After a disappointing 2013 campaign left the New York Yankees short of competing in the postseason, they were forced to witness their division rivals, the Boston Red Sox, win the World Series. The organization and General Manager Brian Cashman are focused on not allowing history to repeat itself during the 2014 season. Let’s take a look at some of the player acquisitions the organization made during this off-season to correct their flaws and get them back to their winning ways.
Brian McCann — catcher. A longtime Atlanta Brave, McCann is now making the transition to the American league and the Big Apple. His signing may be one of the less publicized of the off-season, but without a doubt is one of the best moves the team made. They desperately needed to solidify a man behind the plate. Last season, Yankee catchers combined for a 2.13 batting average, combined with only 43 RBIs and a mere 8 home runs.
Jacoby Ellsbury — center field. Arriving from rival Boston, this speedster has a career .297 batting average and is dependable when put to the test. He batted .304 in 2013 with runners in scoring position, a category in which the Yankees desperately needed improvement. Former center fielder Curtis Granderson left for the Mets, making Ellsbury a crucial addition to bolster an aging New York outfield.
Carlos Beltran — outfield. After winning the NL pennant last year with the St. Louis Cardinals, Beltran was signed in an attempt to solidify the center of the Yankees’ lineup. He has demonstrated a switch hitting prowess that Manager Joe Girardi struggled without last season. A downfall of past seasons was the sluggish performance of Yankees stars in the clutch during the postseason. This is where Beltran can significantly help the club. If the Yanks reach the postseason in 2014, Beltran will add a dimension that will be a significant improvement, as he carries a career .333 batting average over the 10 postseasons in which he has performed.
Masahiro Tanaka — pitcher. Transitioning from Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka can give New York the second star pitcher they have been seeking to pair with C.C. Sabathia. Tanaka was a superstar pitcher in Japan. His stardom won’t be any less in America if he can recreate a portion of his 2013 success, as he went 24–0 boasting a 1.27 ERA. Tanaka has the highest upside of any MLB off-season pitching acquisition.
Other key signings for the team include second baseman Brian Roberts, utility player Kelly Johnson, and set-up pitcher Matt Thornton. Also re-signed are two key players: pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, and shortstop Brendan Ryan (who played in only 17 games with the Yanks last season after being acquired from Seattle). Ryan may well be the future at the position, with the recent news that Derek Jeter’s retirement will follow the 2014 campaign.