Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Betting Website Sets Yankees Line at 86.5 Wins

The New York Yankees have spent more than $450 million this offseason, according to Ted Berg of USA Today, in hopes of improving their 85-77 record from last season. Bovado, a betting website, set the Yankees’ regular season win total at over/under 86.5 wins.

They finished last season with their worst 162-game record since 1992. As aforementioned, they have spent a tremendous amount of money this offseason, in hopes of improving their record.

The Yankees did add numerous players this off-season; nationally and internationally, in hopes of bringing another World Series title back to the Bronx.

These players include outfielders Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, catcher Brian McCann and pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Those players will significantly impact the Yankees’ chances of winning another World Series title.

They also lost some players this past off-season that have had a significant impact on the team. These players include starting pitcher Andy Pettitte and reliever Mariano Rivera, both retired, and second baseman Robinson Cano to free agency.

They also are going to be without their primary third baseman since 2004; Alex Rodriguez.

On Jan. 11, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced Rodriguez’s suspension from 211 to 162 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. The suspension also includes any 2014 postseason games; if the Yankees make the playoffs, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com.

Rodriguez challenged the suspension in court, along with other lawsuits, for nearly a month.

On Feb. 7, Rodriguez withdrew his lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, according to Matthews. Rodriguez dropping the lawsuits means that he is suspended for the upcoming season.

The Yankees’ active offseason impacted Bovado’s, a betting website, betting odds.

Bovado listed the Yankees’ regular season win total at over/under 86.5 in at least 160 games played. There are three reasons why the Yankees could win at least 87 games.

1. Offseason Acquisitions: The New York Yankees improved in numerous different positions through free agency; nationally and internationally. They upgraded tremendously during the offseason at the catcher position.

Last season, the Yankees had Chris Stewart as their primary catcher. In 109 games, he hit four home runs,  had 25 Runs Batted In, RBI, and hit for a .211 batting average.

The Yankees appeared to be determined to upgrade at the catcher position by signing free agent Brian McCann on Nov. 24, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. McCann’s statistics last season were much better than Stewart’s were.

In 102 games, McCann smacked 20 home runs, drove in 59 runs and hit for a .256 batting average. The Yankees also upgraded their outfield in free agency.

They also signed Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury to upgrade their outfield. Those two will be huge upgrades, if healthy, are over the departed Curtis Granderson and Vernon Wells.

The Yankees also signed Masahiro Tanaka to upgrade their starting rotation. If he is anywhere near as successful as he was in Japan last season, a 24-0 record, 1.27 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 212 Innings, then he will be a huge upgrade over the combination of departed Phil Hughes and retired Andy Pettitte.

If these significant upgrades perform better than their predecessors, then the Yankees have a great opportunity to win at least 87 games.

2. Health/Injuries: The New York Yankees were one of the most injured teams last season.

They had their players miss the third-most games last season; nearly 1,600 games. Only the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves had their players miss more games than the Yankees last season, according to Jeff Zimmerman of FanGraphs.com.

Some people have speculated that the Yankees had their players miss that many games last season due to injuries because of ‘age’ while others have speculated that it was bad luck. A primary example of Yankees’ players missing significant time due to injuries last season was shortstop Derek Jeter and first baseman Mark Teixeira.

They have been teammates on the Yankees since they signed then free agent Teixeira in Dec. 2008, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Prior to last season, the two teammates had never played less than 200 games combined.

Last season, they played a combined 32 games.

If the Yankees’ players can stay healthier this season, then they have a great opportunity to win at least 87 games this season.

3. Alfonso Soriano: Outfielder Alfonso Soriano began the season as a member of the Chicago Cubs. He was in the midst of another productive season for the Cubs until July 26.

On July 26th, the Cubs trading Soriano to the New York Yankees in exchange for Class A pitcher Corey Black was finalized, according to Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com. Soriano had a very good partial season with the Yankees.

In 58 games, Soriano smacked 17 home runs, drove in 50 runs and hit for a .256 batting average. He helped the Yankees win 31 of their final 60 games, which gave them an 85-77 record for the season.

A full season of a productive Soriano on the Yankees gives them a great opportunity to win at least 87 games this season.

