Not the most bullish Yankees prediction coming from the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA system , which predicts a third-place finish for the Yankees at 93-69. PECOTA actually predicts the Rays as the American League East winners at 96-66.
Interestingly, PECOTA predicts that the Yankees lineup will actually score more runs (917) than last the team scored last season (915). It’s the pitching staff that PECOTA thinks will take a hit, with the Yankees predicted to allow 789 runs, 36 more than last season and 60 more than PECOTA predicts for Tampa Bay’s young staff.
The Yankees are predicted to easily score the most runs in baseball and finish with the third-most wins. It just so happens that the Rays and Red Sox are predicted to have the most and second-most wins.
Some other interesting predictions: The Nationals finishing better than .500, the A’s beating the Mariners for the American League West and the Twins winning the AL Central with just 82 wins.
A few other news and notes from around baseball…
• Hard to say whether this is a big story or a small story, but USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says  Kevin Towers will join the Yankees front office. No doubt that’s a good baseball mind joining the mix, but it’s hard to say how much impact Towers could have.
• Maybe Chien-Ming Wang won’t wait  until May to sign after all.
• Former Yankees spot starter Dan Giese, fresh off Tommy John surgery, has signed back with the Oakland A’s.
• Speaking of former Yankees, Steven Jackson and Anthony Claggett each cleared waivers  and will go to spring training as NRIs with the Pirates.
• The latest minor league transactions  lists just one Yankees signing: INF Fu-Lin Kuo from Taiwan. It’s actually not an especially new signing. More information on Kuo right here . The only other name that stood out from the minor league transactions was former Yankees minor league infielder Kevin Howard, who signed with the Cardinals. It’s old news, but Shelley Duncan’s brother Chris has signed with Washington.