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Last Pitch: Reasons for Optimism

This is the first day of a future filled with uncertainty. From Joe Girardi to Alex Rodriguez to Robinson Cano, it is going to be fascinating to see what type of Yankee team shows up for the first day of spring training in the middle of February.

There is a feeling that the Yankees may be doomed, but, while the goal is to constrain the payroll to $189M, the front office still thinks this team can be major contenders next year. That is the goal, of course.

So let's fill you with a little optimism as to why the Yankees could be playing this time next year as opposed to being at home. Now, I'm not saying this will happen, but here are a few glass half-full thoughts.

1) Mark Teixeira will come back and be a pretty good player. Teixeira is not an All-Star, but he still could be an above average player. If he is in the lineup for 145 games next year, the Yankees will be better with him than they were with Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds, etc.

2) Michael Pineda has now had nearly two years to recover from his shoulder injury. He will not be guaranteed a spot in the rotation, but he will be in the mix. If he can at least be a competent No. 3 or 4 starter, he could be a building block.

3) CC Sabathia could be better. Following his worst season of his career, there are people in the Yankee organization who believe Sabathia could benefit from not pitching in October for a season. The wear and tear of the extra month of the most intense pitching may have caught up to him.

UP NOW: Ian O'Connor on Derek Jeter's optimistic expectations.

ON DECK: I will have grades for all the Yankees. Wallace Matthews will have a preview of the offseason. Meanwhile, the Alex Rodriguez appeal will begin behind closed doors today. Plus, the Joe Girardi, "Will he stay or will he go?" drama will begin to unfold.

IN THE HOLE: This seems like an appropriate time to once again thank you for choosing ESPN New York for your Yankee coverage.

QUESTION: What grade would give the Yankees this season?