Thursday, March 28, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days: New York Yankees

This is what the 2013 season will look like for the Yankees.
2012 Record: 95-67 (1st AL East)

The tides are turning in the AL East, and the fall of the Yankee Empire is at the top of it. All great dynasty's must come to an end, and with the Yankee ownership deciding that they want to save around $45M a year by getting under the $189M tax line by 2014, it looks as if the 16 or so year dynasty has finally come to an end. Hampered by years of free spending and trading away of top minor league talent to be in constant win-now mode has left the Yankees scrambling to put a suitable team on the field in 2013 due to injuries and old age. The farm system is middle of the pack, and it doesn't look like it will be developing any more Derek Jeter's and Mariano Rivera's for a while. With the Jays,Rays, and Orioles all looking at bright futures, the Yankees are going to have to start retooling for another incredible 20 years of baseball, unfortunately for fans of the Bronx Bombers, it is going to get worse, a lot worse, before it gets better. On to the preview!

*Note that since spring training is ending, the rosters have been set, so for the last 3 previews, I'll be writing something else instead of the "Spring Training Battles" section.

Key Additions
DH Travis Hafner (1 year $2M)
1B Dan Johnson ( MILB Deal)...(LOL Yankees)
C Bobby Wilson (MILB Deal)
1B Lyle Overbay (MILB Deal)
3B/1B Kevin Youkilis (1 year $12M)
OF Vernon Wells (Trade w/ LAA)
OF Ben Francisco (MILB Deal)

Key Losses
3B Eric Chavez (1 year $3M w/ARI)
SP Freddy Garcia (MILB Deal w/SD)
OF Raul Ibanez (1 year $2.75M w/SEA)
SP Derek Lowe (MILB Deal w/TEX)
SS Russell Martin (2 years $17M w/PIT)
CL Rafael Soriano (2 years $14M w/WAS w/ a club option for $14M in 2015)
OF Nick Swisher (4 years $56M w/CLE w/ a vesting $14M club option in 2017)

Acquisition that will help the most
I hate writing this section when the team doesn't acquire anybody who will help them, but, I guess I'm
"Lived long enough to become the villain"
stuck writing about Youkilis. The veteran corner infielder can get hit by a pitch with the best of them, but aside from that ability to get on base, he doesn't provide much. He is very injury prone, never playing more than 150 games in his 9 year career, and only topping 140 3 times. His BB% and K% have both been going the wrong direction for the past couple of seasons, making the $12M given to him by the Yankees quite puzzling. He's old, has had decreasing WAR's since 2008, and his defense is starting to dip below average. For an injury crippled Yankee squad, he could play a big role, but I think it's more likely we see the aging former Red Sox(sock?) on the DL joining the likes of A-Roid and Mark Teixeira before June. I just can't see him staying healthy, and I really don't like this contract for the Yanks. There were better ways to spend $12M.

When can the Yankees realistically expect to compete again?
That's a great question, and the answer has to be 2014, doesn't it? Maybe not. The Yankees currently have over $84M committed to the 2014 payroll, but that number is only allocated to 5 players. They have 11 players heading to free agency next year(10 because Mariano is retiring), 2 of which are Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. Cano and Grandy will likely require huge commitments, probably upwards of $40M a year to keep both of them. That already put's the payroll over $120M, and only 7 players controlled. That leaves the Yankees around $70M to play with, for at least 18 players. It won't be an easy task for them to fill out the roster with players that could help them compete with that amount of money, especially since their farm system is weak which makes the trade front almost non-existent. Will a core of Tex,Cano,Grandy,C.C, and A-Roid be enough to support a weak cast around them? Probably not. If I am Brian Cashman, I'm trading Grandy/Cano this summer for close to the majors prospects, and then building around them via Free Agency for 2015 or 2016. It will be a close call to go for it again in 2014, especially with the stacked Jays, young and reloaded Rays, and developing Orioles, not to mention the Red Sox who could decide to go all in again with the blink of an eye.

Questions Heading into the Season

Will the offense be able to stay afloat until Grandy and Tex come back?
Just look at all the former Jays they have. Of course this team is going to have trouble scoring runs for the first two months or so.

