Author Archive

How Important Is Mark Teixeira’s Health to the Yankees’ 2014 Success?

Last season is one that Mark Teixeira and Yankees‘ fans would just as soon forget.  When “Tex” hurt his wrist while preparing for the World Baseball Classic 2013, it became a lost cause.

The Yankees never really adequately made up for the injury, and it was the first in a series of key setbacks the team experienced in recording its lowest win total (85) since the strike-shortened 1995 season.

Just how much Teixeira’s injury directly affected the club’s mediocre performance can be up for debate, but a look at the numbers suggests it was a major factor in the Yankees missing the postseason for just the second time in 19 years.

In his first three seasons in pinstripes, Teixeira played in 97 percent of the team’s total regular season games.  It’s no coincidence that the Yankees averaged 98 wins and won a World Series title over that time.


Year Wins Team runs Games played RBI + RS % of team runs
2009 103 915 156 225 24.6
2010 95 859 158 221 25.7
2011 97 867 156 201 23.2
2012 95 804 123 150 18.7
2013 85 650 15 17 2.6

Source: MLB.COM


The table above shows the percentage of the Yankees’ runs that Teixeira participated in either by scoring a run or driving one in.  When healthy, the first baseman is clearly a vital component to the team’s lineup. 

By contrast, Lyle Overbay (the primary first baseman last season) took part in just 102 team runs over 142 games in 2013.  That equates to 15.7 percent of the total runs the Bombers put up—a drop from what Teixeira contributes when he’s full-time.

Further proof can be seen in looking a little deeper at the statistics, namely hitting with runners in scoring position (RISP) and oWAR (offensive wins above replacement).


YEAR Team runs scored when RISP “Tex” RBI + RS (RISP) & of team (RISP) oWAR
2009 650 139 21.4 5.1
2010 626 148 23.6 3.5
2011 614 127 20.7 2.9
2012 545 98 18.0 2.2
2013 504 15 3.0 -0.3

Source: MLB.COM and


As with the first table, Teixeira has proven to be a significant contributor when he’s able to play in the majority of a season, and how successful the team is can be tied directly to his productivity.

It is no secret that one of the Yankees’ Achilles’ heels in recent years has been the club’s ability to hit with RISP.  The statistics bear out the fact that they are more successful in that scenario when Teixeira is healthy and in the heart of the lineup.  Even when playing a few more than 120 games as he did in 2012, “Tex” still managed to be part of nearly 20 percent of the team’s runs.

In addition to what he contributes at the plate, what Teixeira gives the Yankees in the field may even be of more significance. 

He is a five-time winner of the Gold Glove at first base (including 2012 when he played in just 123 games) and carries a .997 career fielding percentage.

He is a dependable anchor on the field.


To get back to the playoffs, the Yankees are going to need Teixeira back in their lineup. 

Will he be 100 percent recovered on Opening Day?

In response to a question about the first baseman’s status, Yankees beat reporter Bryan Hoch of wrote:

Teixeira said recently that he feels close to 100 percent, though he wishes his surgically repaired right wrist felt a little less stiff. Teixeira has started hitting off a tee, and his game plan is to continue strengthening exercises while swinging a bat throughout the month of January.

It remains up in the air whether “Tex” will be back to full strength when the team begins the 2014 campaign. 

For the Yankees and their fans, playing games in October may depend on it.

Read more MLB news on

3 Things the New York Yankees Need to Address Before Start of Spring Training

Now that we are only a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, it seems appropriate to take a look at what housekeeping issues the New York Yankees still need to address.  

In spite of an active last two months of 2013, GM Brian Cashman has some open items to take care of before the club can call itself ready for the 2014 campaign.


Starting Pitching

We sit exactly one month until Valentine’s Day, when the Yankees’ pitchers and catchers begin their activities at the team’s Tampa facilities, yet the starting rotation still has two open spots. 

CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova are the returning hurlers.  It is also assumed that Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno will compete for one of the open slots (most likely the fifth starter role).

But who is the final piece to the starting pitching puzzle?

It is reported that the Yankees are one of the three front-runners to land Japanese “ace” Masahiro Tanaka.  Should they manage to sway the right-handed pitcher to sign with them, the dust settles on the rotation.  A starting four of Tanaka, Sabathia, Kuroda and Nova would match up with the best in baseball. 

