As the Yankees enter camp for the 2013 season, the expectations seem a little different than in seasons past. The first thing you notice about this year's team, is a lack of power production, with the loss of several players who combined for over 100 home runs last season, the Yankees look to be transitioning from a power hitting team to more of a small ball club. With aging veterans returning from season ending injuries and one of the oldest payrolls in baseball, the Yankees have their work cut out for them.
The Yankee front office seemed poised for a quiet winter, with no key off season acquisitions. They did however manage to resign, Rivera, Kuroda and Ichiro, as Hal Steinbrenner likes to point out. The Yankees have signed basically everyone to a 1 year deal, including former Boston Red sox third baseman, Kevin Youkillis, who will replace an injured Arod, probably for the entire season. The front office looks to be using 2013 as a stop gap, in order to get to 2014season. Where, the Yankees would like to get payroll below the magic number of $189 million.
Once again, Yankee spring training has become a circus. The Captain is in the mist of returning, for what could be his last year in pinstripes. Jeter's surgically repaired ankle has recently taken front stage again. What was initially a bone bruise became a stress fracture and then, the gruesome injury we watched occur in the post season. Could this have been prevented if properly diagnosed? Jeter will recover, but will it be in time to show the front office he should still occupy his place at shortstop for 2014, or do they lean toward a less expensive, error prone Nunez?
Arod and several other current and former Yankees have found themselves right in the middle of what is being called the east coast Balco scandal. All names take a back seat to Arod, when PED's are mentioned. This is yet another black eye for Arod and the people responsible for bringing him back with an absurd contract. The Yankees will definitely be doing some maneuvering behind the scenes to distance themselves from the once great slugger and try to sidestep paying him the remainder of the contract.
The injury bug has bitten the Yankees, yet again. This time, the starting center fielder, Curtis Granderson goes down with a broken forearm that will cost him 10 weeks. This makes the outfield situation very interesting. Does the front office throw one of the youngsters to the wolves, or do they sign an aging player to the veteran minimum. Johnny Damon? As much, as the front office bean counters want to cut payroll, while still maintaining a championship ball club, the Arod albatross around their neck will have to be dealt with, in one way or another.
The lone bright spot going into this season has to be the pitching. If healthy, C.C. and the rest of the rotation should be able to keep New York in contention for the division lead. Providing, they get the run support from this newly remodeled lineup, the Yankees should be able to hold their own in baseball's toughest division.
Stay with Yankee Roll Call throughout the season, as we watch the bombers chase #28.