Will the rotation hold up?
Insert Sabathia fat joke here.
Probably. CC Sabathia is a reliable number 1(although wouldn't it be hilarious if he went down for an extended period of time as well...), and Kuroda and Pettitte should be able to hold down the fort at the 2 and 3 spots. Behind that it gets a bit iffy with Nova and Phelps, but for back end guys, they are good enough. A mid-season return from Michael Pineda could be very helpful for the Yankees if they plan on making a late season push, but I might just want to make sure he's 100% for 2014, and just concede this season(I'm a jays fan though,so yeah). If they get really desperate for pitching, they can always just trade away any prospects they have(Gary Sanchez, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Mason Williams ect...) at the deadline for rentals, but that's not happening. I mean if it does happen, that would be great(as a jays fan). Basically, their pitching should be OK if they don't lose a couple of guys to injuries.

Will ownership decide to suck it up, and pay the extra $45M a year to keep this team competing forever?
Nope. I mean it would be quite hilarious if they do go back on their word and start spending again, but I think they are actually going to try and get under $189M for 2014, and stay that way for a while.

Prospect Who Could Have an Impact
Mark Montgomery is not a Yankees top prospect. He's around #10 on most publications, and he's only a reliever. But, he's the only Yankees top 10 Prospect who has a chance of coming up this year and contributing. He throws a low 90's fastball mixed with a slider that is up there with the best of them, at a  70 grade. It has a ton of movement on it, and will be the pitch that makes him one of the premier late inning guys in the near future. He has to have success in AAA before getting the call to the show first, but it shouldn't be hard for the 5"11 205 lbs righty to make the jump to the bigs.

Projected Roster

Projected Starting Lineup
1 CF Brett Gardner*  
2 RF Ichiro Suzuki*  
3 2B Robinson Cano*  
4 3B Kevin Youkilis  
5 DH Travis Hafner*  
6 LF Brennan Boesch*  vs RHP  
7 SS Eduardo Nunez  
8 1B Lyle Overbay*  
9 Chris Stewart  Out of Options 

Projected Bench
Francisco Cervelli  Out of Options 
IF/OF Jayson Nix  
OF Ben Francisco  MLB 
OF Vernon Wells  vs LHP  

Projected Starting Rotation
1 LHP CC Sabathia  
2 RHP Hiroki Kuroda  
3 LHP Andy Pettitte  
4 RHP Ivan Nova  
5 RHP David Phelps  

Projected Bullpen
CL RHP Mariano Rivera  
SU RHP David Robertson  
SU LHP Boone Logan  
MID RHP Joba Chamberlain  
MID RHP David Aardsma  
MID RHP Shawn Kelley  
LR LHP Vidal Nuno  

Projected Disabled List
LHP Cesar Cabral  + FRACTURED ELBOW (March 2011); placed on 60-Day DL (3/26/13) 
OF Curtis Granderson*  + FRACTURED FOREARM; out 10 weeks (2/24/13) 
RHP Phil Hughes  + BULGING DISC IN BACK; doubtful for start of season 
1B Dan Johnson*  
SS Derek Jeter  + RECOVERY FROM ANKLE SURGERY; questionable for start of season 
3B Alex Rodriguez  + HIP SURGERY; out until at least June; placed on 60-Day DL (2/13/13) 
RHP Michael Pineda  + SHOULDER SURGERY on 5/1/12; placed on 60-Day DL (3/15/13) 
LHP Clay Rapada  Out of Options + SHOULDER BURSITIS; doubtful for start of season  
1B Mark Teixeira**  + STRAINED TENDON IN WRIST (3/6/13); likely out 8-10 weeks 

^That disabled list!

Projected 2013 record: 86-76 (3rd AL East)

These projections were made well before everybody got injured, so don't take that record as anything resembling what should happen. Expect the Yanks to win anywhere between 70-80 wins. .500 would be a miracle for this club in my opinion. They have too many injuries to compete, and they are too old to make up for them. Enjoy this Yankee futileness while it lasts, because I don't suspect it will last very long.

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