Tanaka has just a couple of weeks to make a decision, so stay tuned.

What if Tanaka doesn’t choose the Yankees?

Well, then one of two things will happen. 

Either the Yankees will scramble to immediately sign one of the remaining free agents on the market or decide to roll with two of the aforementioned, mostly unproven in-house pitchers. 

Should they prefer to use resources already under their control, then the club would be placing the responsibility of two starter roles on the shoulders of pitchers with limited experience. 

Of the four previously mentioned, Pineda has the most starts under his belt (28).  However, he is coming off rehab from surgery for an anterior labral tear in April of 2012.  He has basically been out of commission for over a year. 

Phelps is also returning from injury, while Nuno and Warren have a total of six MLB starts between them. 

There are still some options on the free-agent market (besides Tanaka) worth exploring.  Among them are Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jair Jurrjens and Paul Maholm.  All have their issues, but each could be productive in the third through fifth spots of the rotation.

The route the Yankees take hangs on Tanaka‘s decision.  The next two weeks will go a long way in firming up who the Yankees take with them to the Bronx.


Infield Depth

Gone is Robinson Cano, finding greener pastures in Seattle.

Gone is Alex Rodriguez, banished from MLB for at least a year (pending appeal) and quite possibly out of baseball forever.

In their places, Cashman has brought in journeyman Kelly Johnson and the oft-injured Brian Roberts.

Both, when healthy, are adequate replacements for second and third base (Johnson can play both), but both have issues that require strong depth behind them.

Johnson is a left-handed hitter (good for Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field) with decent power.  He’s hit 16 home runs in each of the last two seasons and has the versatility to play second, third and first base.  He has 132 games of experience in the outfield as well.  Unfortunately, Johnson is also a free-swinger who has struck out 258 times in the last two years.  His average has suffered, hitting just .230 since 2012. 

Roberts was once an All-Star, considered among the game’s very best players.  Since 2010, he hasn’t played in more than 77 games in any one season (2013).  The days of hitting .290 and leading the league in doubles (he did that twice) are well behind him, and over the past three seasons, he has hit just .217.

Basically, the Yankees are hoping that a healthy Roberts might provide some semblance to the Roberts of old.  It’s a risk, and his incentive-laden contract reflects that.

Derek Jeter, the venerable captain of the Yankees, returns in 2014 after missing all but 17 games in 2013 after suffering a traumatic ankle injury in the 2012 ALCS.  How his 39-year-old body holds up to the rigors of a full season is a concern for the team.  As such, the club re-signed 31-year-old Brendan Ryan. 

Ryan sparkled in the field during the final month of 2013 for the Yankees, but his bat leaves much to be desired.  He’s hit just .196 over the past two seasons with the Mariners and Yankees.

Most recent rumors have the Yankees exploring the possibility of trading for San Diego Padres infielder Logan Forsythe.  Already, the teams had made a deal that brought infielder Dean Anna to New York.  Anna will be one of the players competing for spots on the big league roster this spring.  It is a further effort to shore up their thin infield depth, and it shows that Cashman recognizes the priority to have reliable backups in place.


Name David Robertson Closer

Finally, before opening the spring training season, the Yankees need to once and for all name David Robertson their undisputed closer for 2014.

Mariano Rivera has retired, and in spite of everyone else (including Rivera) bestowing the title of “successor to the greatest reliever in history” upon Robertson, GM Cashman has tiptoed around the subject.  He has gone so far as to say he wasn’t sure that “D-Rob” was ready for the role.

The 28-year-old Robertson has enjoyed success as the setup man to Rivera.  Over the past three seasons, the right-hander has carried a 1.93 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.  In that time, he holds a 258-76 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

No one is better suited or better understands what it takes to follow in the footsteps of the best relief pitcher in history than David Robertson.

Given all the other question marks the team still carries with it as it heads towards spring training, wouldn’t it make sense to give Robertson the vote of confidence he needs before the team opens camp? 

Once the Baltimore Orioles‘ agreement with relief pitcher Grant Balfour fell through following a health examination, the Yankees reportedly showed interest in acquiring the 36-year-old Athletics closer.

What would Balfour give the Yankees that Robertson doesn’t?

