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2013 Fantasy outlooks: New York Yankees

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Chris Stewart at catcher? Travis Hafner at DH? What is this?

It's those penny-pinching Yankees again, who at long last have decided that $189 million is quite enough to spend on a baseball team.

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

OK, so there's more to it than that. If they're over the $189 million mark in 2014, they'll have to pay a whole heap of luxury taxes they don't want to pay.

Hence, the penny pinching. While $189 million would go a long way for most clubs, it doesn't stretch quite as far when one-sixth of it is already committed to Alex Rodriguez, who'll spend at least half the season recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip (and likely won't perform up to half his pay once he returns). The Yankees have turned to former sworn enemy Kevin Youkilis to replace him, not that he has a whole lot left in the tank himself.

The Yankees are also likely feeling some buyer's remorse on Mark Teixeira, whose three consecutive seasons of .250-ish batting averages give him little hope of rebounding in his age-33 season. His decline hasn't been as dramatic as Rodriguez's or Youkilis', but it has made him a perpetual disappointment among Yankees fans and Fantasy owners.

The Yankees' rotation should be fine, provided ancient ones Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte hold up for a full six months. So far, that hasn't been a problem for Kuroda, so a repeat of the last three seasons is likely. Ace CC Sabathia dealt with some arm trouble for the first time in recent memory last year, but coming off a strong finish to the regular season followed by a clean-up procedure in October, he should be as good as new come opening day.

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Derek Jeter SS
2. Ichiro Suzuki RF
3. Robinson Cano 2B
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Curtis Granderson CF
6. Kevin Youkilis 3B
7. Travis Hafner DH
8. Chris Stewart C
9. Brett Gardner LF
Bench Eduardo Nunez INF/OF
Bench Matt Diaz OF

Because the Yankees can't just throw money at their problems anymore, they offer more opportunities than usual for relative unknowns. Whichever of Ivan Nova and David Phelps claims the final rotation spot will be a sleeper for strikeouts and wins, and now that Rafael Soriano has moved on, the only insurance for 43-year-old closer Mariano Rivera in his first year back from ACL surgery is setup sensation David Robertson. Take note, AL-only owners.

Injury-risk sleeper ... Brett Gardner, outfield

Gardner has been a sleeper before, but coming off a year in which he accumulated only 31 at-bats because of an elbow injury, never has the hype on him been lower than now. And yet never has the Yankees' dependence on him been higher than now. In the past, he was sort of the misfit of their star-studded lineup -- a scrappy type who'd work the count and steal a base but wouldn't put the ball over the fence. For that reason, he was often the odd man out, getting benched in certain scenarios to give at-bats to some other deserving misfit. Now, though, with the Yankees having to resort to more second-tier players to keep their payroll down, Gardner is poised to become a mainstay. With more at-bats, some of the fluctuation we've seen with his batting average in the past could easily disappear. If he reaches base 38 percent of the time, as he did as recently as 2010, 40-plus steals and 90-plus runs scored are on the lower end of what you can expect.

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. CC Sabathia LHP
2. Hiroki Kuroda RHP
3. Andy Pettitte LHP
4. Phil Hughes RHP
5. Ivan Nova RHP
ALT David Phelps RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Mariano Rivera RHP
2. David Robertson RHP
3. Boone Logan LHP
4. David Aardsma RHP
5. Joba Chamberlain RHP

Buyer beware ... Curtis Granderson, outfield

You may have heard Granderson followed up his breakthrough 2011 campaign with a down year last year -- down, as if it was simply the result of natural fluctuation. But what if the reason was more scientific than that -- biological, even? He'll be 32 before opening day, so he's no spring chicken. Not only did he strike out a career-high 195 times last year, but his swing-and-miss rate was by far his highest in six years, even on pitches in the strike zone, which could indicate his bat is slowing down and explain why his numbers took a nasty turn in the second half. Of course, he may have just been slumping. He did keep homering during that stretch, after all. Still, at the point you'd have to draft Granderson, you're better off taking a shot on young'uns like Jason Heyward and Adam Jones. If you wanted a .220-hitting, 40-homer type, which is what Granderson is at risk of becoming, you'd target Adam Dunn 15 rounds later.

