COMMENTARY | To paraphrase former Boston Celtics coach-general manager Rick Pitino, Nick Swisher won’t be walking through that door. Raul Ibanez won’t be walking through that door. Neither will Russell Martin or Eric Chavez.
It is a very different looking New York Yankees club that will take the field on April 1 against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium than the one that was swept out of the American League Championship Series last October by the Detroit Tigers.
The Yankees lost the four aforementioned players in free agency this winter, as well as reserve outfielder Andruw Jones, who signed to play in Japan. In all, 101 of the team’s club-record 245 home runs will be wearing other uniforms or playing on another continent in 2013.
But that’s not all: Curtis Granderson, who was second in the American League with 43 home runs a year ago, is out until at least May after breaking his arm on Sunday, Feb. 24, and Alex Rodriguez is out until at least the All-Star break after January hip surgery. Rodriguez hit 18 round-trippers a season ago.
Shortstop Derek Jeter is still rehabilitating after having surgery on his broken left ankle in October, but told the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger on Friday, Feb. 22 he plans to be ready for Opening Day. Closer Mariano Rivera missed most of 2012 after injuring his knee in a freak accident while shagging fly balls during batting practice in early May, but he is throwing and should be available for the start of the season.
Here’s a look at the 2013 New York Yankees:
ACQUIRED: DH Travis Hafner (signed as free agent from Cleveland Indians), P Shawn Kelley (trade with Seattle Mariners), P Hiroki Kuroda (re-signed as free agent), P Andy Pettitte (re-signed as free agent), P Mariano Rivera (re-signed as free agent), OF Ichiro Suzuki (resigned-as free agent), 3B Kevin Youkilis (signed as free agent from Chicago White Sox).
DEPARTED: IF Eric Chavez (signed with Arizona Diamondbacks), P Freddy Garcia (signed minor-league deal with San Diego Padres), OF Raul Ibanez (signed with Seattle Mariners), OF Andruw Jones (signed to play in Japan), P Derek Lowe (unsigned), C Russell Martin (signed with Pittsburgh Pirates), P Rafael Soriano (signed with Washington Nationals), OF Nick Swisher (signed with Cleveland Indians).
NOTABLE NON-ROSTER INVITEES: OF Matt Diaz (formerly with Atlanta Braves), P David Herndon (claimed off waivers from Toronto Blue Jays), IF Jayson Nix (re-signed to minor-league contract), OF Juan Rivera (formerly with Los Angeles Dodgers), IF Gil Velazquez (formerly with Miami Marlins), C Bobby Wilson (formerly with Los Angeles Angels).
LAST YEAR: 95-67, 1st place American League East; defeated Baltimore Orioles in AL Division Series, 3-2; lost to Detroit Tigers in AL Championship Series, 4-0.
PROJECTED PAYROLL: $210 million (per Yahoo! Sports).
PROJECTED OPENING-DAY BATTING ORDER: Ichiro Suzuki, rf; Derek Jeter, ss; Robinson Cano, 2b; Mark Teixeira, 1b; Kevin Youkilis, 3b; Travis Hafner (vs. RHP)/Eduardo Nunez (vs. LHP), dh; Juan Rivera, lf; Francisco Cervelli, c; Brett Gardner, cf.
TOP PROSPECTS: None who are major-league ready but list includes OF Mason Williams, C Gary Sanchez, OF Slade Heathcott, OF Tyler Austin, P Manny Banuelos.
PROJECTED STARTING ROTATION: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova/David Phelps.
PROJECTED BULLPEN: Mariano Rivera, closer; David Robertson, setup; Joba Chamberlain, setup; Boone Logan, left-handed specialist; Clay Rapada, left-handed specialist; David Aardsma, middle relief; Nova/Phelps, long relief.
Phil Watson is a freelance sports journalist and commentator currently based in upper Michigan.