Other than more experience in the ninth inning, he adds nothing really.  Robertson is younger and apparently healthier, not to mention that Robertson has played his entire career under the microscope that is New York.

The Yankees need to remove any doubt about who will take the mound in the ninth inning and name Robertson their closer before opening the gates at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. 

Read more MLB news on

10 Things We Want to See from the New York Yankees in 2014

As we officially turn the page from 2013 and plunge head-first into 2014, every team in MLB begins the new year with expectations and dreams of glory. 

The New York Yankees as an organization have created a history of success, and after a season that saw them miss the playoffs for only the second time in the past 18 years, the team certainly hasn’t rested on its laurels in trying to return to October play.

With new additions like Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees have put the rest of the division on notice that they have no intentions of finishing third in the AL East again.

In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, this article takes a look at what we want to see from the Yankees in 2014.

Begin Slideshow

Power Ranking the New York Yankees’ Offseason Signings so Far

In missing the playoffs for only the second time since 1995, New York Yankees‘ general manager Brian Cashman was tasked with making sure that 2013 was just an exception to the rule.

The club entered the offseason with several players leaving via free agency.  Among them were All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano who found his riches in Seattle and center fielder Curtis Granderson, whose move was somewhat shorter (he signed with the Mets).

To date, Cashman has already addressed the offensive deficits with some marquee names from the free-agent market.  He’s also used that market to give some depth to the lineup and provide a “safety net” should debilitating injuries like those last season to shortstop Derek Jeter and first baseman Mark Teixeira occur again.

In particular, one of the team’s greatest falloffs of 2013 was in home runs.  After leading MLB in that category in 2012, the team fell to 22nd in 2013.

This article will take a look at the Yankees’ offseason signings and rank them as to what they mean to returning the club to the top of the power statistics in MLB.

Begin Slideshow

Projecting the New York Yankees 2014 Batting Order

With the large amount of turnover the New York Yankees are experiencing this offseason, general manager Brian Cashman is continuing to piece together the 2014 version of the club.  As he does so, the batting order that skipper Joe Girardi writes down on his lineup card for Opening Day gradually becomes clearer.

This article will attempt to project the 2014 lineup given what we already know and keeping in mind that, even as it is being written, personnel changes may be occurring.  Case in point, an industry source via Eduardo A. Encina and Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun reports Tuesday that the Yankees have signed 36-year-old second baseman Brian Roberts. 

For the purposes of our endeavor, we will assume Roberts will be wearing pinstripes next April and playing second base.

So, what does Girardi have to work with?  The additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran give him additional speed (Ellsbury) and power that lengthens the lineup far beyond the 2013 version.

Last season the Opening Day lineup looked like this:


Gardner CF

Nunez SS

Cano 2B

Youkilis 1B

Wells LF

Francisco DH

Suzuki RF

Nix 3B

Cervelli C


Gone are Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis, Ben Francisco and Jayson Nix.  Eduardo Nunez will be relegated to work off the bench as Derek Jeter returns, and the additions of Ellsbury, Beltran and McCann mean that Francisco Cervelli, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells will be seated right beside him.

Mark Teixeira also returns in 2014, and Alfonso Soriano remains on the squad after being acquired last summer.  Both give the team a boost in the power department.

In all likelihood, Jeter will move into the designated hitter role for at least a couple of games each week.  When he does, Brendan Ryan will man the shortstop position.  Much will depend upon the recuperation of Jeter’s ankle. 

Another “wild card” that will affect the Yankees’ lineup in 2014 is whether or not Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension is upheld for the alleged use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) and involvement with Biogenesis.  If he does, look for newly acquired Kelly Johnson or Nunez to occupy the hot corner.

Joe Girardi likes to match up his lineup for right-handed and left-handed opposing pitchers.  A version that one might see against the right-handed hurlers (with Jeter at SS and A-Rod serving suspension) is:


Ellsbury CF

Jeter SS

Beltran RF

Teixeira 1B

McCann C

Soriano DH

Johnson 3B

Roberts 2B

Gardner LF


The key spots in this lineup are occupied by left-handed hitters or switch-hitters (Teixeira, Beltran and Roberts) while giving the team speed at both ends (Ellsbury and Gardner).  By having right-handed hitters occupying the other spots in the order, the team would absorb a pitching change to a southpaw.

