Robinson Cano was the Yankees' best offensive performer in 2013 and it was not even close. He hit .314/.383/.516 for a wOBA of .384. Of players with 250 plate appearances, only Brett Gardner and Cano had a wRC+ over 100 (which is average). The Yankees have already made two major moves in signing Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. They are also hoping for the returns of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, a full season from Alfonso Soriano, and perhaps a full season from Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees' offense was terrible last year. Making up for the loss of Cano will not be enough; they need to improve on top of that in order to field a contending team in 2014.
Here's the potential lineup if the season started tomorrow:
Derek Jeter - SS
Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
Mark Teixeira -1B
Brian McCann - C
Alex Rodriguez - 3B
Alfonso Soriano - DH
Kelly Johnson - 2B
Ichiro Suzuki - RF
Overall, that lineup is decent and probably an improvement over 2013. Gone are Jayson Nix, Travis Hafner, Chris Stewart, and Lyle Overbay. For the most part, they have been replaced with competent players. Johnson fits in well as the eighth-place hitter. The only real hole is Ichiro, and he hits ninth.
The lineup does have some problems. It is an aging lineup full of injury risks. The average age is 34.7 and not a single player will be under 30. Jeter will likely need a lot of time at designated hitter, moving Brendan Ryan into the lineup. On those days Soriano moves to the outfield and sends Ichiro to the bench. If A-Rod does not play, the bottom of the lineup looks pretty bad with Johnson moving over to third base, someone not yet on the team at second base, and Ichiro still manning right field.
The second base market is not great with Omar Infante the only legitimate player remaining. Brandon Phillips is a trade option. The Yankees could revisit Chase Headley talks with the Padres. Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, and Nelson Cruz are the best available outfielders, but will not come cheaply. The Yankees clearly have money left even if they are on a budget. If they want an improved offense next year, they are going to need to at least one significant piece with a secondary addition likely necessary in an aging, injury prone lineup.
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