The Yankees had a competitive team in 2010, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettite and Phil Hughes had good years and kept them in the game. AJ Burnett was a big disappointment as he has the skill and the tools to be successful and great in NY and something went wrong. Quite possibly why Dave Eiland (the Yankees former pitching coach) was let go. This however is merely speculation. The Bombers also found a great set up man in Kerry Wood who routinely got the ball to Mariano Rivera whenever the situation presented itself.
The problem was injuries to Pettite, Aj’s inconsistent performance and the lack of a solid number five starter made those situations present themselves less often than they would have liked.
The Yankees also had great defense three of their four infielders wining gold gloves in their positions and Alex Rodriguez having a very effective year in the hot corner. The outfield was also an improvement over 2009 with the addition of Curtis Granderson in CF and the every day play of Brett Gardner who should have won a gold glove in the outfield the Yankees had the best defense in baseball.
They were certainly not slouches at the plate with a lineup that provided little relief from the top to the bottom. So where is that piece of the puzzle that kept them out of the World Series. Why did that World Championship ring slip away from their fingers. That missing piece of the puzzle is Cliff Lee. Lee is the corner piece of the puzzle for 2011 and without him the Yankees will be incomplete. Picture the Starting rotation 1. CC 2. Lee 3. Pettitte 4. Hughes 5. Burnett. Even if Pettitte decides to retire it is still the best rotation in baseball. Possibly the best rotation to ever play the game. So when you ask the question will the Yankees sign Cliff Lee the real question is what will they do if they don’t.
Its nice that the Rangers had a chance to win their first world series in franchise history and its nice that Lee was a part of it. The odds of the Rangers repeating are slim and the odds of Cliff Lee not signing with the Yankees are even slimmer. The Yankees will sign Lee not because the want him ,but because they need him. He is the missing piece of the puzzle.