With Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira coming back, and the addition of Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury, what are they thinking? How could the Yankees not shatter their 2013 win total with everything that happened to the club last year?
Sure, Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera are gone. But Cano´s lack of hustle will not be missed. And David Robertson is ready to step up. Maybe he won´t match Rivera´s production in the first half of last season, but he should close out games at the same rate that Rivera did in the second half, when Mo started to battle fatigue.
And not to pick on Phil Hughes, but if you take his record off of last year´s team, the Yankees would have been in it right down to the wire. Sometimes addition comes from subtraction.
With Michael Pineda and Vidal Nuno, who showed great promise before going down, the pitching will surprise many. Let me ask you this, don´t you believe in your heart that CC Sabathia will find a way to turn it around? With Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda, Sabathia and either Ivan Nova or Pineda, the Yankees finally have the four starters that are necessary to battle top flight pitchers in the post-season.
And if David Phelps stays healthy and settles in as a starter, instead of bouncing back and forth to the bullpen, the Yankees also have depth in the rotation. Enough to carry them through the regular season.
All of this and the Yankees still won´t surpass last year´s record? This isn´t the first time Las Vegas has underestimated New York teams, either. It started with the Amazin´ Mets and Joe Willie Namath. When Willis Reed came hobbling out of the dressing room against the Lakers, the Knicks didn´t get any respect from the odds-makers.
So call the men in the white coats. Load those gurus in the wagon and haul them away. Because this year the Yankees are going all the way.