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2014 Outlook: New York Yankees

Jan 24, 2014, 2:03 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

2013 record: 85-77, 3rd place in AL East
Manager: Joe Girardi, 7th season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $196 million
Key additions: OF Jacoby Ellsbury, C Brian McCann, SP Masahiro Tanaka, OF Carlos Beltran
Key losses: SP Phil Hughes, OF Vernon Wells, 3B Alex Rodriguez (technically)

Projected lineup
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Derek Jeter
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
DH Alfonso Soriano
LF Brett Gardner
3B Kelly Johnson
2B Brian Roberts

Projected rotation
LHP C.C. Sabathia
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
RHP Ivan Nova
RHP David Phelps

Top relievers
CL David Robertson
RHP Shawn Kelley
LHP Matt Thornton

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. How good will Tanaka be? It took months for Masahiro Tanaka to find a team, and in the end he found a destination we all could have predicted. Now Tanaka will slot into a Yankees rotation that already has C.C. Sabathia and Huroki Kuroda at the top. Tanaka was sensational in Japan, but will that success translate overseas? If Tanaka can be anywhere close to as good as he was with the Rakuten Golden Eagles (24-0, 1.27 ERA in 2013), the Yankees should be right back in the mix as contenders. And even if he isn’t, have you seen their lineup?

2. Will Teixeira bounce back? Injuries limited first baseman Mark Teixeira to just 15 games in 2013, by far his worst professional season. He turns 34 in early April and hasn’t played more than 125 games since 2011. If healthy though, Teixeira has the potential to be the best player in the Yankees’ lineup. If he returns to his old form of Gold Glove defense and 30+ home runs, the rest of the Yanks’ lineup could fall into place quite nicely.

3. How will the additions on offense perform? The Yankees looked at the list of top free agents this winter and basically said ‘we’ll take ‘em all.’ Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran now slot into a lineup that already held Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano. On paper they look stacked, but how will they fare when the games actually count? The Red Sox showed last year that tossing a team together through free agency can win a title, and the Yankees have certainly done it before. With a new mix of players, however, you never know until they actually take the field.

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    A-rod is fighting MLB’s decision so he will be available for the season unless a final decision is made, right?

    I think they should have signed a closer. That keeps Robertson as their main setup man and backup if closer struggles.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 24, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      No, Alex Rodriguez will not be available unless he gets an injunction from a federal court (unlikely). The MLB-MLBPA system has run its course and Mr. Rodriguez lost.

      Regarding the Yankees, their infield is — in my mind, at least — suspect. Last year:
      — Mark Teixeira started 14 games at 1B;
      — Brian Roberts started 60 games at 2B (after missing much of 2010, 2011, and 2012);
      — Derek Jeter started 13 games at SS; and
      — Kelly Johnson started 12 games at 3B (although he did play other positions).

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 24, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        Good to know, Thanks. I do remember reading that A-Rod is planning to show up at spring training facility.

        I agree about their infield and injuries in general. Ellsbury is injury-prone as well. Lot could go wrong with their everyday lineup.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 24, 2014 at 7:29 PM

        On Mr. Rodriguez attending Spring Training, the way I read it — don’t recall where, but something reputable — was that he can (i.e., he’s not barred from it), but the expectation was that other players (maybe Derek Jeter?) would likely discourage him from turning ST into a circus by appearing.

  2. Section 222 - Jan 24, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Thanks to flnatsfan for the link to the Sports on Earth piece about the best rotations in baseball. (Nats ranked No. 2 behind the Dodgers.) Here it is again.
    http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/67048822/

    Now here’s Hardball Talk with a piece about the best 1-2 combinations at the top of the rotation.
    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/22/ranking-the-best-1-2-rotation-punches-in-baseball/
    Stras and Gio rank 4th after Kershaw-Greinke, Verlander-Scherzer (or maybe Scherzer-Verlander), and Lee-Hamels. The piece also notes that you could substitution JZnn or Fister for Gio and the Nats would still make the top 5.

    Can’t really argue with either ranking I don’t think. And I’m just fine with having a better overall rotation than 1-2 punch. Boy, have we come a long way since 2008 when our rotation was John Lannan, Tim Redding, Odalis Perez, Jason Bergmann, and Collin Ballester/Shawn Hill. No wonder we lost 102 games that year!

  3. masterfishkeeper - Jan 24, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    SI offseason report card for the Nats. The author thinks, as many do here, that Espinosa and Storen are likely to be moved:

    http://mlb.si.com/2014/01/24/winter-report-card-washington-nationals-2/

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jan 24, 2014 at 7:23 PM

      Interesting; thanks for that link.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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