It is the dead of winter. The 2011 calendar year is drawing to a close. The New York Yankees are always worth discussing, though, so let's look back at the 10 biggest headlines of the year involving the Yankees.
1. Derek Jeter Gets 3,000th Hit -- On July 9 Jeter became the first player to get 3,000 hits for the Yankee franchise, and he did it in unbelievable fashion. He went 5-for-5 against the Tampa Bay Rays, with the milestone hit being a home run into the left-center field bleachers off Tampa Bay ace David Price. Jeter's final hit was an eighth-inning single that drove in the game-winning run.
2. Mariano Rivera Sets Saves Record -- The ageless Rivera had yet another remarkable season in 2011, and surpassed Trevor Hoffman as baseball's all-time saves leader.
3. CC Sabathia Signs Extension-- The ace left-hander was expected to opt out of his contract this off-season and try to get more money either from the Yankees or as a free agent, but the Yankees never let Sabathia get to free agency. They added an extra year and about $25 million to his contract, keeping their best pitcher locked up through 2016.
4. Yankees Win American League East -- They did not win the World Series, but the Yankees did win an American League East title prognosticators everywhere had pretty much handed to the Boston Red Sox before the season began. Even sweeter, the Red Sox imploded over the final month of the season and failed to make the playoffs at all.
5. Andy Pettitte Announces Retirement-- It seems like we knew this was coming long before Pettitte made it offcial, but one of the best pitchers in franchise history said goodbye for good in February.
6. The Yankees Sign Rafael Soriano -- General manager Brian Cashman did not approve, but Yankee ownership signed reliever Rafael Soriano to a three-year, $35-million contract anyway. Soriano, a dominating closer with Tampa Bay before joining the Yankees, had an up-and-down, injury-plagued season with a 4.12 ERA in 42 games, hardly justifying the money the Yankees spent on him.
7. Joba Chamberlain Undergoes Tommy John Surgery -- Chamberlain has gone from phenom reliever to so-so starting pitcher, to struggling reliever, to injured pitcher whose career is now on the line following Tommy John surgery.
8. Yankees Lose ALDS To Detroit Tigers -- The Yankees pushed Detroit to a decisive Game 5, but came up short of a chance to advance to the ALCS. The quest for a 28th World Series title continues.
9. Yankees Don't Win Bid For Yu Darvish -- For years the Yankees were thought to be a primary suitor for the Japanese phenom. When Darvish was finally posted to Major League Baseball, however, the Yankees' bid for hsi services was dwarfed by the record-setting bid of the Texas Rangers.
10. Alex Rodriguez Has Worst Season Of His Career -- A-Rod finished the year with a .276 average, 16 home runs and 62 RBI in just 99 games. It marked the first time since 1997 that Rodriguez, in decline at the age of 36, had not hit 30 home runs or driven in at least 100 runs for a season.