Sleeper ... Eduardo Nunez, shortstop

Let's face it: The Yankees are old. Between Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, their projected opening day lineup features five players 32 or older. Those old guys will all need time off and the DH spot is the perfect way to give it to them. You didn't think Travis Hafner would play every day, did you? General manager Brian Cashman has said all offseason that the only place Nunez's bat profiles for full-time duty is at shortstop. Of course, he's also said the 25-year-old could make the team as a utility player, perhaps as the designated fill-in for whichever geezer happens to need a breather that day. Granted, Nunez may lose that role if and when Alex Rodriguez returns from hip surgery, but as a shortstop-eligible player, the 30-plus steals he's capable of contributing with 350-400 at-bats make him well worth the gamble in deeper Rotisserie leagues. And if Jeter's return from offseason ankle surgery doesn't go as hoped, owners in 12-team leagues will want to take notice as well.

Prospects Report

Outfield is the position of strength in the Yankees' farm system right now, with Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin all profiling as impact players in the majors. Having already advanced to Double-A late last year, Austin probably has the best chances of contributing in the majors this year, but Williams and Heathcott are perceived to have more upside because of their athleticism. Williams is the one most likely to be drafted in long-term keeper leagues. ... The Yankees lack catching talent at the major-league level, but in Gary Sanchez they have a future middle-of-the-order bat at the position. He won't reach the majors this year, but you'll want him stashed in long-term keeper leagues for whenever he does. ... Pitching-wise, the best the Yankees' farm system has to offer is Jose Campos, who missed most of last season with elbow inflammation. He's still far away at age 20, though. Manuel Banuelos is closer, but he's in the earliest stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery and has had trouble locating his pitches in the upper levels of the minors.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Santana fine after throwing bullpen session; winter-league status is TBD
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(11:55 am ET) Free agent starting pitcher Johan Santana threw a bullpen session Sunday and is said to be feeling fine, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. It is now up to his Venezuelan winter league team to decide if he will pitch for them in the finals.

Santana has been dealing with some shoulder discomfort, which has put his status for the remainder of the winter-league season in doubt. Santana is hoping to latch on with another major-league team after suffering a torn Achilles in June.

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“I took a more of an aggressive approach in the postseason,” Carpenter said, per STLBaseballWeekly.com. “Part of that was from the experience that I had gathered the year before. After a long season, going into the playoffs I felt like I wasn’t as prepared as I felt like I could’ve been. It kind of snowballed and my approach and the way I took the regular season at-bat in the postseason it wasn’t playing out well.”

Carpenter said his postseason success could have a positive impact on his power numbers in 2015.

"Certainly, I’m always going to be a guy who’s patient at the plate, but that was a good learning experience for me -- being aggressive," he said. "I don’t remember the exact numbers but out of the four home runs I hit, I think three of them were on the first pitch. That’s something typically I don’t do a lot of, and it was a good learning experience.”


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(10:48 am ET) Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander said last week this is the best he's felt physically approaching the start of spring training in at least three years.

Apparently, the optimism doesn't end with Verlander. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated the Tigers are expecting big things from Verlander in 2015 after he posted a 4.54 ERA in 2014, failing to make the All-Star team for the first time in six seasons.

"Justin Verlander is as prime a pitcher as there is in the game of baseball," Dombrowski said, per the Detroit Free Press. "Last year, he was not the traditional Justin. But when you look at what he came back from with the surgery, I think he's going to go out and have a real big season for us."


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(10:47 am ET) Dealing with sleep apnea almost caused Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli to retire prematurely from baseball, reports the Boston Globe.

"I couldn't do it anymore, feeling the way I was feeling," Napoli said. "I was like, 'I need to have the surgery or I'm not going play anymore.' That's how bad it was."

During the offseason, Napoli underwent facial reconstruction surgery to correct the condition, which was preventing him from getting a proper night of rest.

"It was a brutal process," Napoli said. "It was probably one of the worse things I've ever done."

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Before the surgery, Napoli turned to medication, mouthpieces and a CPAP mask, but said those problems are now behind him.

"I wake up now and I'm ready to start my day," he said. "It's great."


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