The New York Yankees finished the regular season with the best record (95-67) in the American League before defeating the Baltimore Orioles in a very exciting AL Division Series. So a four-game sweep by the Detroit Tigers in the AL Championship Series shouldn't take away from a very successful season, should it? The Yankees were beaten by a good team that caught fire at the right time. It happens. The Tigers' starting rotation has the ability to dominate and did just that, and the Yankees' hitters were not up to the challenge but they shouldn't hang their heads. They were one of the best offenses in the majors. Unfortunately, they cooled off at the wrong time.
Hey, it could have been a lot worse. Just ask the Boston Red Sox, who lost 93 games and were one of the biggest disappointments in baseball. They ended the season on an eight-game losing streak and finished in last place for the first time since 1992. The drama surrounding Alex Rodriguez's dismal playoff performance and flirting scandal was nothing compared to what went on in Boston the past year. So what I'm about to tell you might come as a surprise. Looking ahead, the Yankees are in no better shape than their hated rivals from Beantown. In fact, when taking a look at their respective rosters, needs, payroll flexibility and farm system, I think Boston is in better long-term shape.
Allow me to explain.
Yankees: Current roster/needs
In the tables to the right, I have taken a stab at projecting what each team's opening day roster would look like if they did nothing this winter. Obviously, that won't happen, but the exercise helps us see where the strengths and weaknesses are, and allows us to predict possible transactions.