by Eddie Mayrose

Despite the largest payroll in the game, the Yankees will begin the 2011 season with A.J. Burnett following C.C. Sabathia in the starting rotation. Burnett, a huge disappointment over the two seasons since he signed a five-year $80 million contract, is a far cry from Cliff Lee, now the Phillies second starter after the Yankees failed to land him in the off-season.  However, with the Bombers as strapped for pitching as they are, Burnett becomes their only option.
In previous seasons, standard operating procedure for Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman would be to fill his team’s needs at the trading deadline with a star from a team looking to rebuild and dump salary.  That may be next to impossible this season, though, as one player won’t get it done.  If Burnett continues his slide, Cashman will likely need to fill three spots in the rotation if the Yankees are to make a run at a playoff bid.
The Yankees’ predicament stems from the fact that they put all of their eggs in Lee’s basket during the free agent season , leaving themselves seemingly without a backup plan when he headed south on the Jersey Turnpike.  Left only with the option of inviting the likes of Bartolo Colon and Mark Pryor to camp, the Yanks now head into 2011 with questions that their wallets may, finally, be unable to answer. “Down in Front!”
Now that the NFL lockout is underway, the Jets wasted very little time identifying the real victims in the process, docking the salaries of their football operations staff by 25 percent and placing 96 business-side employees on furlough.   While neither the owners nor players will begin to lose any money until July at the earliest, team personnel must begin to bear the burden of the labor dispute immediately.  Just doesn’t seem fair… Arizona State wrestler Anthony Robles, born with just one leg, capped his college career with an NCAA Championship in the 125 lb. weight class.  As incredible an achievement as that is, perhaps more incredible was the opinion of some that Robles somehow had an advantage because of his disability, noting the fact that his upper body weighs more than opponents, and that those opponents only have one leg to grab during a match.  Really, guys?… Here’s an idea.  Now that Ollie P and Luis Castillo have been jettisoned, can K-Rod be far behind?  The Amazins need a second baseman and, with Neftali Feliz moving into the starting rotation, the Rangers suddenly need a closer. Texas All Star Michael Young, pushed into the DH role, has requested a trade while the Mets are desperate to avoid a situation where Rodriguez’s performance guarantees another year on his contract at $17.5 million.  Young, one of the AL’s most consistent hitters, would be the final piece of a tremendous infield, and manager Terry Collins can get to the business of finding a new closer; something that was inevitable, anyway… With the Knicks muddling along below .500 since the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony, rumblings about Mike D’Antoni’s job security are beginning to surface.  High time, actually, as the Knicks are the worst defensive team of any that may qualify for the NBA playoffs.  D’Antoni’s disregard for that side of the court was tolerated over his first two seasons in New York while the Knicks were purging themselves of terrible contracts but, now that he has a playoff-caliber squad,  D’Antoni’s charges need to exhibit at least a passing interest in stopping the bad guys from scoring… Welcome to the world, Thomas Kane Forbes. You got here just in time, as it just wouldn’t seem right for the Red Sox to make a World Series run without a TK cheering them on.

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