NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – What can we expect of the Yankees in 2013?
Well the offseason isn’t over yet, but for the first time since the mid-1990s, many baseball pundits are predicting that the 27-time World Series champions won’t make the playoffs.
General Manager Brian Cashman kept the pitching staff strong this offseason by re-signing starters Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte and legendary closer Mariano Rivera.
But the Bronx Bombers also lost plenty of power to free agency.
Nick Swisher — who hit 24 dingers last season — signed a lucrative deal with the Indians, and Raul Ibanez (19 homers), Russell Martin (21 homers) and Eric Chavez (16 homers) also left New York to sign elsewhere. Even Andruw Jones, who left the Bronx for Japan, belted 14 blasts off the bench.
And to top it all off, Alex Rodriguez — who isn’t expected to undergo hip surgery until the middle of January at the earliest — will miss a significant amount of time in 2013. A-Rod drilled 18 home runs in 122 games in 2012.
So where will all the power come from?
Cashman is cautioning fans to expect a significant drop-off.
“I know a lot of people have told me they think home runs are bad,” Cashman told the New York Post. “I’m not one of them. Well, those people are going to get a chance to see what it looks like.”
The defending American League East champions depended heavily on the long ball last season, and have ever since they moved into the new Yankee Stadium. New York led the majors in home runs last season with 245, 31 more than the Orioles, who finished second.
The Yankees’ made just one splash this offseason to bolster their offense, signing Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract. But the former Red Sox hero, who went deep 19 times last season, isn’t much of a power threat.
The Yanks might have to start finding new ways to score runs, relying on small ball and situational hitting.
“We lost Swisher and Ichiro [Suzuki] doesn’t hit homers like Nick,” Cashman said. “And we haven’t replaced Martin’s power. Hopefully, we won’t lose that much with Youkilis replacing Alex at third, but we’ll lose some.”
Despite the organization’s low-key offseason thus far, Cashman is confident that his arms will keep the Yankees in the hunt in the ultra-competitive AL East.
“I do believe power is big in an offense, and we lost a lot of home runs, but our pitching is stronger,” Cashman said. “You play in a certain sandbox, and that sandbox isn’t producing a lot of choices right now for power guys.”
What do you make of the Yankees’ offense? Are they in trouble with all of that power missing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…