Projecting the New York Yankees 2014 Batting Order

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Projecting the New York Yankees 2014 Batting Order
Al Bello/Getty Images
This offseason's changes should help Joe Girardi to forget the disappointment of 2013.

With the large amount of turnover the New York Yankees are experiencing this offseason, general manager Brian Cashman is continuing to piece together the 2014 version of the club.  As he does so, the batting order that skipper Joe Girardi writes down on his lineup card for Opening Day gradually becomes clearer.

This article will attempt to project the 2014 lineup given what we already know and keeping in mind that, even as it is being written, personnel changes may be occurring.  Case in point, an industry source via Eduardo A. Encina and Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun reports Tuesday that the Yankees have signed 36-year-old second baseman Brian Roberts. 

For the purposes of our endeavor, we will assume Roberts will be wearing pinstripes next April and playing second base.

So, what does Girardi have to work with?  The additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran give him additional speed (Ellsbury) and power that lengthens the lineup far beyond the 2013 version.

Last season the Opening Day lineup looked like this:

 

Gardner CF

Nunez SS

Cano 2B

Youkilis 1B

Wells LF

Francisco DH

Suzuki RF

Nix 3B

Cervelli C

 

Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Derek Jeter will be a welcome return to the Yankees lineup

Gone are Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis, Ben Francisco and Jayson Nix.  Eduardo Nunez will be relegated to work off the bench as Derek Jeter returns, and the additions of Ellsbury, Beltran and McCann mean that Francisco Cervelli, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells will be seated right beside him.

Mark Teixeira also returns in 2014, and Alfonso Soriano remains on the squad after being acquired last summer.  Both give the team a boost in the power department.

In all likelihood, Jeter will move into the designated hitter role for at least a couple of games each week.  When he does, Brendan Ryan will man the shortstop position.  Much will depend upon the recuperation of Jeter's ankle. 

Another "wild card" that will affect the Yankees' lineup in 2014 is whether or not Alex Rodriguez's suspension is upheld for the alleged use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) and involvement with Biogenesis.  If he does, look for newly acquired Kelly Johnson or Nunez to occupy the hot corner.

Joe Girardi likes to match up his lineup for right-handed and left-handed opposing pitchers.  A version that one might see against the right-handed hurlers (with Jeter at SS and A-Rod serving suspension) is:

 

Ellsbury CF

Jeter SS

Beltran RF

Teixeira 1B

McCann C

Soriano DH

Johnson 3B

Roberts 2B

Gardner LF

 

Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Will A-Rod be in the Yankees lineup in 2014?

The key spots in this lineup are occupied by left-handed hitters or switch-hitters (Teixeira, Beltran and Roberts) while giving the team speed at both ends (Ellsbury and Gardner).  By having right-handed hitters occupying the other spots in the order, the team would absorb a pitching change to a southpaw.

When the team faces a left-handed starter, one possible version of the lineup is (again, making the assumption that Rodriguez is serving some sort of suspension):

 

Ellsbury CF

Jeter SS

Beltran RF

Soriano DH

Teixeira 1B

McCann C

Johnson 3B

Roberts 2B

Gardner LF

 

The only real change here is moving Soriano into the cleanup spot to protect Beltran and bumping Teixeira and McCann down. 

Winslow Townson/Getty Images
Brian Roberts is the Yankees most recent signing and immediately will be slotted into the second base role

As mentioned, the status of Alex Rodriguez makes a dramatic difference to the lineup the Yankees bring to the table.  If he manages to avoid a suspension, his presence not only lengthens the lineup, but it also provides valuable depth on the bench. 

Here is what the order against right-handed hurlers might look with A-Rod in it:

 

Ellsbury CF

Jeter SS

Beltran RF

Teixeira 1B

McCann C

Rodriguez 3B

Soriano DH

Roberts 2B

Gardner LF

 

The order becomes much more imposing to an opponent.  Girardi's options for in-game replacements include moving Suzuki into Soriano's spot, Johnson in for Roberts or A-Rod and Ryan for either Jeter or Roberts. 

Against a left-handed starter, the lineup with Rodriguez in it takes an even more dramatic change:

 

Ellsbury CF

Jeter SS

Rodriguez 3B

Beltran RF

Teixeira 1B

McCann C

Soriano DH

Roberts 2B

Gardner LF

 

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
With Cano gone and Rodriguez's status up in the air, Kelly Johnson has become an important acquisition for the Yankees

Again, this lineup features the flexibility for Girardi to successfully manipulate the order in the event of a pitching change.  On the bench will be left-handed hitters Suzuki and Johnson.  Between the two of them the DH, third base, second base and outfield positions are available for in-game swaps.

Even though the team has lost its most potent bat in Robinson Cano, the players that the Yankees have acquired this offseason already ensure a better offensive lineup will open the 2014 season.

As noted, Cashman is not yet done putting together the final version of the roster.  What he has accomplished to this point gives Joe Girardi the weapons he'll need to once again strike fear into opposing pitchers. 

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