New York Yankees: 14 For '14

Question 14: Predicting the Yankees' wins

March, 30, 2014
Mar 30
2:15
PM ET
Yankees CelebrateCorey Sipkin/Getty ImagesThe Boss used to say the season was a failure if it didn't end this way. How will the 2014 Yankees measure their success?
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees.

Question: How many games will the 2014 Yankees win?

Andrew Marchand: The Yankees will win 90 games and earn the second wild card because their lineup is better and the additions of Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, to go along with a more mature Ivan Nova, will give them a deeper rotation for 162 games. David Robertson will be fine in the closer role, while rest of the bullpen is a question mark.

SportsNation

How many games will the 2014 Yankees win?

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    26%
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    35%
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    28%
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    9%
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    2%

Discuss (Total votes: 5,082)

Last year, I didn't think the Yankees were going to make the playoffs, even before the injuries. This season, that could be the case again with their fragile infield and questions about CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda. Still, if they stay healthy, I believe this Yankee team squeaks into October.

Wallace Matthews: Making predictions is my least favorite part of this job, because if you get 'em right, nobody remembers, and if you get 'em wrong, nobody forgets. The season is too long and the game is too random for any type of precision forecasting. There's no way of knowing in March who will get injured, who will underperform, who will overperform, who will even be on the roster by September.

So with all my excuses out of the way, I will say that I like the Yankees roster as currently constituted. Could it be younger? Absolutely. Less prone to injury? Absolutely. But there's a lot of upside here, and assuming everyone stays reasonably healthy and performs as expected, I think this team is at least five wins better than last year's team and probably more like seven. So I'll say they win 92 games and snag the the first AL wild card. Remember that if I'm right. If I'm wrong, well, I told you -- you just can't predict baseball.

Question 13: The most important Yankee?

March, 30, 2014
Mar 30
2:09
PM ET
Mark Teixeira and Derek JeterKim Klement/USA TODAY SportsWill these men still be smiling six months from now?
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees.

Question: Who is the most important Yankee?

Andrew Marchand: Mark Teixeira is the most irreplaceable Yankee, which makes him the most important. If Derek Jeter goes down, a healthy Brendan Ryan could provide better defense. If a starter goes down -- even CC Sabathia -- the Yankees have some depth. If they lost a starting outfielder, well, the Yankees have plenty of outfielders. If David Robertson were to get hurt ... hmm, Robertson seems pretty irreplaceable, too.

SportsNation

Who is the most important Yankee for 2014?

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    31%
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    23%
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    20%
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    11%
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    15%

Discuss (Total votes: 3,068)

Still, my choice is Teixeira because not only can they not replace him, but they need him to be a 30-100 guy to really make this lineup potent. If healthy, the Yankees can pretty much count on Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Brett Gardner to produce. Teixeira, on the other hand, is more of a wild card after he played just 15 games in 2013. That leaves him as the MIY.

Wallace Matthews: There's only one MIY this season, and it's the one you will be hearing about every single day from now until the Yankees make their final out: Derek Jeter.

This is The Year of the Captain, and as Jeter goes, so will the Yankees. And as always with Jeter, that isn't always measurable by the numbers. Jeter is going to be feted in every road city this season, cheered in normally hostile ballparks, and given the sendoff he deserves after a stellar 20-year career in baseball.

How he handles all of that attention, and the example he sets for the rest of this team, will go a long way to determining where the Yankees finish this season. I'm not much into the rah-rah aspect of pro sports, but Jeter is one of those rare athletes who can inspire teammates to do better simply by the way he plays and carries himself.

Assuming he stays healthy, I expect Jeter to be at his best this season, and his team will do what it has always done: Follow his example.

Question 12: How will Beltran, Ellsbury do?

March, 29, 2014
Mar 29
2:00
PM ET
Jacoby Ellsbury, Robinson Cano & Carlos BeltranGetty Images/USA TODAY SportsJacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran could help Yankees fans forget Robbie Cano -- if they stay healthy.
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: What can be expected of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran?

Andrew Marchand: The Yankees spent nearly $200 million on Ellsbury and Beltran, and if I told you seven years from now they spent much of their time on the disabled list, would you be surprised? No. And that, of course, is the risk with Ellsbury and Beltran.

SportsNation

Will Carlos Beltran or Jacoby Ellsbury miss significant time with injuries in 2014?

