Bomber Bites With Jumping Joe–Yankees Getting Younger By Default
The Yankees have been built on veterans and experienced players for decades. Their roster construction has been based upon free agents with few impact players coming up through the system. Because of this emphasis on free agents and multi year contracts, the Yankees perennially field a team full of guys on the wrong side of 30, and sometimes 40. But despite GM Brian Cashman’s best efforts at fielding a team more likely to be an AARP member than an All Star, the Yankees are getting younger.
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In 2013, the Yankees had the oldest man in the majors, Mariano Rivera, and the oldest starting pitcher in the majors, Andy Pettite. Both have since retired. In 2014, the Yankees had the oldest shortstop in the history of major league baseball, Derek Jeter, who retired at the end of the season. They also a 40 year old right fielder, Ichiro Suzuki, and their top starter, Hiroki Kuroda was 39 years old. Both are free agents and not expected to re-sign with the club. Alfonso Soriano (38) was released mid-season and Matt Thornton (38) was traded at the deadline. This leaves Alex Rodriguez (39) and Carlos Beltran (37) as only two players over 34 under contract for 2015.
Mandatory Credit: Chad R. MacDonald.
The roster for next season is far from set. The Yankees will almost certainly be adding a veterans via free agency and Cashman may have a trade or two up his sleeve. However, other than Victor Martinez, none of the expected Yankee targets are nearly as old as the players they will be replacing. The Yankees are expected to make offers to their mid-season pickup of Brandon McCarthy (31) and Chase Headley (30). In addition, the Bombers may be players for the “Big Three” free agent pitchers Jon Lester (30), James Shields (32) and Max Scherzer (30). None of the above will greatly increase the average age of the team.
The Yankee lineup next season will still not feature anyone under 30. However, the Yankees have a young talented bullpen with only Shawn Kelley (30) over thirty, although, if resigned, David Robertson will also be 30 next season. The starting staff is also made up of young players with Masahiro Tanaka (25), Michael Pineda (25), Shane Greene (25), and after he returns from Tommy John surgery Ivan Nova (27). The end result of this youth movement by default, could be that the Yankees could feature their first team with an average age under 30 in years.