1) The Joba-Rivera 1-2 punch for the first half of the season.
2) Joba as a starter the 2nd half.
3) Bullpen management and coaching. A lot of no-names with talent will finally get some playing time. Joe Torre’s number one weakness was bullpen management in recent years- he rode guys like Ramiro Mendoza, Tom Gordon, Scott Proctor, and Luis Vizcaino (and some seasons Mariano Rivera) until they were useless come post season.
4) Johnny Damon is physically healthy. Having a leadoff man like him is invaluable. Check out his 2nd half performance last year when he finally became healthy.
5) Deep bench.
6) Although no one can except Jorge Posada or even A-Rod to duplicate their 2007 seasons, the Yankees offense is still the best in the major leagues.
7) I would take Wang-Pettitte-Hughes-Kennedy-Moose-Joba, wouldn’t you?
8) Joe Girardi- he may cost them some games by calling the bunt too much, but generally speaking, all of his players will be prepared, and he doesn’t have veteran favorites. Girardi’s fresh start will translate into focused players who have to prove something.
What can go wrong:
1) Injuries, which is a problem for any team. Yankees will have to scramble if Andy Pettitte, Wang, Hughes, or Moose go down to the DL. Last April, the Yanks found themselves such a deep hole because they had no April starting pitching due to injuries.
2) Moose becomes 100% ineffective, to the point of retiring.
3) Kennedy gets shelled.
4) Joba busts, and becomes a footnote in Yankees lore.
5) Offense still gets into hot and cold streaks.
6) Wang finally proves stat-heads right by getting shelled every night.
7) NONE of the 1st baseball are productive, and Shelley is revealed to be Kevin Maas.
Ultimately, the Yanks SHOULD have won the AL East last year, and theoretically improved thanks to having young talent and a new manager and coaching staff willing to give that talent a chance. They WILL get into the post-season again.
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