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    34%
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    8%
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    15%
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    43%

Discuss (Total votes: 6,113)

If they remain healthy, the Yankees will have two players who could perform well enough to to be in the MVP discussion. So if Ellsbury and Beltran can play 145 games each, the Yankees' offense probably won’t miss Robinson Cano that much. But that is a big if.

Wallace Matthews: Here's what you can expect from Beltran: 25 homers, 85-90 RBIs, .275-285 BA. If healthy.

Here's what you can expect from Ellsbury: a .300 BA, around 50 stolen bases and around 100 runs scored. And even a decent number of home runs, maybe 15-20, in homer-friendly Yankee Stadium. Again, if healthy.

And those are two big ifs, considering Ellsbury has not been able to put together consecutive full seasons since 2008-09, and Beltran, who will be 37 next month, has a history of knee problems that caused his Mets tenure to end in bitterness and disappointment.

Injuries are the most difficult thing in baseball to predict, but with these two players, it's a safe bet one or both will spend time on the DL this year. Ellsbury has already spent some time on the shelf with a calf injury during spring training.

My prediction is you will see less of both of these players, who can make a huge impact on the Yankees' season, than you would like to. Let's say about 100 games for each of them, with production to match.

Question 11: Kuroda, Cy Young or Cy Old?

March, 29, 2014
Mar 29
1:00
PM ET
Hiroki KurodaDavid Manning/USA TODAY SportsWhat does Hiroki Kuroda have in store for Yankees fans in 2014?
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: Will Hiroki Kuroda be more Cy Young or Cy Old?

Andrew Marchand: Kuroda was a Cy Young candidate last season until he went 0-6 over his final eight starts, with a 6.56 ERA. That leaves him as a question mark going into this year. Kuroda also had weird home and away splits. In the Bronx, he was 7-3 with a 2.35 ERA, while on the road he was 4-10 with a 4.05 ERA.

SportsNation

Will Hiroki Kuroda be more Cy Young or Cy Old in 2014?

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    34%
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    14%
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    52%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,243)

Kuroda is 39, but I think he can have a pretty good season. He will not be a Cy Young contender, but he won’t be one of the worst starters -- like he was the final months of last year -- in baseball either. What will he be? I believe he’ll turn that 11-13 record around and finish 13-11 with a 3.91 ERA.

Wallace Matthews: For the past two seasons, Kuroda has been a Tale of Two Pitchers. Great in the first half, not-so-great in the second half. And last year, he was downright awful after the All-Star break.

The Yankees aren't sure if this is due to his age or the strain of throwing 200-plus innings per year, a total he has reached in each of his past three seasons. (In Japan, he threw 200 innings in only two of 11 seasons.)

And it's not just the past two seasons in which he's shown a drop-off; throughout his big league career, Kuroda's ERA has consistently risen in the second half.

So the answer is probably yes to both questions. His history tells us Kuroda will be great the first half of the season, not-so-great the second half. That probably translates to a close-to-.500 record -- I'll say 13-12 -- and an ERA of about 3.50.

Question 10: Who replaces D-Rob in 8th?

March, 28, 2014
Mar 28
2:30
PM ET
Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton & Dellin BetancesGetty Images/USA TODAY SportsWill Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton or Dellin Betances replace David Robertson as the setup man?
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: How will the Yankees replace David Robertson in the eighth inning?

Andrew Marchand: Who will replace Robertson in the eighth inning is a bigger issue than whether Robertson can succeed Mariano Rivera as the closer in 2014. The Yankees do not have an obvious candidate to fill in for Robertson. Out of the gate, Joe Girardi will probably go by committee with Shawn Kelley receiving the first shot, but with anyone in the pen eligible to take the role.

SportsNation

Who will replace David Robertson in the eighth inning?

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    17%
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    5%
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    48%
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    27%
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    3%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,404)

Kelley was acquired from Seattle (is it me or do the Yankees make all their trades with the M's?) last spring. He went 4-2 with a 4.39 ERA and made a career-best 57 appearances. He is a strikeout specialist; his 71 ranked him eighth among AL relievers. But at 29, he is still unproven.

Lefty Matt Thornton could get some run here since he is good against righties and lefties. The wild card is someone like Dellin Betances, whose slurve looked great during the spring. To go along with a 95 mph fastball, the New York-bred Betances is an intimidating and intriguing possibility.

