The first thing that you need to know about the 2014 Yankees is how they rank among the top teams in baseball. The team had a great year overall, but there were a few standouts that really stood out. Let’s take a look at some of these players and how they performed in 2014.
The rotation: While Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and Masahiro Tanaka all retired at the end of last season, the Yankees’ starting rotation was excellent last year. The Yankees designated Eduardo Nunez as an assignment and promoted Yangervis Sunde a day before a Minute Maid Park game. In the starting lineup, the team will likely rely on CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, and Hiroki Kuroda.
The Yankees were able add several years worth talent to their roster by signing multiple international free agents. If they had been forced to split the signing period into three signing periods, the team would have been limited to signing just one or two top players each. The Yankees were able to aggressively and quickly blitz the market and land all the top free agents.
As for the pitching staff, the Yankees restocked their bullpen, but made one of their biggest additions this winter. Their top priority was upgrading their catching position. They had only two catchers who could hit eight home runs in 2013. The Yankees landed Brian McCann on a five-year, $85 million contract. Mark Teixeira was also injured in his wrist and missed the 2013 season. The catcher’s production has declined significantly since the 2008 season.
If Jeter doesn’t return to form, the Yankees will have to find a replacement for him and find a way to fill the DH spot. While A-Rod and Jed Lowrie could step in, they’ll also need to find a way to fill that position with someone. They could also consider signing J.J. Hardy, who could potentially replace Jeter. But the Yankees may be tempted to trade him to make room for another position.
Dermis Garcia, signed for $3 million on July 2. The young Venezuelan outfielder has unmatched raw power among the 2014 draft class. With a 6-foot-3 frame and an average speed, Garcia has a righthanded stroke that has a lot of loft. He also worked alongside Miguel Sano, Moreno Tejada’s trainer. He’s far from being a major-league starter.
The Yankees also signed Hyo Joon Park for $2.25 million on July 2. The 19-year old had a successful season in the Dominican Prospect League under Pulaski and has the tools to make Yankees proud. His plus power and polished skills made him stand out among Latin American players last year. He is also a fast, twitchy athlete with an above-average speed. Although he had some growing pains during the Appy, his power has impressed the Yankees.