When the team faces a left-handed starter, one possible version of the lineup is (again, making the assumption that Rodriguez is serving some sort of suspension):


Ellsbury CF

Jeter SS

Beltran RF

Soriano DH

Teixeira 1B

McCann C

Johnson 3B

Roberts 2B

Gardner LF


The only real change here is moving Soriano into the cleanup spot to protect Beltran and bumping Teixeira and McCann down. 

As mentioned, the status of Alex Rodriguez makes a dramatic difference to the lineup the Yankees bring to the table.  If he manages to avoid a suspension, his presence not only lengthens the lineup, but it also provides valuable depth on the bench. 

Here is what the order against right-handed hurlers might look with A-Rod in it:


Ellsbury CF

Jeter SS

Beltran RF

Teixeira 1B

McCann C

Rodriguez 3B

Soriano DH

Roberts 2B

Gardner LF


The order becomes much more imposing to an opponent.  Girardi‘s options for in-game replacements include moving Suzuki into Soriano’s spot, Johnson in for Roberts or A-Rod and Ryan for either Jeter or Roberts. 

Against a left-handed starter, the lineup with Rodriguez in it takes an even more dramatic change:


Ellsbury CF

Jeter SS

Rodriguez 3B

Beltran RF

Teixeira 1B

McCann C

Soriano DH

Roberts 2B

Gardner LF


Again, this lineup features the flexibility for Girardi to successfully manipulate the order in the event of a pitching change.  On the bench will be left-handed hitters Suzuki and Johnson.  Between the two of them the DH, third base, second base and outfield positions are available for in-game swaps.

Even though the team has lost its most potent bat in Robinson Cano, the players that the Yankees have acquired this offseason already ensure a better offensive lineup will open the 2014 season.

As noted, Cashman is not yet done putting together the final version of the roster.  What he has accomplished to this point gives Joe Girardi the weapons he’ll need to once again strike fear into opposing pitchers. 

Read more MLB news on

New York Yankees: Predictions for the Next 3 Years of Yankees’ Baseball

As we are smack dab in the middle of baseball’s free-agent season.  Now is a time full of hope for fans of every MLB team.  It is a period where visions of glory and supreme optimism run rampant and speculation as to who will be standing in the end invade the mind.

Even though baseball isn’t being played, the passion for it remains in the heart, and as the snow covers the ground, the sport stays relevant and “fun.”

With that in mind, let’s take a stab at predicting what the next three years will bring for the Bronx Bombers.

Begin Slideshow

New York Yankees: Pros and Cons of Top Offseason Free-Agent Targets

This offseason the New York Yankees expect to be a very busy organization. 

Following a season in which they failed to reach the playoffs for only the second time since 1995, changes will be extensive and rumors as to whom GM Brian Cashman is pursuing have been a daily occurrence.

This article will take a look at the five most talked-about targets in the Yankees’ crosshairs and what the pros and cons to each are.

Begin Slideshow

Five Dream Free Agent Pickups for the New York Yankees

The anticipation and speculation leading up to a Major League Baseball season is unlike that of any other sport.  As soon as the last out of the final game of a World Series is recorded, the calculation and dreaming for a campaign still five months away begins.

For the New York Yankees, 2014 can’t get here fast enough.  The sooner they can get the disappointment of 2013 in their rear-view mirror, the better.

Faced with a turnover not seen in the Bronx in close to two decades, Yankees fans have taken to analyzing the team and the open market from every possible angle.

Tossing aside a goal not set in stone of keeping the total payroll at or below $189 million, this article takes a look at the “dream” free agent pickups the Bombers could have if money was not a factor.

Begin Slideshow

The New York Yankees Prospects Who Will Shine in 2014

The New York Yankees‘ failure to reach the playoffs in 2013 has been written about ad nauseam, but rather than lament the disappointments of the recent past, there are some good reasons to look toward the future.

In spite of the Bombers’ farm system being ranked somewhere in the middle of MLB by Bleacher Report’s Mike Rosenbaum, there are prospects whose value continues to grow with each passing season.  Each should shine in 2014, whether it is at a minor league level or in “The Show.”


Gary Sanchez

When discussing the future of the franchise, the name Gary Sanchez is often mentioned first.  The 20-year-old catcher has been promoted four times in his three seasons with the organization. 