Wallace Matthews: This is the great overlooked question of 2014, because losing Mo not only cost the Yankees the greatest closer in history, but also one of baseball's best setup men.

Kelley is the obvious choice because he's a strikeout pitcher and can retire both lefties and righties, and I think he will get the first crack at it. But Betances certainly opened some eyes this spring, and in fact some in the Yankees organization see the 6-foot-8 righty with the 97 mph fastball as future closer material. I happen to agree with them, and what better way to groom a closer than by making him a setup man first? It worked for Mo and Robertson, and I think it will work for Betances. By the All-Star break, I'm guessing Betances will get the bulk of the eighth-inning work.

Question 9: Smooth transition for D-Rob?

March, 28, 2014
Mar 28
1:30
PM ET
David RobertsonKim Klement/USA TODAY SportsDavid Robertson can't replace Mariano Rivera over the long haul, but he doesn't have to.
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: Will David Robertson have a smooth transition into the Yankees' closer role?

Andrew Marchand: If Robertson doesn’t get off to a quick start as a closer, he could be in trouble. If he fails early, he won’t be able to rebound, right? Garbage!

SportsNation

Will David Robertson have a smooth transition into the Yankees' closer role?

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    70%
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    30%

Discuss (Total votes: 3,882)

That might be a narrative some write, but it is not true. Look no further than the man he replaced, Mariano Rivera. In 1997, when Rivera took over as the full-time closer, he blew three of his first six save chances. He ultimately blew what would turn out be a career-high nine saves and gave up Sandy Alomar Jr.’s homer in the ALDS.

So it is not how you start, but how you finish. Robertson has the stuff to be a closer and I believe the demeanor, too. Yes, he won’t have Rivera’s safety net anymore, but I think he will transition well. When you talk about replacing Rivera for one season, it is difficult but not monumental. Rafael Soriano did it. Duplicating Rivera’s career seems close to impossible, but the Yankees are just worrying about 2014 -- and I think Robertson will be fine.

Wallace Matthews: It depends on your definition of "smooth," I suppose. Nothing is ever too smooth when Robertson is on the mound. He creates his own jams and usually -- but not always -- gets out of them. That is the antithesis of Rivera, who was the ultimate no-drama closer. So the ninth innings at Yankee Stadium will be very different this season, and for the first time, really, in almost 20 years. The days of heading into the ninth confident of a win with a one-run lead are over.

This is not to say Robertson won't do a terrific job. I think he will. Let's not forget that in 2011, he was by far the most difficult pitcher to hit or score on in the Yankees' bullpen and he was nearly as good in 2012 and 2013. So he certainly has the stuff and I believe, the mindset to do the job.

But smooth? I'm not sure that word is in Robertson's vocabulary. Effective, yes. Smooth? Rarely.

Question 8: Will Nova go the distance?

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
3:00
PM ET
Ivan NovaJonathan Dyer/USA TODAY SportsIs this the year Ivan Nova goes wire-to-wire for the Yankees?
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and the Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: Will Ivan Nova put together a full season in 2014?

Andrew Marchand: Nova started 2013 with a 2-1 record, a 5.16 ERA and a ticket to Triple-A by the end of May. He returned toward the end of June, went 7-5 with a 2.70 ERA and clearly was the Yankees' best starter.

SportsNation

Will Ivan Nova put together a full season in 2014?

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    91%
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    9%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,717)

It is an annual rite of summer that Nova ends up in Scranton for a Triple-A tune-up, so does anyone think 2014 will be different? I do.

I think this will be the season Nova puts together a full year. Why? There aren't great tangible reasons. He is 27 and showed he could be pretty dominant for a three-month period. Now, he must do that for three more months. My gut says he will.

It is funny to think Nova may be the surest thing in the Yankees' starting rotation. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda struggled in 2013. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda have never thrown a pitch in a real game for the Yankees. That leaves Nova as a guy the Yankees must count on. I think he'll deliver with a 17-9 record and 3.02 ERA.

Wallace Matthews I trust Andrew's gut, but I'm not so sure I trust Nova. He has great stuff, but as Andrew points out, Nova is 27 and has been around long enough to know the score, which is why I found it a little perturbing earlier this spring when Nova said he has just come to understand he needs to focus more on the mound.