The Yankees’ offseason moves has definitely inspired tremendous optimism for the team’s chances this season. There are three reasons why they could win less than 87 games this season.

1. Age: Age is a two-way street when it comes to sports.

It is great to have many ‘older’ players on a team because they have achieved at least some success and typically are a good presence in the locker. It is also not a great thing to have many ‘older’ players on a team.

There have been numerous players in baseball who have gotten injured more often after turning 30-years-old than beforehand. The Yankees have many players in their starting lineup and their rotation that are at least 30-years-old.

Some of these players have missed a significant amount of playing time since they have turned 30-years-old. As aforementioned, shortstop Derek Jeter and first baseman Mark Teixeira played in only 32 combined games last season.

Jeter will turn 40-years-old on June 26 and Teixeira will turn 34-years-old on Apr. 11. The ‘age’ factor has been well documented in the media as a potential cause of concern.

If the Yankees’ players ‘show their age’ this season, then it could result in the Yankees winning fewer than 87 games this season.

2. Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka: The New York Yankees could have two pitchers in their rotation who have a combined one-year of MLB experience.

Seattle Mariners’ starting pitcher Michael Pineda pitched one-season with the team; 2011 season. In 28 starts, he had a 9-10 record with a 3.74 ERA and 173 strikeouts in 171 Innings.

On Jan. 12, 2012, the Mariners traded Pineda to the Yankees in exchange for catching prospect Jesus Montero and right-handed pitcher Hector Noesi, according to ESPNNewYork.com. Since that trade, Pineda has pitched in zero games for the Yankees.

He has dealt with injuries that caused him to pitch sparingly in some rehabilitation starts last season, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Pineda is one of the Yankees’ starting pitchers who are competing for the final spot in the team’s rotation.

Yankee Stadium is known to be much more of a ‘hitter’s’ ballpark compared to Safeco Field; Seattle Mariners’ stadium. Pineda will have to adjust to the dimensions of Yankee Stadium.

Unlike Pineda, starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has a guaranteed spot in the team’s rotation.

Tanaka had been dominant in the Japanese Pacific League between 2007 and 2013. He had a 99-35 record with a 1.27 ERA and 1,238 strikeouts in 1,315 Innings through seven seasons.

He was a free agent this offseason where many MLB teams bid for him. On Jan. 22, the Yankees signed him to a seven-year, $155 million contract, according to Marchand.

The main adjustment Tanaka will have to make beside the competition is the size of the baseball. According to Rotoworld.com, on June 18, “they use a slightly smaller ball in Japan, and the transition to the larger baseball is one of the reasons the Tanaka detractors cite as a risk involved in handing him a massive contract. While it may take a small adjustment period, it’s doubtful it will have any major negative effect.”

Japanese starting pitchers have had mixed success in the MLB, such as Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish and former Yankees’ Kei Igawa.

If Pineda and Tanaka struggle this season, then it could result in the Yankees winning fewer than 87 games this season.

3. David Robertson: The New York Yankees had future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera closing out games for the team from 1996 to 2013. As aforementioned, Rivera retired at the end of the 2013 season.

They will be using David Robertson as their closer this season. He has experienced mixed success in his career when he has filled-in as the team’s closer.

Robertson also has proven that he has the intangibles that could lead to him having tremendous success as the team’s closer. He will be a full-time closer in his career.

Plenty of closers have succeeded in their first season, but others have failed. In the Bronx, the pressure to excel in the closer’s role is greater because of Rivera.

Rivera’s tremendous success in the closer’s role has given Robertson huge shoes to fill this season. It has also raised the expectations among the Yankees’ faithful for expectations from the closer.

Robertson could excel or falter in his first season as a full-time closer.

If he falters, then the Yankees could win fewer than 87 games this season. (for more on Robertson’s potential as a closer, check out Noah Weintraub’s article.)

Bovado has most likely taken everything into account in their initial betting line. In order for the Yankees to have a ‘successful’ season, they need to win more than 87 games this season.

How many games will the New York Yankees win this season?

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Co-Editor James McDermott gave his own New York Yankees’ 2014 prediction earlier this month: http://empirewritesback.com/2014/02/18/predicting-mets-yankees-win-totals-2014/

Tags: New York Yankees

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