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.
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.
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.