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, the youngster made an immediate splash by hitting .353 in the Gulf Coast League and after just 31 games was promptly promoted to the NY-Penn League Staten Island Yankees.

He hasn’t looked back.

Blessed with a gun for an arm and good power at the plate, Sanchez has yet to experience a setback on his rise through the organization.

MLB.Com has him ranked 26th among baseball’s top prospects—second among catchers.

There is no reason Sanchez shouldn’t remain a rising star in the Yankees’ farm system.  Look for 2014 to bring another late-season promotion to Triple-A for the future backstop in the Bronx.


Austin Romine

It is difficult to consider Romine a prospect, but that is really what he was prior to being thrust into the backup role with the Yankees early in 2013.

He entered last season as the starting catcher with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Rail Riders, and after hitting .333 in 14 games, the 25-year-old was called up by the major league club to replace the injured Francisco Cervelli.

Through June Romine struggled at the plate, hitting just .145.  Things turned around for him over the next two months, and he batted .318 in that time frame, raising his average to .227.  He suffered a concussion on September 10 and had just one more at-bat over the remainder of the season.

Assuming that he returns to full health when camps open in February, Romine will be in the mix for the starting-catcher spot with the team.  Much will depend on whether the Yankees pursue a veteran catcher in free agency (Brian McCann comes to mind) or decide that their best options lie in-house.

Regardless, Romine showed the Yankees that he can handle the pressures of playing with the major league club and that, if given an everyday opportunity, he will shine.


J.R. Murphy

While we’re on the topic of catchers, rookie J.R. Murphy made his debut at Yankees stadium this past fall.  He managed to see action in 16 games, and even though he only hit .154, the fact that the club thought enough of Murphy to bring him to the Bronx speaks volumes. 

With his call-up in September, the 22-year-old marked his fifth promotion in four seasons and in 2013 was named one of the top 20 prospects in the Eastern League by Baseball America.

In 2014, expect the battle for one of the catching spots on the New York Yankees roster to include Murphy.  He has a good arm, decent power and now major league experience to bring to the table. 


Dellin Betances

Another September call-up in 2013 was 25-year-old pitcher Dellin Betances.  Once considered a top prospect as a starter in the Yankees farm system, his career has been a roller-coaster ride. 

Control issues and continued failure as a starter led the Yankees to move Betances to the bullpen at Triple-A Scranton.  The improvement was immediate, as the right-hander dominated in his new role.  As a relief pitcher, Betances held a 1.35 ERA and microscopic 0.98 WHIP. 

During his brief stint in September, the hurler only threw five innings in six appearances.  While his 10.80 ERA with the major league team won’t be something he’ll want to remember, he did give a glimpse of his capability by striking out 10 and only walking two.

Given the expected turnover with the Yankees this offseason, it would be surprising if Betances isn’t considered for a spot on the roster when the team breaks camp in 2014. 

Betances knows next season will be his golden opportunity to shine, so expect him to make the most of it.


Ronnier Mustelier

Time is of the essence for Ronnier Mustelier.  The 29-year-old Cuban defector who was signed by the Yankees in 2011 isn’t a youthful prospect like those mentioned above.  However, he is a professional hitter.

When healthy, Mustelier wields a decent bat, and in the three minor league seasons he has spent in the Yankees organization, he holds a .306 average.

At Triple-A Scranton last season, he hit .272 with seven home runs in 84 games.  Throughout the year he dealt with injuries and was even being considered for a roster spot in the spring before suffering leg contusions while chasing a pop-up during a game.  He hit .314 last March and has shown his versatility on the field in being able to play outfield, third base and first base.

If he can remain injury-free, 2014 likely represents his best (and perhaps final) chance at breaking camp with the team in the Bronx.


Zoilo Almonte

The 24-year-old Almonte exploded on the scene with the Yankees after being called up in June last season.  That month, he hit .303 with an OPS of .836 while giving life to a team struggling with injuries to its stars. 

In July, the dynamic outfielder would cool down, hitting just .236 over the first two weeks of the month while playing nearly every day.

Unfortunately, Almonte suffered an ankle sprain and was placed on the DL on July 20. He wouldn’t play again until September.

Prior to joining the Yankees in June, Almonte hit .297 at Scranton, showing he’s more than capable at the plate.

