Crazy things happen when the Yankees miss the playoffs and the Red Sox win the World Series.
Although the Bombers spent a combined $283 million on lineup reinforcements — signing center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, catcher Brian McCann and right fielder Carlos Beltran — there are still some question marks heading into tonight’s season opener in Houston.
The Yanks lost their best hitter when second baseman Robinson Cano sailed to the Mariners for $240 million, and they have replaced him with 36-year-old Brian Roberts. Roberts hit .248 with 15 home runs and 78 RBIs over his last four seasons with the Orioles, totaling just 192 games. By comparison, Cano hit .314 with 27 homers and 107 RBIs in 160 games last season.
It doesn’t get much better at third base, either, thanks to Alex Rodriguez’s yearlong suspension. Replacement Kelly Johnson has hit a combined .226 over his last three seasons, with three different teams.
But all is well because the captain is back, right? After injuries held Derek Jeter to only 17 games last season, he looks healthy heading into the final season of his illustrious career. Healthy doesn’t necessarily equate to productive, however. Jeter’s health, productivity and range are legitimate concerns until he proves otherwise.
Another Yankee making a return is slugger Mark Teixeira, who played in 15 games last season and had less than 20 homers for the first time in his career. Although his batting average is a mediocre .260 during his Yankee career and he turns 34 on April 11, he should provide good power numbers from the middle of the order.
Beltran, on the other hand, has enjoyed a career-resurgence after escaping the doldrums of Flushing in 2011. He batted .296 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs in 2013 for the Cardinals. If he stays healthy, the veteran switch-hitter should translate nicely to Yankee Stadium and take advantage of the short porch in right field, as should the lefty McCann, who hit 20-plus homers in seven of his eight seasons with the Braves.
This lineup looks very good on paper, but health is the main concern, as many of these players are injury-prone. The Yanks are loaded with great players who can help them win when they are on the field — but how often that will be remains to be seen.