Wondering just how their carefully constructed teams will fare in the upcoming 2009 season isn’t the only major worry for Major League Baseball executives these days.

That’s why the big contracts so ubiquitous during off-seasons past were so rare in recent months, with few teams aside from the wealthy-beyond-words New York Yankees shelling out the big bucks.

All that’s new in New York
The Yankees aren’t exactly thumbing their nose at the recession, but after committing nearly half a billion dollars to land CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira as they prepare to move into the new Yankee Stadium, they certainly showed it’s not going to stand in the way of their quest to return to the playoffs. Amid much less fanfare, the same goes for the crosstown Mets, who reeled in free agent closer Francisco Rodriguez for their first season at Citi Field.

Will Rays still shine?
The defending AL East champion Rays — still sounds weird, doesn’t it? — will probably find it tougher to repeat than to surprise. Their pitching staff will have to hold up for their talented core to make it happen again.

Youth is served
Evan Longoria, Geovany Soto, Toronto native Joey Votto, Alexi Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury, to name a few rookies, took baseball by storm last year.

Big prospects to watch for this year include: Travis Snider (Jays), David Price (Rays), Cameron Maybin (Marlins), Brett Anderson (A’s) and Jordan Zimmermann (Nationals).

Latest From ...