2014 Outlook: New York Yankees

2014 Outlook: New York Yankees
January 24, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Matt Williams talks baseball's offseason with Brian Mitchell

2013 record: 85-77, 3rd place in AL East
Manager: Joe Girardi, 7th season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $196 million
Key additions: OF Jacoby Ellsbury, C Brian McCann, SP Masahiro Tanaka, OF Carlos Beltran
Key losses: SP Phil Hughes, OF Vernon Wells, 3B Alex Rodriguez (technically)

Projected lineup
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Derek Jeter
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
DH Alfonso Soriano
LF Brett Gardner
3B Kelly Johnson
2B Brian Roberts

Projected rotation
LHP C.C. Sabathia
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
RHP Ivan Nova
RHP David Phelps

Top relievers
CL David Robertson
RHP Shawn Kelley
LHP Matt Thornton

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. How good will Tanaka be? It took months for Masahiro Tanaka to find a team, and in the end he found a destination we all could have predicted. Now Tanaka will slot into a Yankees rotation that already has C.C. Sabathia and Huroki Kuroda at the top. Tanaka was sensational in Japan, but will that success translate overseas? If Tanaka can be anywhere close to as good as he was with the Rakuten Golden Eagles (24-0, 1.27 ERA in 2013), the Yankees should be right back in the mix as contenders. And even if he isn't, have you seen their lineup?

[RELATED: Can Jayson Werth have another MVP-caliber season?]

2. Will Teixeira bounce back? Injuries limited first baseman Mark Teixeira to just 15 games in 2013, by far his worst professional season. He turns 34 in early April and hasn't played more than 125 games since 2011. If healthy though, Teixeira has the potential to be the best player in the Yankees' lineup. If he returns to his old form of Gold Glove defense and 30+ home runs, the rest of the Yanks' lineup could fall into place quite nicely.

3. How will the additions on offense perform? The Yankees looked at the list of top free agents this winter and basically said 'we'll take 'em all.' Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran now slot into a lineup that already held Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano. On paper they look stacked, but how will they fare when the games actually count? The Red Sox showed last year that tossing a team together through free agency can win a title, and the Yankees have certainly done it before. With a new mix of players, however, you never know until they actually take the field.

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