• Will Ryan Braun look straight into the cameras this spring and utter any words that restore his standing as a player whom anyone in the state of Wisconsin will want to root for?
• Two and a half years after blowing out his Achilles, four years after he last slugged .500 and five years after he last hit 40 homers, which direction is Ryan Howard headed this spring - Feared Cleanup Masher or Not So Feared Half of First Base Platoon with Darin Ruf?
• Can Bryce Harper make it through the spring without sending any outfield fences to the emergency room? If Harper stays on the field and has a special season, the Washington Nationals could have an even more special season.
• Which first-year manager has the best chance of (A) getting ejected from a spring training game and (B) making folks forget the legendary manager he's succeeding -- Matt Williams (Nationals), Ryne Sandberg ( Phillies) or Bryan Price (Reds)?
2 Collision Course: At some point this spring, MLB expects to figure out the final details of its new rules on collisions at home plate. But the ripple effect is that everybody will have to be retrained to think and act differently when a runner is roaring toward home plate -- catchers, runners and umpires. Why do we think that, as that unfolds this spring, it won't be a smooth, serene sail on the spring seas?
3 Sign Of The Times: One of these days, weeks or months, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz and the shocking number of still-unsigned free agents have to show up in somebody's spring training camp. Right? And no, we're not talking about the camp at Rancho Bernardo High School.
4 Alex Rodriguez: Sorry. Just typed that from force of habit. Correctly, pick the date, time and place where Alex Rodriguez will be photographed first this spring, and you'll win a date with Cameron Diaz. Or not.
Even after laying out half a billion dollars to collect or retain nine free agents, blowing through the luxury-tax threshold they were once so fixated on, surviving their legal strife with their former third baseman (guess who?) and setting a new standard for most money paid to a man (Tanaka) who had never set foot on a major league field, the Yankees remain a team with many questions. But if you don't think they're much improved, you need to seek help for your deep-seated, Yankee-hater issues immediately. Name a team that added four players as important and impactful as Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Tanaka. Go ahead. We dare you. "They're clearly the most improved team in the league," said one exec. "Of course, they'd better be, for what they spent."