Pop quiz: on Opening Day 2013 whom did New York Yankees supervisor Joe Girardi pencil in because the designated hitter in his lineup? Don’t cheat. Don’t go to Baseball-Reference or Retrosheets. Attempt to consider the answer your self.
Are you on your 18th guess?
The right reply is … (the immortal) Ben Francisco.
Brian Cashman isn’t about to enter 2014 going through an analogous state of affairs. Much like the last time the Yankees missed out on the playoffs in 2008, the Bombers are spending big cash to restock and reload their roster. In mild of the signings of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran together with Robinson Cano’s surprising departure to Seattle, New York is taking a look at nearly a entirely totally different opening day lineup from 2013 to 2014.
Assuming CC Sabathia gets the ball because the beginning pitcher, the one different holdover from April would possibly be outfielder Brett Gardner, if he isn’t traded. That is considerably of a quirk for the reason that Yankees began 2013 with 4 key players on the disabled checklist: Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.
This was the lineup Girardi wrote to face the Purple Sox on April 1, 2013:
- Brett Gardner, CF
- Eduardo Nunez, SS
- Robinson Cano, 2B
- Kevin Youkilis, 1B
- Vernon Wells, LF
- Ben Francisco, DH
- Ichiro, RF
- Jayson Nix, 3B
- Francisco Cervelli, C
Let’s examine to a hypothetical April 1, 2014 lineup when the Yankees open up in Houston to play the Astros.
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Derek Jeter, SS
- Mark Teixeira, 1B
- Carlos Beltran, RF
- Alfonso Soriano, DH
- Brian McCann, C
- Kelly Johnson, 2B
- Brendan Ryan, 3B (maybe A-Rod?)
- Brett Gardner, LF
Some sort of agency resolution in A-Rod’s pending suspension makes the state of affairs rather a lot clearer. It’s onerous to see Ryan — signed as Jeter insurance — playing third regularly, which might open up more at-bats for Nunez.
There’s also the difficulty of age, which you’ll hear about ad infinitum as we zero in on Spring Coaching. The common age of the 9 gamers listed above is 33.5 — it bumps up to over 34 if Rodriguez is included. This doesn’t factor in a pitching employees with Sabathia (33) and Hiroki Kuroda (39) or reserve outfielders Vernon Wells (35) and Ichiro (forty).
The age challenge is likely to be overblown, however in the case of the Yankees it could’t be fully glossed over, mainly for the reason that team is heading into 2014 with a 40-yr-previous shortstop, who’s a sure-fireplace first-poll Halll of Famer, but additionally coming off injuries that restricted him to sixty three at bats in 2013. Anticipate the Yankees DH spot to be handed round like a blunt at a Snoop Lion concert.
Whichever way you want to have a look at it, the Yankees are going to feel and look like a completely new team come Spring Training after free company and gamers returning from injury. Even with all these changes, the largest difference the Yankees are going to face in 2014 is the ninth inning when somebody else, probably David Robertson, is tasked to close out the sport somewhat than incomparable Mariano Rivera.
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