What Yankees need to go right in '13

Updated: February 1, 2013, 10:01 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Travis Hafner could have signed with the Tampa Bay Rays. Ultimately, he chose the Yankees, to take advantage of the opportunity they have at DH and at Yankee Stadium, which has always been a friend of left-handed sluggers.

But because Hafner has been so limited by injuries in recent years, and because he hit .228 last season, he becomes one more question mark for a team that has a whole lot of question marks.

The Yankees have made the playoffs all but one in the past 17 seasons, partly because they've had a lot of safety nets in place. That was made more possible because, well, they've had a larger budget than anybody else, and because veterans such as Raul Ibanez have liked to go to the Yankees knowing they had a chance to win.

But after a winter of financial belt-tightening, the Yankees don't have as many fall-backs as possible. They don't have as much room for error as they've had in other seasons.

Every team has linchpin parts, the strength of which determines whether it's a good or bad year. Here are eight things that must go right for the Yankees: