ’11)

– Expect another MVP-like season from Granderson. The guy is right in the middle of his prime.

– Cano is my pick for the 2012 American League MVP

– Apparently A-Rod’s health is 100%, but who knows? Don’t expect huge numbers from him, but don’t expect an off-year either.

– At 31 years old, Teixeira is poised to have another explosive year

– I will be disappointed if Brett Gardner has less than 50 stolen bases

Let’s give the pitchers some time in Tampa before we discuss the staff. 44 days until we’re Rockin’ the Bronx…

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