Big Apple Turnover

After the jump is a list of the eight guys who started the most games for the Yankees at each of the eight fielding positions for the Yankees in 2013:

C: Chris Stewart
1B: Lyle Overbay
2B: Robinson Cano
3B: Jayson Nix
SS: Eduardo Nunez
LF: Vernon Wells
CF: Brett Gardner
RF: Ichiro Suzuki

Right now, the Yankees expect that when this list is compiled for 2014, all eight positions will have a different name by them.  Overbay, Cano, Nix, and Wells are no longer with the team.  Center field, right field and catcher are expected to be manned this coming season by expensive new free agents.  And Derek Jeter is expected back — for one final season — at short after injuries largely wiped out his 2013.  Brett Gardner is still expected to be a starter, but in left field this season instead of center.  If things do pan out as anticipated, 2014 will see the most complete turnover of this type in Yankees franchise history.

The only previous year-over-year transition in which the Yanks did not repeat their most common starter at any of the eight defensive positions was the 1966 to 1967 transition.  Mickey Mantle and Joe Pepitone exchanged starting defensive positions.  Horace Clarke moved from short to second to replace the retiring Bobby Richardson.  Elston Howard, Clete Boyer and Roger Maris were traded, and Roy White lost his starting job (though he soon got it back).  But with Mantle, Pepitone and Clarke all returning to the starting lineup albeit at different positions, even that transition wan’t as complete as the anticipated 2013 to 2014 changeover.

Injuries could still result in the 2014 Yanks ending up with a returning starter or two: an injury to newcomer Jacoby Ellsbury, for example, would likely put Gardner back in center.  But for the moment, it appears that the Bombers’ regular starting lineup this coming season will be as dramatically different year-over-year as it has ever been.

17 thoughts on “Big Apple Turnover

  1. 1
    mosc says:

    I have no idea why Edwardo Nunez is still on the roster. He’s a pretty standard scouting over-fascination with tools. He has a good arm, great speed, and can hit for a decent average. What that doesn’t indicate is he has a terrible glove, has no power, no plate discipline, no arm accuracy, and has obvious mental lapses.

    I suppose replacement level infielders have their role in life but I prefer em when they’re young and still developing. Nunez is going into his age 27 year, time to cut bait. David Adams had his moments before being overwhelmed at the plate but he is a natural second basemen who’s path to the majors is no longer blocked by Cano. He’d be a much better choice as a replacement infielder, you’d at least get a glove you can depend on and a bat that might still turn into something useful. And that’s just from the mess they had to chose from last year. They’re essentially the same age, here is there career milb slash lines:
    Nunez: .272/.315/.365/.680
    Adams: .291/.376/.441/.817

    Short seems to be well supported by Ryan. Adams is a natural second basemen with a plus glove who has similar experience at third to nunez (although performed much better defensively).

  2. 2
    Brendan Bingham says:

    The 1966-67 catcher transition was less severe than what 2013-14 will be. The trade sending Howard to Boston did not occur until Aug 1967, before which he had started 47 games at catcher for the Yankees.

  3. 4
    RJ says:

    San Francisco has had a few Giant turnovers in recent years and with the various injuries to Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey I thought a complete turnover of personnel might have happened once… but not quite.

    However, in the four years 2009-2012 the Giants had three different guys play the majority of games at each of C, 1B, 2B, SS, CF, RF and four different players in LF, with only the Panda remaining constant at 3B. I’m guessing this is unusual for a team who won two World Series in that spell.

    This year, though, seven of the eight positions are projected to be manned by the same player as last year.

  4. 5
    Doug says:

    Even the 1997 Marlins had one returning regular (Renteria) in the same position in 1998.

    Despite Bowie Kuhn’s interventions, the Oakland As had a complete turnover of regulars from 1976 to 1977. That turnover was so complete that, never mind regulars, there were only two position players period (Wayne Gross and Larry Lintz) who were on both teams.

    • 7
      birtelcom says:

      How about the Pirates, 1952-1955
      C: Garagiola in ’52, Sandlock in ’53, Atwell in ’54, Shepard in ’55
      1B: Bartirome in ’52, Ward in ’53, Skinner in ’54, Dale Long in ’55
      2B: Merson in ’52, J. O’Brien in ’53, Roberts in ’54, J. O’Brien in ’55
      3B: Castiglione in ’52, O’Connell in ’53, Cole in ’54, Freese in ’55
      SS: Groat in ’52, E. O’Brien in ’53, Allie in ’54, back to Groat in ’55
      LF: Kiner in ’52, Rice in ’53, Lynch in ’54, Frank Thomas in ’55
      CF: Del Greco in ’52, Frank Thomas in ’53 and ’54, E. O’Brien in ’55
      RF: Bell in ’52, Abrams in ’53, Gordon in ’54, Clemente in ’55

      Except for Frank Thomas repeating as the starting center fielder in 1953 and 1954, Pittsburgh changed their primary starter at every position three years in a row.

      • 10
        no statistician but says:

        Hard to imagine Frank Thomas in CF. 1954 was the year I started following baseball seriously as a kid, but the Pirates were way off the radar of interest. In the later fifties, though, he was one of those sluggers his various teams tried to hide in the place where he might do the least damage in the field.

        Other than Kiner and Gordon, both past their prime, there are some good players here: Skinner, Groat, and Clemente were the foundation of the 1960 champions; Gene Freese had his moment with the Reds in 1961; Gus Bell and Jerry Lynch also thrived with the Reds and were important—especially Lynch—support contributors to that team. Dale Long and Thomas swung the lumber with authority into the 1960s.

        Easy trivia question—who held the record for HRs in consecutive games prior to being tied by Don Mattingly? Dale Long. He was viewed as a result as a player with a big future, but it failed to materialize. Just a journeyman.

  5. 8
    James Smyth says:

    After spending way too much time with the B-Ref Yearly Positional Starter lists back in December, I looked at this scenario as well. It’s only happened four times since 1977 (1988-89 Phillies, 1991-92 Mets, 2005-06 Marlins, 2010-11 Royals)

  6. 11
    Doug says:

    Sign of the times. Turnover in Free Agents since Nov 2013.

           FA      FA       FA     FA
        Re-Signed Acquired Lost   Net
    ARI	2	10	8	2
    ATL	1	5	12     -7
    BAL	2	15	21     -6
    BOS	2	10	13     -3
    CHC	1	15	13	2
    CHW	5	9	6	3
    CIN	3	16	11	5
    CLE	3	11	13     -2
    COL	4	9	12     -3
    DET	2	10	8	2
    HOU	1	9	8	1
    KCR	3	7	7	0
    LAA	0	10	14     -4
    LAD	4	11	15     -4
    MIA	1	13	7	6
    MIL	0	10	5	5
    MIN	3	6	7      -1
    NYM	3	9	11     -2
    NYY	5	15	13	2
    OAK	1	5	13     -8
    PHI	5	15	9	6
    PIT	4	10	16     -6
    SDP	2	6	8      -2
    SEA	3	13	3      10
    SFG	4	10	3	7
    STL	0	4	9      -5
    TBR	3	9	12     -3
    TEX	6	16	13	3
    TOR	2	6	10     -4
    WSN	4	12	6	6

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