After just missing making the playoffs for the 2013 season, the success of the 2014 New York Yankees is going to depend on five keys.
1. Health: The 2014 New York Yankees must stay healthy in order to make it to the playoffs. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner have to stay off the disabled list. The Yankees need Jeter for his leadership, Teixeira for his power, and Gardner for his speed.
2. Re-sign Joe Girardi: The Yankees can not allow Joe Girardi to sign with another team for 2014. Girardi has proven he can handle managing in the Bronx. He did a tremendous job managing a team full of injuries and somehow kept the Yankees in it until the final home game of 2013. For the first “meaningless” game to be played with four games left in the season is a remarkable accomplishment. With every injury that occurred, Girardi “rolled with the punches” and focused on finding another player to fill the void.
3. David Robertson’s New Role as Closer: Mariano Rivera’s retirement has left a tremendous void in the bullpen. The Yankees proved in 2012, when Rivera injured himself shagging batting practice flyballs, that they could survive without him. Unfortunately, in 2014, the Yankees are going to need to do more than just “survive” if they want to get back into the playoffs. Clearly, it’s a tough act to follow, but David Robertson seems to be the most logical choice to take over as the “closer.” How well he settles into the new role, will be a key factor in the success of the 2014 Yankees.
4. Re-sign Robinson Cano: The Yankees must re-sign Robinson Cano. Cano may not hustle all the time to first base when he hits, but his ability to turn a double play is vital to the Yankees’ defense. Cano makes every double play look effortless. Obviously, Cano’s power is another reason the 2014 Yankees need him back. His 100 RBI ability is difficult to replace.
5. CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova: The Yankees pitching rotation is crucial to helping the Yankees reach the playoffs. Sabathia needs to return to his “old” form. After a disappointing 2013 season, hopefully Sabathia and his coaches will be spending the off-season figuring out what went wrong this season. If Ivan Nova comes into Spring Training with the confidence that he finished the 2013 season with, he will be on the right track to having a great year. He can not afford to falter mid-season and be sent down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre again, he must keep moving forward.
It will definitely be a busy off-season for the New York Yankees as they begin their quest to reach the 2014 playoffs. These five keys are absolutely crucial to getting back to the postseason.