2013 was a very unorthodox year for the New York Yankees organization and its loyal fan base. Injuries to star players and controversy surrounding star third baseman Alex Rodriguez were the theme all season. Through it all manager Joe Girardi kept the guys up beat and made club house a positive atmosphere, although they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and second time in 19 years; the team finished a respectable 85-77 coming in third place in the always challenging AL East. When arch rival Boston Red Sox eventually defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and the offseason began people all over baseball where just waiting for the Yankees to respond.
The Front Office lead by well respected general manager Brian Cashman was reportedly trying to stay below a $189 million dollar threshold to avoid a huge luxury tax bill. With that being said fans assumed the Yankees wouldn’t be as much a factor for big name free agents as in the past. After resigning manager Joe Girardi to a well deserved new four year contract in October the fans were left anxious for the next move. The team was desperate for a new catcher as well as a another power bat and in early December made a huge splash by signing All Star catcher Brian McCann to a five year contract worth $85 million; this move surprised many around the MLB. Where the Yankees about to disregard their $189 million limit and go back to being the big spenders we’re accustomed to? Just a few days later two time World Series champion, MLB All Star and most importantly former Boston Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury signed a seven year deal worth over $150 million with the New York Yankees. It was now clear that the Yankees were all in for 2014. Who was next tho?
In between these two big acquisitions the team lost superstar second baseman Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners who signed Cano to a very lucrative 10 year $240 million deal and All Star Curtis Granderson to the cross-town rival Mets. The team decided to look elsewhere and signed veteran second baseman and former Baltimore Oriole Brian Roberts to replace Cano. The franchise known as The Evil Empire still wasn’t finished renovating the roster, later in December All Star Carlos Beltran was signed. December was a very busy month for the Yankees; fans were ecstatic and looking forward to 2014. In late January the team agreed to a seven year $155 million deal with the 25 year old Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka after he was courted by about 10 MLB teams. The roster was taking shape fast.
As we come closer to the report date for pitchers and catchers, Yankee everywhere fans are very anxious to see their revamped team take the field. With Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira now in full health after both went through an injury plagued 2013 campaign this team looks like a serious contender and rightfully so. Although Cano and Granderson left town, well technically not Granderson he’s just in a few miles away in Queens this team looks as complete as ever. Fans are hoping ace starting pitcher CC Sabathia returns to form after a disappointing 2013. He will be accompanied by the always reliable Hiroki Kuroda, young stud Ivan Nova and the Japanese phenomenon Tanaka in the starting rotation. We can’t forget that 2013 meant the end for future Hall of Famers Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera who both hung up their cleats leaving Derek Jeter as the only member of the “Core Four” left; they will definitely be missed both on and off the field. Can Dave Robertson fill Mariano’s closer role? Will this team live up to the hype? We will find out rather sooner than later as all players report to spring training in less than two weeks. The Yankees start off 2014 in Houston vs. the Astros on March 31st. The 2014 season will definitely be an exciting one for all MLB fans.