Rodriguez potentially out for the season after surgery.
Injuries and free agency have ravaged the New York Yankees roster.
The team lost Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin and others after a terrible postseason appearance.
During an interview with WFAN radio, General Manager Brian Cashman stated there is a possibility that Alex Rodriguez will miss the entire season due to the surgery he underwent to repair the torn labrum and impingement in his left hip.
Cashman will face difficult decisions this season in order to field the championship-caliber team the organization is accustomed to, while staying below the self-imposed payroll limit of $189 million.
Youkilis signs with Yankees, replaces Rodriguez.
After news broke of Alex Rodriguez’s surgery and potential return late in the season, if at all, the Yankees signed former Boston Red Sox third basemen Kevin Youkilis to a one-year $12 million contract, according to the New York Times.
The Yankees expect the former rival to fill the void of one of the best hitters in the game with his power and ability to get on base, but one ongoing problem is Youkilis’ tendency to get injured.
He has never played a full season (162 games) in the majors and has not played 145 games since the 2008 season.
With Eduardo Nunez projected to play shortstop for an injured Derek Jeter, offensive and defensive production will suffer if Youkilis goes down to injury.
Cashman should consider signing a backup third baseman free agent like Brandon Inge, in case Youkilis misses anytime.
Cervelli projected to start at catcher.
With the New York Daily News reporting that Russell Martin agreed to a two-year, $17 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Yankees are now lacking veteran leadership at the catcher position.
Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and Chris Stewart are the three catchers on the Yankee’s active roster. The three catchers combined for five home runs, 71 RBI, and 60 runs, while hitting .271, .158, and .217 respectively.
Also, the three catchers have played a combined 341 games in the majors, or a few games past two full seasons. The inexperience, combined with performing on a big stage like New York, can be overwhelming.
Pitching will be more important, now that Rodriguez will not be available to provide his stellar defense at third base and offensive power. Finding the right catcher soon is crucial, especially to give him time to build chemistry with the pitching staff.
Ichiro will play right field full time.
The Yankees watched as three productive outfielders, Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Andrew Jones, left the team as free agents. The Yankees have successfully re-signed Ichiro for two-years and $12 million to replace the fan-favorite Swisher in right field, according to the New York Post.
With the small market for free-agent outfielders, Cashman will either have to trade or call up prospects.
It is still too early to call up any top outfield prospects. Yankees top outfield prospect Mason Williams still needs to develop in Class A and will not be ready for this season.
A potential trading partner may be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Their signing of Josh Hamilton has crowded their outfield, and trading one piece to solve another need sounds ideal.
Rivera needs help in the bullpen.
With the loss of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera still recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee, the Yankees bullpen will need to add new members to the cavalry.
The Yankees bullpen had a solid performance in 2012, ranking in the top five in saves, fewest blown saves and fewest amount of losses, among other categories, but there is room for improvement. The bullpen earned a 3.43 ERA, good enough for 14th in the league and 15th in opponent batting average.
The good news for Yankee fans is that Michael Pineda is recovering from surgery to his pitching shoulder and can potentially return to the mound this season. Pineda will most likely be added to the bullpen, since the starting rotation is set.
Yankees need to get young in a hurry.
With Rodriguez (37 years old) and Jeter (38 years old) both injured and approaching retirement, Cashman needs to take the proactive approach to develop or acquire young talent soon, before the Yankees field the Old-Timer’s Day game with active players.
According to ESPN MLB Roster Analysis, the Yankees have the third oldest roster in the league, with Mariano Rivera being the oldest player in the league at 43 years old.
With the organization’s goal to lower payroll under $189 million and current players with large contracts on the roster, it will be difficult for the Yankees to acquire players or even sign their own.
Robinson Cano is a free agent at the end of the 2013 season and is reportedly seeking to max out his contract, according to the New York Post.
Brian Cashman will need to work his magic to field a competitive team on a budget.