Yankees 2014: #28 straight ahead?

YankeeslogoStrumings are published every Wednesday, so this is a “special” weekend Struming. Those who don’t share my passion for the Yankees can quickly delete this post. But the wisest readers will continue….

Baseball season begins anew and hope for another Yankees Championship is real. The Yankees have reloaded in 2014, but to be fair, losing Cano was a setback and disappointing. Obviously the Yankees are now far weaker at second base. But overall they’ve added serious talent in Beltran, McCann, Ellsbury, a full season of Soriano and (hopefully) a healthy Teixeira and Jeter. They now have a much stronger line-up, top to bottom. What a difference a year makes!

In the rotation Tanaka looks like the real deal and Pineda may prove to be the talent they traded for 2 years ago. Obviously no Mo hurts, emotionally and talent wise. Though I think Robertson will be a good, if not great closer, I am worried about the 7th and 8th inning relievers.

Clearly the Yankees are a team in transition. With Jeter’s retirement at season-end the “core Four” will all be gone. A-Rod is also gone for the year (and forever?). The Yankees have some age elsewhere as well. Soriano and Ichiro, now relegated to a bench player, will be gone after this season, and Brian Roberts is a DL visit waiting to happen. Kuroda is an old starter, though I expect at least a good final season as well. CC is a question mark. He’s 33 but with lots of mileage. Can he morph into a top starter with less overpowering, but still effective, stuff? Hope so. At age 33 with 205 wins, he has 90 more wins than losses, and he remains the current major league pitcher with the best chance of reaching 300 wins. But it remains to be seen how the next few years will unfold.

But looking to the future, it’s easy to see a 2015 staff with (then) 26 year olds Tanaka and Pineda, 28 year olds Nova and Phelps, along with hopefully at least a solid CC. Not too shabby. It looks to me as if starting pitching will be the Yankees strength, a great place to  build from.

The Yankees weakness has been their inability to develop younger players, which can form the base for teams to come. The lack of under 25 talent is worrisome, though they do have a few possible gems on the horizon. Time will tell. On the other hand, the Yankees have been willing to spend aggressively to augment their team and the loss of draft choices necessary to sign top free agents exacerbates the dearth of young talent issue.

jetertrophyWhile there are obvious areas of concern and injuries are always a wild card for every team, the Yankees begin the season largely healthy and I do think 2014 can be a magical season. I have great hope that Jeter’s final season will end with him holding the World Championship trophy. Couldn’t ask for a better ending (I pray).

Play ball.

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