The New York Yankees are coming off of a year in which they set the franchise record for most home runs in a single season with 245, good for eight-best all-time in Major League history. Almost 50 percent of the Yankees runs, 48.4 percent, came from the home run. Now, the Yankees are entering 2013 with many of those home runs missing from the lineup leaving many to wonder how they will score runs this season.
Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez, who hit a combined 80 home runs last season, all signed elsewhere this off-season. Andruw Jones and his 14 home runs went overseas. Alex Rodriguez and his 18 home runs will start the year on the disabled list and will be out until at least July, if he comes back at all after his second hip surgery in five years. Curtis Granderson, the Yankees leading home run hitter with 43, will be out until Mid-May after breaking his forearm. Without adding Granderson to the equation, the Yankees were entering the year needing to make up for the loss of 112 home runs from their lineup.
To replace the production, the Yankees are mostly relying on in-house options. Ichiro Suzuki will take over for Swisher in right field. Ichiro hit five home runs last season. Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart have nine combined home runs and will replace Martin behind the plate. Juan Rivera or Matt Diaz, who hit a combined 11 home runs last year, will try to replace Jones. Travis Hafner, who hit 12 home runs in 2012, will replace Ibanez at DH. The Yankees also signed Kevin Youkilis to essentially replace Eric Chavez and Alex Rodriguez until, or if, the latter comes back.
The Yankees will need to hope that Mark Teixeira is fully healthy after dealing with nagging calf injuries that caused him to miss 39 games. Teixeira is coming off of his lowest home run output of his career so a rebound should not be much of an issue if he can stay healthy. The Yankees will also be counting on Derek Jeter to continue to defy Father Time and for Robinson Cano to rebound after a dreadful showing in the playoffs which was the worst slump of his career.
Yes, there are tons of questions for the Yankees heading into the 2013 season and there is a very good chance that the Yankees will not even eclipse the 200 home run mark this season and could struggle to get to 175. The Yankees will be relying on other means to score runs.
There is plenty of speed with Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter and even from Curtis Granderson and Eduardo Nunez. While only Gardner is considered a prolific base-stealer, the others do offer some production on the bases. The team should be helped out by the new rule which prohibits a pitcher from faking to third and throwing to first so Gardner should see more chances to steal this season.
It will take time for Yankees fans to grow accustomed to the new style of play. However, the Yankees should still be good on defense, still feature good pitching, and should be able to manufacture runs instead of depend on the home run. The Yankees do have a lot of question marks but let’s face it, not one person thought the San Francisco Giants would be able to win a World Series with their offense last season either. There is a reason they play the games.