My gut tells me Nova will pretty much be the same Nova he has always been: extremely talented and capable of throwing some great games. And occasionally maddening and capable of going into a funk within a game or within a season. I'll go 16-14 with an ERA closer to 4.

Question 7: Who will be the X factor in '14?

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
2:00
PM ET
Michael Pineda and Jacoby EllsburyGetty Images/USA TODAY SportsMichael Pineda and Jacoby Ellsbury are big pieces of the Yankees' 2014 puzzle.
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: Who will be the Yankees' X factor in 2014?

Andrew Marchand: Michael Pineda not only won the fifth starter spot in spring training, but he was also probably the Yankees' most impressive starter. Pineda may not be throwing 97, but he gave the Yankees a chance to dream that he could eventually be a No. 1, 2 or 3 starter.

SportsNation

Who will be the Yankees' X factor in 2014?

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    71%
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    16%
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    13%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,776)

For this season, he may be the guy to pick up the slack if CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are just good, not great, starters. If Pineda continues what he did in Tampa, Fla., as he debuts as a regular-season Yankee -- remember he has never thrown a pitch in a real game in pinstripes -- then he could be the difference between a playoff season and another empty October.

Wallace Matthews: I agree Pineda could be a VIY -- Very Important Yankee -- this year, but I'm going with Jacoby Ellsbury, for several reasons.

The most important one is that you can never be sure how many games he will play. Last year, he played 134. The year before that, 74. The year before that, 158. The year before that, 18. You get the picture. And already he has missed most of spring training with an injury he has described as "basically nothing."

But if he's in the lineup on a regular basis, I believe he will transform the Yankees' offense. Think of him as a Brett Gardner with power, especially in lefty-friendly Yankee Stadium, and no reluctance to steal bases. With him at the top of the order and Gardner presumably batting ninth, once the lineup turns over you essentially have two speedy leadoff hitters in a row to contend with. That should translate to a lot of baserunners and, assuming the rest of them do their jobs, a lot of runs.

That should add a dimension to the Yankees' offense that was missing last season. That is, of course, if Ellsbury remains healthy enough to stay on the field. That is the great unknown this season, hence the X.

Question 6: Can the Yanks replace A-Rod?

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
2:00
PM ET
Alex RodriguezJared Wickerham/Getty ImagesYou may not miss Alex Rodriguez, but the Bronx Bombers might.
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: How much production will the Yankees receive from Kelly Johnson, etc.?

Andrew Marchand: The Yankees believe Johnson's lefty stroke is perfectly suited for Yankee Stadium. Johnson has been a 20-plus home run guy twice, most recently in 2011.

SportsNation

Will the Yankees be able to replace A-Rod's production at third base?

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    56%
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    44%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,554)

If he is healthy and some of the fly ball outs in other ballparks turn into long balls in the Bronx, then Johnson may be able to hit 25-plus homers. In 2013, he had 16 in 418 at-bats. So to think he could be a 25-homer guy in 2014 seems pretty reasonable.

Johnson is a .253 career hitter. If he can stay healthy, a .253 season with 25 homers and 75 RBIs seems possible. His defense is not expected to be great, considering he never played third base in the majors before his 16 games in 2013 for the Rays. But really, the man whose name shall not be spoken will turn 39 and has been injury-prone in recent years.

If Alex Rodriguez (OK, so we said it) were not suspended for the entire season, how much better would he be than Johnson? Probably not much, since Rodriguez has been hurt each of the past three years as his production declined.

Wallace Matthews: The answer, of course, is you don't replace A-Rod, because he really is one of a kind, and I'm not sure you even want to. As Andrew points out, Johnson is capable of matching Alex's recent numbers with the help of the short Yankee Stadium right-field porch, and with the upgrades to the offense the Yankees made in the offseason, his bat may not be missed all that much.

But where the Yankees will miss A-Rod is on the field. His range may not have been great anymore, but he was a sure-handed third baseman with a rifle for an arm. Johnson was a pretty capable second baseman, but at third, he is certainly a work in progress. His two errors Tuesday night, especially the second on a routine grounder that went between his legs, are something we may see a lot more of this season than we did during the A-Rod era. And his backup? Eduardo Nunez.

This is one area that still may be attended to, either by a trade or the signing of some player released at the end of training camp, a la Lyle Overbay last season.

