Some Things To Look Forward To In 2014

We are just mere days away from the Yankees’ first game of the season and what better way to celebrate the start of the 2014 campaign than to highlight some of the players, milestones and events we have to look forward to during the next seven months.

Jeter’s Farewell
After a long and storied Yankee career, Derek Jeter is calling it quits after 2014 which means this will be your last chance to see the Captain up close and personal. The last home game of the regular season, September 25, is a very hot ticket, with some clowns attempting to sell their Delta Suite tickets for $244,202.00. That is not a typo. But don’t worry, you can get some standing room only seats in the outfield upper deck for $175-180!

If you don’t want to wait until that day to see Jeter, you should have plenty of time to do it.

Jeter is starting the season with 3,316 hits. Some names he could possibly pass on the all-time hits list include: Paul Molitor, Carl Yastrzemski, Honus Wagner and Cap Anson. (He will need 120 hits to pass Anson who is at 3,435.)

Tanaka’s U.S. Canadian Debut

Sure, Masahiro Tanaka has pitched in some Spring Training games and has looked pretty good but how will he do when he’s starting a game that counts? We’ll find out next week when he makes his first start of the season in Toronto. Joe Girardi slotted him into the fourth spot in the rotation behind CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.

Pineda’s Return. Well, Actually, His Yankees Debut

The fifth member of the starting rotation is Michael Pineda who has missed two seasons due to shoulder surgery. He has looked great in Spring Training and having Michael Pineda as your fifth starter is a pretty good problem to have. Hopefully he stays healthy and puts together a nice 2014 for himself.

The New Guys

After missing the playoffs for only the second time since 1993, the Yankees found themselves in a bit of a quandary. Do they stick to their $189M budget or do they break the bank and spend like a lottery winner unleashed inside of a fancy department store?

They went with the fancy department store scenario with one big exception: Robinson Cano.

Instead of signing Cano, the Yankees let him go to Seattle where he’ll be making $240M, and they signed Jacoby Ellsbury for $153M, Brian McCann for $85M and Carlos Beltran for $45M. Add Tanaka’s $155M and that’s a whole lotta dough being doled out for the next few years.

How will they do? Who knows? I’m not psychic but if Spring Training is any indication, McCann will hit the ball hard and to rightfield all the time like the left handed pull hitter that he is and he’ll work well with the pitching staff, Ellsbury will do what he always does: hit and run and hopefully not get injured, and Beltran will hit home runs, maybe 20 or so and he will hit them far.

Slim and Trim Sabathia

Last season Sabathia had his worst season to date. He had career highs in ERA (4.78), home runs (he gave up 28), his ERA+ was 85 (league average is 100) and he just wasn’t himself. This year Sabathia showed up to camp looking noticeably different though claiming he only lost 40 lbs and while his much talked about velocity still isn’t quite Sabathia-like in speed – his high is 92 mph but he’s mostly hovering around the 88-91 mark – he has pitched well this spring: He’s given up 13 hits, struck out 16, and walked three in 21 innings pitched which works out to a 1.29 ERA and 0.762 WHIP.

So will this year be a rebound year for the former big man or are his spring numbers just a mirage masking a steep decline that began in 2012 and looks to continue throughout 2014? Stay tuned.

Teixeira’s Wrist

Will Mark Teixeira‘s wrist hold together? Will it fall apart? Will Teixeira play a full season? Will he have another injury shortened season? Teixeira has been popping the ball up with a reckless abandon in Spring Training, so it seems like he’s back to normal.

He only played in 15 games last season so once we hit the 16-game mark, it will be like the no smoking sign turning off in Say Anything. Okay, maybe not.

UPDATE 10:10 A.M.: Just saw this making the rounds. The original source is the New York Post but it was posted on Rotoworld:

“I’m just trying to protect it,’’ said Teixeira, who is batting .091 this spring. “Taking your ‘A’ swing, taking that swing that is 100 percent and I need to trust that I can do that and not feel pain. I need to finish my swing instead of protecting my wrist. Last year, to protect my wrist, I didn’t finish my swing.’’ The good news is that Teixeira says the wrist is “is feeling good, it’s getting stronger.”

[Editor's note: Oy. Forget everything I just wrote about Tex and his wrist - Stacey]

Some Important Dates
April 1 – Opening Day
April 7 – Home opener
April 29 – Robinson Cano returns to Yankee Stadium
May 30 – Phil Hughes returns to Yankee Stadium
June 16 – June 20 – HOPE Week
June 26 – Derek Jeter‘s 40th birthday (The Yankees have an off day so go crazy Derek!)
July 2 – Lou Gehrig Bobblehead Day – The Yankees will not be home for July 4th so they’re honoring the 75th anniversary of Gehrig’s retirement two days prior.
July 4 – The 75th Anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s retirement – The Yankees will be in Minnesota and the Twins will be honoring Gehrig by also giving away bobbleheads.
July 15 – All Star Game in Minnesota
August 4 – Joba Chamberlain returns to Yankee Stadium
September 25 – Derek Jeter’s last home game (regular season)
September 28 – Derek Jeter’s last regular season game

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money, co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast and is a monthly contributor to ESPN's SweetSpot Blog. She is a former contributor at Aerys Sports and High Heat Stats. She has contributed to group projects at Baseball: Past And Present and the Hall of Stats. Her work has appeared in USA Today's Sports Weekly and most recently, she wrote four pieces for Derek Jeter: Celebrating the Yankees' Captain Clutch, a magazine printed by i5 Publishing.

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