The more I look at this team and observe some of its shortcomings, the more I see Jorge Posada as being the success key. If he can catch at least 110-125 games effectively and hit around .280 with some pop, the Yanks have a great shot at the pennant. He can slip back into the fifth or sixth spot in the batting order with his switch hitting abilities and really balance out the lineup.
However, if his recently repaired shoulder does not respond then the 5-9 slots in the order could be:
Matsui, Nady (Swisher), Cano, Gardner (Melky) and Molina.
The Yanks will be hard pressed to score more than the 729 runs or 4.5 per game they put up last year and the pitching staff will not have the safety net that a healthy offense provides.
In 2006 the Yanks ranked first in the AL, scoring 930 R's (5.74 per game) as Posada went .277, 23 HR's and 93 RBI's,
In 2007, they ranked first again and scored 968 R's (5.97) as Posada went .338, 20 HR's and 90 RBI's.
In 2008, the Yanks ranked seventh in the AL, pushing in 789 or around 4.67 runs a game without Jorge for the most part.
And we still don't know if Matsui is going to show up either with his cranky knee, but with a relatively healthy Posada, it will take some of the pressure off of him also
I'm not too hopeful that Posada will be able to bounce back, but there aren't many options at catcher floating around the major leagues so the Yanks have to hope and pray that a feisty Jorge Posada can return. It's simple, with a decent Posada the Yanks still should be able to mash, without him it's going to be rough unless we get a few surprises.