Now that the (somewhat controversial) new CBA has been agreed to, the hot stove is starting to heat up in earnest. Next week, the winter meetings will be held in Dallas, and they are often a highlight of the offseason.
Discussion of the Day: Do you think the Yankees should trade Nick Swisher? Even if it means getting significant pitching help?
Behind Enemy Lines: Gordon Edes writes that Bobby Valentine will shake things up for the Red Sox.
1) Wallace Matthews considers the relationship between Valentine and Brian Cashman.
Yankees' fans might remember Valentine from his days as Mets' manager and there will certainly be a lot of pressure on him to succeed with the Red Sox. Whether he will be as successful as Terry Francona was when facing the Yankees remains to be seen, but to some degree it will be a much different Red Sox team that the Yankees face in 2012.
As Pawlikowski notes, Teixeira has been a good hitter for the Yankees, but not a great one -- certainly not the hitter one would expect with his contract. Teixeira will be 32 in 2012; while it might not be reasonable to expect Teixeira to have a monster season like 2007 Alex Rodriguez, even just a more consistent season could be tremendously helpful. The Yankees' biggest offseason need remains their pitching rotation; a more consistent season from Teixeira could provide the help that the Yankees' offense might need without the cost a big name free agent would incur.
3) Eric Schultz at The Yankee Analysts argues that Hector Noesi could be an important factor in the Yankees' 2012 rotation.
Noesi, one of the Yankees' notable pitching prospects (if not quite on a Manny Banuelos level of hype) was hurt last season by pitching largely out of the bullpen in low leverage spots -- 56 innings, with under 30 more in the minors, is not nearly enough for a 24 year-old pitcher. If his development hasn't been hurt by the lack of work in 2011, then he could certainly help bolster the 2012 rotation, but if the Yankees are assuming that Noesi can be an integral part of the 2012 rotation, they might be asking for too much.