Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Something just didn't feel right about the 2012 New York Yankees. While they still won the AL East, the divisional race was a dogfight that went down to the final days of the season, with New York prevailing over the Baltimore Orioles, as opposed to their usual rivals in Boston or Tampa Bay. Then in the ALDS, the Yankees got thoroughly outplayed by the Orioles, but managed to win the series after some heroics from Raul Ibanez and a Herculean effort by CC Sabathia. In the ALCS, the vaunted Yankees offense got shut down by the Tigers, and going into 2013, there are more questions than answers. Needs The Yankees have a few holes on their team, but none may be more important than at the back of the bullpen. Mariano Rivera's 2012 ended with a torn ACL a month into the season, and it's still unknown whether or not he'll return...and even if he does, the team will need to work out a new contract with the free agent. If Rivera does retire, the Yankees have to worry about finding a replacement for him after his replacement last year, Rafael Soriano, opted out of his contract and is in search of a new contract. The Yankees also lose their two starting corner outfielders from the second half of the year, Nick Swisher and Ichiro Suzuki, as well as platoon DHs Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, and Eric Chavez. Starting catcher Russell Martin is a free agent, as well as starting pitchers Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and extra starter Freddy Garcia. And the cherry on top is the potential retirement of shortstop Derek Jeter after breaking his ankle in the ALCS with the Tigers. Possible Options That is *a lot* of holes that the team needs to fill, and with a stated goal of getting under the luxury tax threshold by 2014, I don't think the Yankees are going to go crazy and throw money at guys like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke. I think the team will bring Martin back to start behind the plate due to the terrible free agent class and a lost 2012 season from prospect Austin Romine. I also think the Yankees will make efforts to bring back Chavez and Ibanez after their productive seasons. Ibanez would be much better served in a platoon DH role instead of being thrust into the outfield, where he was forced to play 651 innings this season. It would probably be in New York's best interest to pass on the bigger names in the corner outfield spots, and instead just bring Ichiro back to play right field after he looked reborn in the Bronx. Brett Gardner should be healthy and ready to go for 2013 in left field, and he's a tremendous defensive player that the Yankees could really use in the outfield. The rotation mess could be solved by re-signing the veteran Kuroda, who didn't crack under the pressure of New York last season, and picking up another solid veteran to fill out the back-end. I think New York could sniff around someone like Kyle Lohse, Jeremy Guthrie, or Edwin Jackson to fill a rotation spot, assuming Pettitte doesn't return for 2013. I'm not considering Michael Pineda an option for the rotation yet, just because of how unsure his recovery from shoulder surgery last spring will go. The bullpen situation could be resolved by giving in to Soriano's contract demands, but if the team deems that too much, they could slide David Robertson into the closer's role and instead sign middle reliever types like Jeremy Affeldt or Matt Capps. After Brandon League and the Dodgers shattered the market for a middle reliever with closing experience, neither of those guys would likely come cheap anymore. Trade Options I'm sure the Yankees would love to dump Alex Rodriguez and the media circus surrounding him onto a team, but to do that, they'd need to eat probably $100 million of his contract...and I'm not sure that's even worth it. There isn't an AJ Burnett on this team aside from Rodriguez that is eating payroll and getting the scorn of the fanbase, so I don't think New York would feel an effort to start dumping veterans to get younger. This *is* the Yankees after all. Trade Targets If the Yankees were able to unload Rodriguez, they'd need someone to play at the hot corner. With a horrendous free agent market at the position, the Yankees would likely go after Chase Headley or David Wright, but I'm not sure they'd be willing to part with the young talent required to acquire either of those players and give them the money they'll be getting in free agency in a year (for Wright) or two (for Headley). The team could also look to fill some of their holes via trade as opposed to free agency, but I'm not sure that they could improve themselves vastly by going with a trade as opposed to just going with what they have in Martin, Suzuki, and Gardner. [follow]
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Heat lose a key player with McRoberts out for rest of season

Belichick: Ryan is 'buttering me up' with Hall of Fame praise

Marshall: Bears need to gel and do some kumbaya

Ray McDonald investigated for possible sexual assault

Red Sox appear content with rotation despite lack of true ace

Iguodala gets technical for mocking Conley travel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bo Pelini takes shot at Nebraska during introductory presser

Belichick: Patriots need to play better against the Jets

Rex Ryan doesn't want to get in trouble talking about Revis

Bears Conte willing to shorten lifespan for NFL career

Former NFLer Simeon Rice: I was sexually abused as a child

Jets owner favorites tweet about firing John Idzik

Wade Miley confident in health, diet after trade from D-Backs

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson lead in 2014 athlete Google searches

Molding the market: All eyes on Max Scherzer

Another "Fire John Idzik' plane flies at Jets practice

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

Report: Some Browns shunned Manziel during pregame

Making an attempt to understand Celtics' priorities

Gronk makes awkward sausage joke on 'Top Chef'

Walmart ripped for confusing Anthony/Lin doll

RG3 taking sabbatical from social media for rest of season

David Robinson's son to walk-on at Duke next year

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

RG3 quits social media for season

Each NFL division’s MVP

5 NFLers who must step up in Week 16

Most impressive college hoops teams

Five reasons why FSU is going to win the CFB Playoff

Boxer admits to dive in Rourke bout

FCC heard about Brady's swearing?

Embracing the hate of the Eagles-Cowboys Rivalry

DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles

Andrew Hawkins defends shirt

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.