Question 5: Will Tex be a 30-100 guy again?

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
1:00
PM ET
Mark TeixeiraStacy Revere/Getty ImagesWill Mark Teixeira drive the ball in 2014 like he used to?
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: Will Mark Teixeira be a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy in 2014?

Andrew Marchand: Teixeira joined Jimmie Foxx and Albert Pujols with eight seasons of 30 homers and 100 RBIs prior to his 31st birthday. In April, Teixeira will turn 34. He hasn't had a 30-100 season since 2011. In 2013, he didn't even play 30 games or take 100 at-bats.

SportsNation

Will Mark Teixeira be a 30-100 guy again?

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    43%
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    57%

Discuss (Total votes: 3,091)

Coming off his wrist injury that limited to him to just 17 games, Teixeira has a lot to overcome to find that old form. He has said during spring training that he feels fine. Still, given how slowly he usually begins the season, we might not learn much from the first month.

Still, he should have plenty of chances with this Yankees lineup. I think he will come close to 30 and 100, but given his age, he probably will have some sort of injury issue that will leave him just a bit shy.

Wallace Matthews: I agree with Andrew that Teixeira should have plenty of chances this season, but considering that he hasn't done it in three years and will turn 34 in early April, I think the chances are slim. Also, you must remember that in his first season back after having the same kind of wrist surgery Teixeira had, Jose Bautista found his formidable power reduced, and it remains to be seen if it will ever return to its pre-surgery levels.

All things considered, I think Tex will still be a productive hitter in the Yankees' lineup, but his best days probably are behind him. I'm guessing 25-28 home runs this season and 90-95 RBIs. Still not too bad.

Question 4: Will Jeter lure 4 million fans?

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
2:00
PM ET
Derek JeterJonathan Dyer/USA TODAY SportsWill the fans come out in force to see Derek Jeter's farewell season?
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: Will the Yankees draw 4 million fans in 2014?

Andrew Marchand: The largest single-season Yankees home attendance happened in 2008. With the old Stadium in its final year, 4,298,543 people went through the turnstiles.

SportsNation

Will the Yankees draw four million fans in 2014?

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    77%
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    23%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,632)

The boost was due to fans wanting to take one more glimpse at the old place. It also occurred within the momentum of a historic run in which the Yankees became the only franchise to exceed 4 million in attendance in four straight years.

In 2013, the Yankees led the AL in attendance with 3,279,589, but as has been the trend in recent years, fewer fans made it out to the Bronx than the year prior.

The capacity of the new stadium is 49,642, which gives the Yankees the ability to draw 4 million, but not break the 2008 record. In the new stadium's inaugural year of 2009, a tick above 3.7 million fans came to the Bronx.

In 2014, I think they will fall short of 4 million because of how expensive it is to go and the uncertainty of how good the team will be. Will they draw more than last year? Sure. Will they get close to 4 million? Maybe. But I don't believe they will make it all the way back to 4 million.

Wallace Matthews: Nothing draws fans like a winning team, and as much as you would think the prospect of seeing Derek Jeter in his final season, or perhaps for your final time, would pack the Stadium on a nightly basis.

But I'm with Andrew on this. The prices are simply too high for the average working person to afford on a regular basis, and in order to fill nearly 50,000 seats 81 times you need a lot of repeat customers. Besides, do the people, whoever they are, who bought the outrageously-priced Legends Seats -- and now, rarely show up to use them -- even care much about Jeter or the Yankees in the first place?

What they do care about is winning, and being at what they perceive to be the place to be. Madison Square Garden was that place in mid-'90s; Yankee Stadium became that place when the team was in the midst of its dominant run from 1996 to 2003. The Yankees may well reach 4 million this season, but if they do, it will be more because fans are coming to see a winner rather than Jeter, who ironically has been the biggest winner of them all.

Question 3: How many hits will Jeter get?

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
1:00
PM ET
Derek JeterKim Klement/USA TODAY SportsWill we see the Derek Jeter of old -- or an old Derek Jeter -- this season?
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: How many hits will Derek Jeter get in 2014?

Andrew Marchand: The last time Jeter played a full season, his 216 hits were more than anyone else's in baseball. That was two years ago.

SportsNation

How many hits will Derek Jeter get in 2014?

