The 2013 Yankees, no doubt, will be an old team. The infield, which has been the foundation around which the entire team has been built over the past seasons, averages over 34 years of age. It's two most celebrated members, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, are 38 and 37, respectively.
While age may be a state of mind for those of us in the real world, it is far more than that to an athlete. It is, in many cases, the primary barometer with which to gauge the very state of their careers.
In the cases of Jeter and Rodriguez, both of whom will be entering 2013 with concerns about their health, age is the one constant thread found in virtually any discussion that involves their projected performance.
The end for each of these athletes is near, if not contractually in the case of Rodriguez then certainly in terms of the role he will play with the team in 2013 and beyond. Jeter, who somehow has defied the inevitable effects of age, is inked through 2013 with an $8M player option for 2014. In other words, Jeter will be around after 2013 whether the Yankees like it or not.
As for the remainder of the team, there will certainly be pieces from the 2013 team competing for the 2014 roster. 1B Mark Teixeira is a definite, as he is signed for what seems like another eon or so, and 2B Robinson Cano projects to be a Yankee as well. This presumes, of course, that he decides to sign with the team after the 2013 season, when he becomes a very attractive free agent for any and all bidders.
C Russell Martin, if there are in fact baseball gods, will ideally have moved on by the 2014 season, although Yankee GM Brian Cashman and Yankee Manager Joe Girardi may still be so fascinated with his defensive skills that they continue to ignore the fact that he has morphed into a significant offensive liability, 20 or so HR's per year or not.
LF Brett Gardner will likely still have a job with the team, although he may be the center fielder as soon as 2013 if certain reports are accurate. Regardless of where he plays, though, he will either still be going year by year contractually or perhaps will have signed a multi-year deal prior to the 2014 season.
Other than Eduardo Nunez, then, that's the grand sum of players on the current roster that project to be a part of the 2014 version of the big club. By 2015, when we likely remove Jeter from the equation, yet another spot opens up.
With all of this in mind, we thought it would be interesting to project what the 2015 version of the Bombers might look like if the organization decided to hold on to some of their more promising youngsters.
These are the Yankees of course, and so the likelihood of this happening is beyond remote, however the names that follow offer a glimpse into what it might be like if the Yankees could operate like other franchises, such as the Kansas City Royals, for instance, and field a team made up of the fruits of their scouting labor.