While the Yankees are focused on transitioning into a youth movement, they have to rely on their veterans to carry them.
The Yankees veterans, notably Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley are hoping to contribute in a big way this season. Not only are they hoping to lift the weight off the youth’s shoulders, but the manager is expecting more from his older players.
“I’ve said all along that it’s important that the veterans do their job, so all of this doesn’t fall on the young players. Because I don’t think that’s fair,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said following the Yankees 7-3 loss on Monday afternoon. “So you start looking at the veteran hitters that we have. Gardy and Ells (Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury). And you look at (Chase) Headley. And you look at Starlin Castro and (injured) Didi Gregorius are somewhat younger, but I still think they’re veterans. And Matt Holliday. They have to do their job.
“And if they do their job, this offense is going to be very good.”
The Yankees were notably quiet against Chris Archer and the Tampa Bay Rays, with the first five batters in the order going 1-for-20–the lone hit out of the five came from Gardner, who notched a single in his final at-bat.
However, in order for the team to be successful, Gardner thinks every component on the team has to gel together and become one.
“I don’t think that two veterans need to carry the load for everybody, or that three young guys need to carry weight for everybody. I think everybody needs to do their job,” Gardner said. “We’ve still got nine guys in the lineup. You can’t win baseball games if you’ve got two or three guys in the lineup.
“I’ve got to do my job; I’ve got to be better than I was last year, Jacoby, Chase, Starlin. Yeah, we’ve got to do our jobs, but it’s up to everybody collectively as a group – pitchers, catchers, hitters and defense.”
Pitchers and catchers are important, with CC Sabathia slated to start tonight against Jake Odorizzi. But the difference between being a .500 club and a Wild Card contender is hitting, something the Yankees need to work on if they want to be successful.
“I think we have some really good young players. I think people are going to see overall in the season that these guys are really good,” Holiday said. “We’re going to have to out and play, but I think the potential is there.
“It doesn’t matter who you are — young, old — it’s always good to get off to a good start and get some confidence and momentum going.”