In recent years, the Yankees have made a habit of filling out the lineup card with players who would be considered old in baseball years. This is substantiated by the folks at Baseball-Reference, who quantify the age of a team's everyday lineup by averaging the age of every player who received at least one at bat for the team during the season and weighting it by the total number of games and at bats for each player. According to that metric, the Yankees haven't fielded a team with an average age younger than 30 since 1993. They've also been one of the five oldest teams in Major League Baseball every year since 2004, and since 2000, they've deployed nine of the ten oldest teams in franchise history.
This past season, Yankee batters had a weighted average age of 32.5, good enough for second oldest in franchise history behind only the 2012 squad, who averaged 32.7 years old. With few minor leaguers ready to make an impact in 2015, does this team have a chance to blow those geezers out of the water? In order to determine that, a few assumptions need to be made about next year.
First, we'll need to determine who the regular contributors will be. They currently have seven starters and two bench players under contract at the major league level for next year. That means we'll need to make reasonable guesses as to how they'll fill two starting positions and two bench spots. At shortstop, they'll likely sign somebody out of the Asdrubal Cabrera, Stephen Drew, Jed Lowrie, and Hanley Ramirez quartet. Two of those guys are 31 and the average age of the four is also 31 so it's safe to assume that their shortstop will be 31 next year. At third base, all signs point to Chase Headley returning, and for the remaining bench spots let's say they bring back a veteran in Chris Young and give a young guy a shot in Jose Pirela. In order to estimate the weights for each player, let's also assume that the starters will each play 130 games and get 600 at bats while the bench players will each play 40 games with 150 at bats. With this rough outline, let's see what that team's age would look like:
|Weighted Average Age||32.7|
This scenario would place the 2015 Yankees in a tie with the 2012 team for the oldest in franchise history. That's quite an accomplishment, but this regime can do better than that. If instead of retaining Chris Young they decide to sign a cheaper veteran fourth outfielder such as 36-year old Ryan Ludwick, who would bump the average age up to 32.9 and make them the undisputed geriatric kings of Yankee Universe. On the flip side, they could opt to promote from within and give the 24-year old Rob Refsnyder a chance. That would bring the average age down to 32.6 and give them sole possession of second place. No matter how you slice it, this team will be at least as old last year's dud of a squad; let's just hope the results are a little better this time around.