As a member of the 40-man roster, Almonte will be in the outfield mix for the Yankees in 2014.  With good health and an opportunity to play daily, look for next year to be a breakout one for him.



Other prospects who should at least improve upon last season include:

Tyler Austin: The 22-year-old top outfield prospect continues to get promoted at least once a season.  He hit .257 at Double-A Trenton last year, and as long as he can remain healthy he should see some time with Scranton before 2014 is out.

Mason Williams: Like Austin, 22-year-old Williams is a top outfield prospect in the organization.  At Trenton he hit only .153, but his ceiling (and expectations) remain high.  He was sent with Austin and catching prospect Peter O’Brien to the Arizona Fall League.

Mark Montgomery: Another 22-year-old prospect (what is it with the 22-year-olds?) who has the potential to shine is pitcher Mark Montgomery.  His biggest issue is being able to stay healthy (apparently an organizational theme).  At Scranton, Montgomery had a 3.38 ERA over 40 innings pitched as a reliever.  He strikes out batters at a rate of 11 per nine innings and will be on the fast track to the majors if he can stay upright. 

Read more MLB news on

Why New York Yankees Fans Should Expect Big Changes This Offseason

This year has been filled with injury and disappointment for the New York Yankees, and the team will see major changes in 2014.

As the final remnants of the 2013 MLB season play out, the Bombers find themselves desperately trying to remain relevant to the playoff chase after suffering three straight losses to the Boston Red Sox.  With 12 games remaining in the regular season, the team trails the Texas Rangers by two-and-a-half games for the final postseason spot.

Many can point fingers at numerous key injuries to the likes of Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Youkilis as the reasons for the team’s struggles.  Others will look at the players well beyond the productive years of their careers that GM Brian Cashman brought in to give depth. 

While Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Chris Stewart and Lyle Overbay offer nice bench choices for a manager, their productivity as regulars on a daily basis is well below those that they replace.

The four aforementioned players are hitting a combined .221.  The men that occupied their spots last year (Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Raul Ibanez) hit 25 points higher (.246).

As a team the Yankees have hit 136 home runs this season.  That ranks 26th in MLB.  It represents a complete turnaround from last season when the team hit 245 dingers and ranked first in baseball.

Regardless of how the season plays out, the Yankees fans can expect big changes heading into 2014.

The most visible of those changes will occur at the closer spot.

Mariano Rivera announced that this will be his final year in pinstripes.  The final out of 2013 will mark the end of an iconic career.  The all-time saves leader will certainly see his bust hung on the walls of Cooperstown in five years, and he leaves his successor (most likely David Robertson) with the impossible task of following in the footsteps of the greatest reliever in history.

The changes in the bullpen for 2014 don’t end with the closer.  Joba Chamberlain, the much maligned right-handed hurler is a free-agent after this season and it would be surprising to see the Yankees bring him back.  The last two seasons have been a disappointment for Chamberlain as he’s posted an ERA over 4.30 with a WHIP of 1.58 in 65 relief appearances.  A change of scenery may be what the once-promising 27-year-old needs to revive his career. 

Among the starters, Phil Hughes most likely is ending his Yankees career in 2013.  Like Chamberlain, Hughes is a free agent at the end of the season and his 4-13 record with a 5.07 ERA signals an end to the team waiting for him to reach his potential. 

Andy Pettitte is one of the most beloved Yankees.  The southpaw is a veteran of 18 MLB seasons and has 255 career wins.  His 19 postseason victories are the most by any pitcher in history.

Unfortunately Father Time seems to be catching up with the 41-year-old.  He has missed significant time in each of the past two seasons.  Last year, it was a broken ankle that sidelined the big Texan.  This season, an issue with his back landed him on the disabled list.

As the injuries mount for the veteran Yankee star, his productivity is showing signs of suffering.  This season his WHIP (1.402) is the highest it has been since 2008, strikeouts per nine innings (6.2) are the lowest since 2007 and his WAR (1.6) is at its lowest point since 2006. 

With only a one-year contract, 2013 could see the curtain close on the career of the greatest Yankees left-hander since Whitey Ford.

Look for David Phelps, David Huff, Michael Pineda and Vidal Nuno to compete for the rotation spots vacated by Hughes and Pettitte.

Around the horn the Yankees will field a new look in 2014 as well.

