Five Things The Yankees Must Do For 2013
Five Needs For 2013
While the New York Yankees are currently still playing in the postseason, it is never too early to look at what they need for next year. This year's team was far from perfect, and there are many things that can be changed or fixed for next year. Many problems haunted the Yankees for much of this season, and it is imperative that those problems do not follow them into next season. While some problems can not be avoided - such as injuries to important players - most problems can be. Problems such as hitting with runners in scoring position, or being able to score late in games should have never happened in the first place. Many fans will be quick to criticize the decisions of a manager or to jump on a player, and with good reason. Many of the problems that the Yankees had were fixable, and could have been fixed with a simple change in the starting lineup, a different choice of players in certain situations, the list goes on and on. However, these are the five things that must happen in the offseason and in the weeks leading up to the 2013 regular season if the Yankees want to contend in what is sure to be an even more powerful, dangerous, and scary AL East – especially considering that other teams in the division are going to make changes as well, and most likely be even better than they were this past season.
So without further ado, let us begin...
There is no arguing the fact that young players bring energy to a ball club. They are excited to be playing in the big leagues, and they want to win. Considering the fact that the Yankees are one of the oldest teams in baseball with an average age of around 31, a youth movement may help them in the long run.
Players such as Eduardo Nunez, Fransisco Cervelli, and Chris Dickerson have been able to show that they belong with the club when they received playing time in September. They added a spark to the team that was not there for a while, and it paid off. Nunez - although still shaky in the field - was able to provide a potent bat in the lineup, perfect as a DH or a pinch hitter. You could tell that he was excited to be back in the Bronx. His efforts did not go unnoticed, as he was put on the postseason roster.
Some other players that the Yankees may want to take a closer look at next Spring Training are people like Ronnier Mustelier, Chase Whitley, Zoilo Almonte, Pat Venditte, and Corban Joseph. All of whom succeeded down in AAA and AA over the past few seasons and are awaiting their shot at making the big league team.
While a full-fledged youth movement is not necessary, just having some young guys as reserves will really help the Yankees.
Re-Sign Russell Martin
When you look at Russell Martin's batting average from this past season, it may make you want to gag. He hit just .211 as the Yankees primary catcher. That is certainly not an average that anybody would like to have.
However, Martin has been better than his average. He has been excellent on defense behind the plate, and he knows how to call a good game. He has also hit the ball on the screws over the last month of the season, and was constantly one of the Yankees most clutch hitters. He has been able to come up with the big hits whenever it was necessary. Surely the Yankees do not want someone like that to just walk away. In 2013, the Yankees need Martin back, and I do not think that his average will be as poor again, as he really ran into some tough luck in 2012.
It seems as though the Yankees are adamant about lowering the payroll to $189 million by 2014. If that really is the case, then it is unlikely that Nick Swisher fits into their plans. A free agent after this season, Swisher will most likely command a contract that the Yankees do not want to pay. His attitude can easily lighten up any clubhouse, and he has been a fan favorite since coming to the team. But without Swisher, the Yankees would be in need of another right fielder.
Enter Ichiro Suzuki.
Since coming over to the Yankees at the end of July, Ichiro has been on fire. He has hit .322 with the Yankees, and has most certainly resurrected his career. Ichiro has also been quoted as saying that he, "has not had this much fun playing baseball in a long time." The Yankees and Ichiro are perfect for each other. He has proven that he still can be the Ichiro of old. He provides versatility in the outfield and in the lineup. He can get hits and get on base at a rapid rate, and can run the bases like he always has been able to. He will most likely command a much smaller contract than Swisher, and it is imperative that the Yankees do not let him walk away.
Stop Relying On Long Ball
The Bronx Bombers really lived up to their nickname this past season, hitting a team high 245 homeruns. They relied on the homerun to win ballgames, and that just can not happen. One of the biggest culprits of this mentality was Curtis Granderson, who hit 43 homeruns but struck out 195 times. He was unable to come up with a big hit when the Yankees needed it late in ballgames. The Yankees need to rely more on hits, and playing some more small ball. If a homerun happens to come along, great. But the Yankees looked terrible this past season whenever a player was unable to hit one out. In September, the Yankees did play a lot more small ball, and it did pay off. Imagine what it would be like if they did that for an entire season.
Try To Find A Suitor For Rodriguez
This one may seem the most out of reach. Alex Rodriguez is no longer the player that he used to be. He has had trouble staying healthy, and his bat has seemingly lost power. He is no more than a glorified singles hitter now.
The question is though, what team would even want to take on Rodriguez's contract? Many people will say that there is no team in baseball who would want to take on that much money, and they may be right. However, if the Los Angeles Dodgers could take the contracts of Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford, then there is a possibility that some team may want to take A-Rod.
Is it unlikely? Yes. Is it something that the Yankees need to do? Not really.
If the Yankees are unable to find a suitor for A-Rod, then the least they can do is bat him lower in the order. Maybe in the #6 or #7 spot, the perfect place for a singles hitter like Rodriguez who could get a hold of one every now and then.Follow Hunter Farman on Twitter here