The New York Yankees enter the 2013 season with as much uncertainty than at any time in the last 20 years. They kick off their campaign on Monday against the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
With an eye towards the $189 million luxury tax threshold next season, the Yankees allowed Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez to leave via free agency.
To make matters worse, injuries have swept New York much like the way the Detroit Tigers did in the 2012 ALCS, taking out Curtis Granderson with a fractured forearm, Mark Teixeira with a strained wrist and Alex Rodriguez with a torn hip labrum.
And of course, Derek Jeter will also start the year on the disabled list, as he deals with inflammation in his surgically repaired ankle. It's just the second time in the remarkable 18-year career of Jeter that he won't be in the lineup on Opening Day.
In fact only three players - Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano - were in the Opening Day lineup last season.
"We've gone through it here and there with some injuries," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Our guys have found a way, and I really believe they'll do that."
The Yankees were relatively quiet this offseason, but did sign former Boston standout Kevin Youkilis, who was traded by the Red Sox to Chicago at the trade deadline last year.
In addition to Youkilis, the Yankees have filled their voids with castoffs such as Brennan Bosch, Lyle Overbay and most notably Vernon Wells, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim a week ago.
There are some familiar faces in the starting rotation, but it is not without question marks of its own. One of those question marks include the big left- hander Sabathia, who will be on the hill Monday.
Sabathia made two trips to the DL in 2012 and had surgery this offseason to remove bone spurs in his elbow. Sabathia's said he's healthy, though, and ready to improve upon a season that saw him go 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA.
Boston, meanwhile, is trying to erase the memories of its worst season since 1965 when the Red Sox finished an embarrassing 62-100. Sweeping changes were made after the 93-loss season, as manager John Farrell was hired to replace Bobby Valentine in an effort to repair a pitching staff that finished 27th in the majors in ERA (5.19).
The Red Sox also bolstered their lineup this offseason with the additions of Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes. However, designated hitter David Ortiz and shortstop Stephen Drew will both miss time at the start of the year with injuries.
But, if Boston is going to make any noise this year in what is expected to be a competitive AL East Farrell is going to have work his magic with the pitching staff, most notably Monday's Opening Day starter Jon Lester.
Lester's confidence completely disappeared last season and he ended a miserable season, 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA.
This will be the 30th Opening Day matchup between these hated rivals with the Yankees holding an 18-11-1 edge.