It's happened. Youk will now be a Yank.
According to Andrew Marchand's article on ESPN.com, "Kevin Youkilis has verbally agreed to become a New York Yankee...."
The Yankees are also in the process of re-signing Ichiro Suzuki, according to Marchand's article.
So that means next season's batting order and starting lineup for the Yankees will look something like this:
Batting 1st: Derek Jeter/SS
Batting 2nd: Brett Gardner/LF
Batting 3rd: Robinson Cano/2B
Batting 4th: Mark Teixeira/1B
Batting 5th: Alex Rodriguez/DH
Batting 6th: Curtis Granderson/CF
Batting 7th: Ichiro Suzuki/RF
Batting 8th: Kevin Youkilis/3B
Batting 9th: Somebody/C
I like this lineup as a fan. Picking up Kevin Youkilis is kind of cool because, as I wrote last week, there's something strangely appealing about picking up a player who you used to hate. It's also kind of cool for my favorite baseball team to have Ichiro. Aside from that, all the other players slated to be in 'stripes next season are guys I already know and love from seasons past.
But there is a problem with this lineup: It's old. I know my above list isn't perfect. A-Rod will miss a good portion of the season, which means he won't really be affecting the lineup at all during that time, good or bad. Still, on opening day, the average age of those eight players I listed will be 33.875.
That's not exactly a team full of spring chickens.
Their age concerns me because I know they won't be able to keep putting up good numbers forever. Ichiro hit well over .300 in his time as a Yankee last season, but can he do that again next year? And will Derek Jeter be able to keep up his numbers, especially now that he's broken his ankle at 38 years young?
I'm not upset about the Yankees roster for the coming season, but I'm also not sure it's one that will bring them their 28th Commissioner's Trophy. They needed to add a little bit of youth to their roster, but they can't be all that much younger than they were a season ago.
And they're certainly not built to keep contending into 2014 and beyond. Come the end of next season, Cano, Granderson, Ichiro, Youkilis, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda will all be free agents. That means the Yanks will have to either have a massive re-signing next offseason like they did this year, or start re-building.
The cracks are showing, and, much as I hate to say this, I'm not so sure the Yankees of 2013 will be as good as the Yankees of the late 90s, early 2000s, or even 2012.