With the retirement of Andy Pettitte, the New York Yankees' fabled "Core Four" is now a "Core Three," which isn't nearly as catchy.
The Yankees locked up shortstop Derek Jeter for another four years and closer Mariano Rivera for another two, but Jorge Posada, who will serve as the team's primary DH this season as the Yankees move him away from full-time catching duties, is likely entering his final season with the team.
By this time next year, the Yankees could be down to a "Core Two" of Rivera and Jeter.
Yesterday, someone asked me who I thought the next "Core Four" would be. That's a tricky question, the reason being that the "Core" is called such because that group was together for almost their entire careers and during that time won five world championships.
To think about who will make up the next "Core," I decided not to include Jeter or Rivera, despite the fact that both will most likely finish their careers with the Yankees. The next "Core" will have to be four entirely new, homegrown players.
The problem with finding the next "Core Four" is that the Yankees have a very deep farm system, full of great pitching and great depth at catcher, but issues in the starting rotation for the upcoming season could cause them to deal some of that talent away. With that, we don't know who will stay in the system long enough to be called up, let alone stay in the bigs long enough to win multiple titles.
That said, it's still interesting to muse about the next group of players to make up a "Core Four," so let's take a look at the possible candidates.
Now, simply because the original group was comprised of a shortstop, a pitcher, a catcher and a reliever doesn't mean I'm going to stick to that same outline. The next "Core" can be any four guys.