NEW YORK (WFAN) — We all know the cold, hard facts.
The Yankees, who suffered countless injuries last season, missed the playoffs in 2013 for just the second time in 19 years. Their archrivals, the Boston Red Sox, then went on to win the World Series in what was an incredibly disappointing season.
Well it’s a new year, a new season. Injured stars Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Michael Pineda are back and healthy. And though the losses of Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez hurt, there are a ton of new faces — including several superstars — who should help the Bombers return to the postseason.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman knows that his current team’s talent level is far superior to that of last year’s. But as is usually the case, the executive is staying on an even keel and not getting ahead of himself.
“I’m always thinking the worst, as I think it’s best to be trained as a GM to think the worst and hope for the best,” the general manager told WFAN host Mike Francesa on Tuesday afternoon. “I think, at worst, this is a playoff-contending team. I think this roster is a playoff-contending roster. But I do think there’s a lot of teams that can say the same things. I have a lot of optimism, a lot of hope.”
The Yankees went all out this offseason, exceeding fans’ financial expectations. The club spent an astounding $471 million on starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, right fielder Carlos Beltran, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (re-signed), catcher Brian McCann, reliever Andrew Bailey, second baseman Kelly Johnson, second baseman Brian Roberts, shortstop Brendan Ryan (re-signed) and reliever Matt Thornton.
The Yanks will open their season on Tuesday night against the lowly Astros at 7:10 p.m. ET in Houston. Despite playing in the very difficult American League East, they have been picked by many to take home the division title.
“I know our players are excited to get going, to show what they can do and try to impact that win column on a daily basis,” Cashman told Francesa. “I think our fans should be excited because … I would disagree that the Yankees have fallen off. I think last year was a unique situation. But I do think that Hal Steinbrenner and his family have continued to provide a team that’s worth paying attention to on a yearly basis.”
NOTES: The Yankees have designated shortstop Eduardo Núñez for assignment to create space on the 40-man roster for second baseman Yangervis Solarte.
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