As mentioned, behind the plate Chris Stewart has been adequate defensively and leaving much to be desired with a bat in his hands.  Given the progress Austin Romine has shown in the second half of this season (hitting over .300 in July and August) and the progress of minor league catchers JR Murphy and Gary Sanchez, the 31-year-old should be in a different uniform in 2014.

Alex Rodriguez’s suspension looms for next season and the Yankees will need to account for it.  Do they try to bring Kevin Youkilis back with the hopes he can translate lost time in 2013 to success in 2014?

The 34-year-old former Red Sox and White Sox player saw action in only 28 games before being placed on the disabled list with back issues that required surgery.  Because he hit only .219 and barely got his feet wet with the Yankees, he may be a cheap signing for Cashman this offseason. 

If the team decides not to go the free-agent route at third base, David Adams and Eduardo Nunez offer in-house options.  Adams has not impressed at the plate (.192 average) and Nunez is a virtual sieve in the field (12 errors this season).  Both have major league experience at third base, and if the team’s budgetary constraints deem it necessary to use organizational resources to fill holes, they certainly provide temporary answers.

Much has been made of the Yankees attempt to avoid a luxury tax next year and get under the $189 million salary limitation.  How dedicated they are to doing so will determine the fate of two key players going into 2014.

First and foremost is Robinson Cano.  The all-star has become the premiere second baseman in baseball, and will command a top-flight salary in 2014.  The weakened supporting cast in the Yankees lineup has only helped to highlight Cano’s importance to the team.

In spite of being left with weak protection behind him in the order, Cano has managed to hit .310 with 27 HR and 103 RBI this season.  It marks the third time in four years that he has passed the century mark in RBI, and it is the fifth consecutive season with 25 or more home runs for the career .309 hitter.

Yankees President Randy Levine recently implied that the team would stick to its guns when negotiating; leaving the possibility that Cano might not be a Yankee next year.

If they do let him walk, the team will likely either sign a cheaper free agent or use David Adams at second.

The other player whose future in the Bronx may be dependent on the team’s salary limit is outfielder Curtis Granderson. 

“Grandy” has hit 114 home runs in his three-plus seasons with the Yankees, and entering 2013 he was coming off back-to-back years of more than 100 RBI and 100 runs scored.  Unfortunately, Granderson is also a “free swinger” and averages 158 strikeouts per season. 

2013 is turning into a season that the left-handed hitter would like to forget.  In his first at-bat of the spring, Granderson was hit by a pitch from J.A. Happ and suffered a broken forearm.  On May 24, just 10 days after returning from his stay on the DL, the slugger found himself right back where he came from.  A Cesar Ramos pitch broke his knuckle and he didn’t return to the Yankees lineup until August 2.

Along with Mark Teixeira, since 2010 Curtis Granderson has represented the Bombers’ best power threat in the lineup.  His asking price in the upcoming free-agent market may mean he’ll be hitting the long ball elsewhere. 

Given the splash Alfonso Soriano has made since returning to the club (15 HR and 47 RBI in 47 games), Granderson seems expendable with Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki (along with Soriano) already slated for the club next year. 

If so, look for the club to give opportunities to Zoilo Alimonte (.297 at Scranton), Ronnier Mustelier (.272), Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott to win backup roles in the Yankees outfield next spring. 

It is apparent that the Yankees changes this offseason are numerous and widespread in affecting every area of the team.  The most prominent of those changes could very well occur at the head of the dugout.

Manager Joe Girardi is in the final year of his contract, and while Cashman has indicated that they want to bring him back, they have yet to re-sign him. 

This has been perhaps the most challenging season during Girardi‘s tenure as Yankees manager, yet it is also arguably his best at the helm.  In spite of the numerous setbacks via injury and lack of depth, he still has the team contending for a chance to play in October.

Nothing ever goes the way you want it to, but Girardi certainly has gotten the most out of what he’s had to work with.  It should result in him signing a new contract, but if the team decides a complete overhaul begins at the top, Yankee fans could be looking at a new manager in 2014.

The extent of the changes that the New York Yankees make prior to opening the 2014 campaign may depend upon whether or not the team reaches the postseason this year. 

Regardless, the team that takes the field in Houston on April 1, 2014 will be very different than the one that records its final out in 2013.






Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress