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Robinson Cano, second base
Cano was worth about six extra wins, according to FanGraphs, which makes him a Top 15 player and clearly the most valuable Yankee. Cano fails to hustle all the time and he doesn’t have that appeal that an in-his-prime Derek Jeter does, but he remains the best second baseman in baseball.
Lyle Overbay, first base
Overbay is one of those guys who is graded on a curve. He made the team after a three-day tryout and then had a few days where he was a difference-maker. Overbay was not Mark Teixeira, but the Yankees were begging for help and Overbay provided some, especially early.
Alex Rodriguez, third base
A-Rod brought a lot to the Yankees -- a lot of intrigue, a lot proposed games suspended and a lot of production. Now, Rodriguez wasn’t great upon his return, but he was much better than what they had been running out prior to August.
Jayson Nix, third base
Jayson Nix can play some solid baseball, but it is not really wining baseball. He is one of the backups who had to play too much because of injuries until he inevitably was injured himself.
Mark Reynolds, third base
For a guy who cost nearly nothing, Reynolds produced some right-handed extra base pop. However, watching him every day is a good reminder that he strikes out too much and doesn’t field enough.
Eduardo Nunez, infield
Nunez improved defensively, but he didn’t hit enough. The Yankees hoped that he could one day take over for Jeter, but by the end of the year they went with the slick-fielding, but light-hitting, Brendan Ryan over Nunez. Plus, Nunez had trouble staying healthy.
David Adams, infield
Adams looked like a major league player for a week, then the man whose ankle prevented the Cliff Lee trade from happening in 2010 appeared to be a 4-A talent, at best.
Travis Hafner, DH
He was a designated hitter who didn’t hit. It's amazing to think, he might have been the worst offensive player of the free-agent bunch. After starting off strong, he almost didn’t get any hits for three months. From May 1 to July 26th when he went on the DL, he hit .167. And he doesn’t own a glove.
Kevin Youkilis, third base
Is it Youkilis’ fault that he got hurt? No, but he always gets hurt. The Yankees could have spent his $12M in a lot more impactful ways. If Youkilis were able to stay healthy and productive, the Yanks might have been able to make the playoffs.
Derek Jeter, shortstop
Jeter hasn’t been the same for almost a year after dislocating his ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS. He played in just 17 games and did not have many memorable moments, except for his first-inning, first-pitch home run during his second comeback.
Mark Teixeira, first base
Teixeira’s season never really got started. After hurting his wrist hitting off a tee at the World Baseball Classic, he made a cameo appearance for 15 games and hit .151. Teixiera is not a dominant player, but you have to wonder if he played the whole season could he have been the difference between being in the wild card and not.
Alfonso Soriano, outfield
Soriano was easily the most valuable player since his arrival for minor leaguer Corey Black. Yanks GM Brian Cashman had interest in Soriano but wanted to wait to lower the Cubs’ asking price before making the trade. Unless Black turns into a legit, front-end MLB starter -- and no one really thinks he will -- then this was the steal of the year.
Brett Gardner, center field
Cashman and Joe Giardi have been huge fans of Gardner for years. Injuries ruined his 2012 season, but in 2013 he was one of the most important Yankees. Gardner played like Michael Bourn was supposed to in Cleveland. Gardner probably deserves a Gold Glove.
Curtis Granderson, outfield
Granderson kept getting hurt, which wasn’t his fault. But he never really lifted the Yankees when he came back, hitting a few home runs, but none very memorable. Granderson has developed into an all-or-nothing hitter. With Girardi defering to Soriano’s preference to play the outfield instead of DH, Granderson did act as the good soldier by not complaining about not playing the field when the Yankees had their full complement of outfielders.
Ichiro Suzuki, outfield
Ichiro had a couple of streaks, but overall he is not a very good player anymore. He is a fourth outfielder now, at best, and he performed that way. Ichiro once was able to hit for such a high average he could take advantage of his speed. Now, as a sub-.300 hitter, he does not make a big impact on the team.
Vernon Wells, outfield
Wells had one good month as a Yankee that made him look like a steal. Then it felt like he barely had any hits and could not come through in a lot of crucial spots.
Chris Stewart, catcher
There are those that will say Stewart does stuff the average fan doesn't see. The way he calls and frames pitches is difference-making. Of the things anyone can notice, he throws a lot of runners out. But he had a lot of passed balls and he didn't hit enough.
Austin Romine, catcher
Romine raised his grade by working extra hard with Kevin Long to become a more legit hitter. There is not enough proof yet he can be a starter soon, but he should be in the fight for a backup role.
Francisco Cervelli, catcher
Cervelli was having a great year, but his involvement in Biogenesis and an injury ended it early. It is a shame because the way he was playing he was on his way to a B or a higher.
Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
Kuroda melted over the final six weeks, taking his grade with him. He was on his way to an A for ace. At the end of the season, though, he could not come up big when the Yankees needed him the most. He receives an F for first innings, but was more of an A from innings two and beyond. So he ends up with a B.
Andy Pettitte, LHP
Pettitte was up-and-down this season. However, at the end of the year, the end of his career, he was the Yankees' best pitcher, trying to grind them into the postseason. His agent, Jim Murray, told me before his retirement announcement that Pettitte could pitch five more years the way he was going. Pettitte is hanging it up instead, but he must feel pretty good knowing he still has it.
Ivan Nova, RHP
Nova developed into an important cog in the Yankees' future. Another stint in the minors resulted in spring-boarding his season to the point that if the Yankees had one game to win right now, he might be the guy Joe Girardi would turn to.
CC Sabathia, LHP
It is a testament to how great CC has been that he could throw 200 innings and win 14 games and still go home with a D. Sabathia is the first to admit if he pitched like he normally does, maybe we are writing a playoff preview instead of looking back.
Phil Hughes, RHP
In his free-agent season, he showed up to camp looking trim and ready to go -- then he never got started, proving once and for all, his fly-ball style will never work at Yankee Stadium.
Mariano Rivera, RHP
What is left to say? While the Yanks failed to make the playoffs, this year will be remembered as the classy long goodbye to Mo. On the mound, he was one of the best closers in the game this season. Pretty good for a 43-year-old coming off knee surgery.
David Robertson, RHP
Robertson was very good for much of the year, but he faded late and was one of the bigger reasons why the Yankees could never get over the hump and get in real position to take one of the wild cards.
Boone Logan, LHP
Logan did his job pretty well this season. He was a reliable part of a unit that carried the Yanks for much of the season.
Adam Warren, RHP
Warren did a solid job as the long man. He might be able to compete to be the No. 5 starter in 2014.
David Phelps, RHP
Phelps was pretty good as the long man/sixth starter until he got hurt. He showed enough signs that he has to be in play for a back-of-the-rotation spot in 2014.
Shawn Kelley, RHP
He was a strikeout machine for much of the season, but struggled late.
Preston Claiborne, RHP
Claiborne had his moments this season, but overall was only OK, not great.
Joba Chamberlain, RHP
Joba's fall from the top of New York baseball in 2007 to where he is now is stunning. He likely ended his Yankees career as a mop-up man. When the Bombers needed him to pitch some important innings late, he failed.
Girardi did a tremendous job. He never allowed himself or his team to use his injuries as an excuse. He also handled the A-Rod situation very well. He won't win AL Manager of the Year, but he deserves some consideration.
Cashman did very well early with Wells and Hafner looking like good moves. But those guys stopped hitting and Youkilis got hurt. Those were the major offseason moves. Of course, he was hamstrung by the Yankees' hesitant approach to spending. If not, they may have signed Russell Martin, who could have been a difference-maker.