A short list of New Year's questions for you to ponder as you have your brunch:
Can the Yanks find a first baseman?
I'm sure we're all excited to see 600 ABs of Shelley Duncan + Wilson Betemit, but I expect the search for a 1B to be one of the reoccurring stories of 2008.
Duncan and the WB could combine to have a .500 Slugging, but they could also post a .300 OBP.
How do we keep Arod off the back pages?
We've said every year, "this is the year he'll figure it all out."
2007 was Arod's best year on the field and his worst year off it. He'll never duplicate Jeter's media stonewall, but hopefully, with a long term deal signed (no opt-outs and a full NTC) Arod will have only baseball related backpage appearances.
Can we get those knees back in shape?
For me, the biggest long term question is what will it take to move Jeter off shortstop, and when will it happen?
If Jeter's knee rehab doesn't work, he could be our 1B solution in 2009. I also think he'd make a fine replacement for Abreu in RF.
A secondary concern is Hideki Matsui's knee. When Matsui is healthy he's a decent hitter (I think he's too pull conscious). If he can show that there's some life left in his knee he could bring back a Sheffieldian return.
Which Melky is the real Melky?
Is it the guy who hit about .190/.237/.215 in April and September? Or is the guy who hit around .315/.375/.480 in June, July, and August?
If Melky can be that second guy, or even close to that second guy, for the entire season the Yankees are in fine shape. But he spends a decent chunk of the season below the Mendoza line, CF is going to become an issue faster than the Yankee farm system is ready for.
Who are we really?
Are we really dedicated to developing a core of young players, or are we willing to ship out a decade of decent performances on the mound and in the pen for a few (hopefully) extraordinary years of an expensive soon to be free agent?
Are we willing to endure growing pains to lower the payroll and develop our own superstars?