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    6%
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    16%
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    29%
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    31%
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    18%

Discuss (Total votes: 6,523)

In his final season, Jeter will be feted every which way, but there is no telling whether he will perform to vintage standards. He didn't look great at the plate during the spring.

Still, even as he turns 40, he is Jeter, and betting against him over the years would make a rich man poor. So I think he will be OK -- not 2012 great, but not bad, either.

I'll give him 164 hits, which will allow him to finish his career with a clean 3,480, earning him sixth place on the all-time list.

To end up in the top five, Jeter would need 199 hits to pass No. 5 Cap Anson, who finished with 3,514.

Wallace Matthews: I would love to see Jeter have another 200-hit season and finish up his career among the top five on baseball's all-time hit list. But as he comes off a season in which he had just 73 plate appearances and a spring in which he has looked more like the Jeter who suffered through a nightmarish 2010 season than the one who cruised to a .316 batting average in 2012, I would be very surprised if he was able to reach that plateau for the ninth time in his career.

Age and the possibility of injury may limit Jeter's playing time this season, although manager Joe Girardi's likelihood of using him as a designated hitter a couple of days a week will increase his plate appearances. I'll take a stab at 175 hits for Jeter this season, giving him a total of 3,491 for his career.

Question 2: How will Masahiro Tanaka do?

March, 24, 2014
Mar 24
2:05
PM ET
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: How many games will Masahiro Tanaka win, and what will his ERA be?

SportsNation

How many games will Masahiro Tanaka win this season?

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    2%
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    15%
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    50%
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    25%
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    8%

Discuss (Total votes: 6,337)

Andrew Marchand: "As advertised" is the best way to describe Tanaka's spring. He showed the ability to throw all his pitches, including his devastating splitter. While his stuff is not overwhelming, it is strong enough, and he has mastered it to a point that he probably could be a No. 2-type starter as soon as this year. He has handled all the attention with ease, basically erasing that as a mitigating factor.

I believe Tanaka will go 16-7 with a 3.42 ERA -- which, when you talk about the Yankees' expectations for 2014, might be even better than advertised.

Wallace Matthews: I have been very impressed with Tanaka's poise and adaptability in assimilating so quickly into the very different world of Major League Baseball. But aside from his splitter, which is a superior pitch, I have been less impressed with his repertoire.

Tanaka's fastball is average to slightly above average, and his two-seamer has shown a tendency to stay up in the zone, which can be dangerous, especially in the AL East. Also, the Twins showed in his last start that if you can lay off his stuff, many of his pitches will end up out of the strike zone, forcing him to come in with the fastball. It's not that his secondary pitches -- I consider the splitter his primary weapon -- are subpar, but they aren't anything that major league hitters are going to fear.

I'm reasonably sure Tanaka can make the necessary adjustments to be successful in the big leagues. But for his first year, I'm tempering expectations. Let's say 14-11 with a 3.50 ERA.

Question 1: How will CC Sabathia do?

March, 24, 2014
Mar 24
1:52
PM ET
As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.

Question: How many games will CC Sabathia win, and what will his ERA be?

SportsNation

How many games will CC Sabathia win this season?

  •  
    5%
  •  
    17%
  •  
    48%
  •  
    25%
  •  
    5%

Discuss (Total votes: 5,632)

Andrew Marchand: Only six starting pitchers in all of Major League Baseball gave up more home runs than Sabathia in 2013. Only five starters had a worse ERA than Sabathia's 4.78. When Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Sabathia wasn't an ace, he probably was being kind.

That is not to say Sabathia can't reinvent himself, which he is trying to do. He is adopting Andy Pettitte's cutter so hitters can't sit on his slowing fastball. But this is all new territory, making his success hard to predict.

Sabathia is a very smart pitcher, so there is a chance he could be pretty good with this new approach. He will be better than last year, but not the ace he once was. I think 14-12 with a 4.15 ERA is realistic.

Wallace Matthews: In his past two starts of the spring, Sabathia has shown what I and a lot of other people expected from a pitcher of his caliber: The ability to adapt to a changing, and less intimidating, repertoire. He has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings with a fastball that rarely tops 91 mph, and is back to using his changeup as an out pitch, something he did effectively in 2009.

I think Sabathia can go 16-10 with an ERA just under 4.00.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 22
RBIB. McCann 71
RB. Gardner 84
OPSB. Gardner .760
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.77
SOM. Tanaka 139