2013 New York Yankees: Major League Baseball's Most Valuable Franchise Sports Bargain-Basement Opening Day Lineup [PHOTOS]

  • C.C. Sabathia, Starting Pitcher
    New York Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia pitches against the Miami Marlins during an MLB spring-training game March 15 in Tampa, Fla. For the Yankees last year, Sabathia had a 15-6 won-loss record and a 3.38 ERA. As the ace of the staff, Sabathia also was the starting pitcher on the club's Opening Day last year and is one of only three repeaters in the team's Opening Day lineup this year. Sabathia's reported salary was $23 million in 2012 and is the same in 2013 (Spotrac). Reuters
  • Chris Stewart, Catcher
    New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart warms up before facing the St. Louis Cardinals in an MLB spring-training game March 7 in Jupiter. Fla. For the Yankees last year, Stewart batted .241, with 1 home run and 13 RBIs, in 157 plate appearances. In the Opening Day lineup, he will replace the now-departed Russell Martin, who earned an estimated $7.5 million last year. Stewart's reported salary was $482,500 in 2012 and is $500,000 in 2013 (Baseball Player Salaries). Reuters
  • Kevin Youkilis, First Baseman
    New York Yankees corner infielder Kevin Youkilis hits a home run in an MLB spring-training game against the St. Louis Cardinals March 11 in Tampa, Fla. In a deal last December, the Yankees signed him as a free agent. For the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox last year, Youkilis batted .235, with 19 home run and 60 RBIs, in 509 plate appearances. In the Opening Day lineup, he will replace the now-injured Mark Teixeira, who earned an estimated $22.5 million last year. Youkilis' reported salary was $12.25 million in 2012 and is $12 million in 2013 (Spotrac). Reuters
  • Robinson Cano, Second Baseman
    New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, left, celebrates with manager Joe Girardi and hitting coach Kevin Long after scoring in the third inning of an MLB spring-training game against the Detroit Tigers March 2 in Tampa, Fla. For the Yankees last year, Cano batted .313, with a career-high 33 home runs and 94 RBIs, in 627 plate appearances. One of only three repeaters in the club's Opening Day lineup this year, he was an American League All-Star as well as the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner at his position last year. Cano's reported salary was $14 million in 2012 and is $14 million in 2013 (Spotrac). Reuters
  • Jayson Nix, Third Baseman
    New York Yankees utility infielder Jayson Nix makes a running throw while playing third base against the Atlanta Braves during an MLB spring-training game March 9 in Tampa, Fla. For the Yankees last year, Nix batted .243, with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs, in 202 plate appearances. In the Opening Day lineup, he will replace the now-injured Alex Rodriguez, who earned an estimated $29 million last year. Nix's reported salary was $500,000 in 2012 (Baseball Player Salaries) and is $900,000 in 2013 (Spotrac). Reuters
  • Eduardo Nunez, Shortstop
    New York Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez singles during a MLB spring-training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates March 17 in Bradenton, Fla. For the Yankees last year, Nunez batted .292, with 1 home run and 11 RBIs, in 100 plate appearances. In the Opening Day lineup, he will replace the now-injured Derek Jeter, who earned an estimated $16 million last year. Nunez's reported salary was $523,800 in 2012 and is $500,000 in 2013 (Baseball Player Salaries). Reuters
  • Vernon Wells, Left Fielder
    Vernon Wells appears on the base paths as a member of the Los Angeles Angels in this file photograph. Wells was traded from the Angels to the Yankees March 26. For the Angels last year, Wells batted .230, with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs, in 262 plate appearances. In the Opening Day lineup, he will replace the now-in-center-field Brett Gardner, who earned an estimated $2.8 million last year. Wells' reported salary was $21 million in 2012 and is $11.5 million in 2013, at least as far as the Yankees are concerned (Spotrac). Reuters/Mark Blinch
  • Brett Gardner, Center Fielder
    New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner steals second base against the Detroit Tigers in an MLB spring-training game March 2 in Tampa, Fla. For the Yankees last year, Gardner batted .323, with no home runs and 3 RBIs, in 37 plate appearances during an injury-shortened season. One of only three repeaters in the club's Opening Day lineup this year, he will replace the now-injured Curtis Granderson, who earned an estimated $10 million last year. Gardner's reported salary was $2.8 million in 2012 and is $2.85 million in 2013 (Spotrac). Reuters
  • Ichiro Suzuki, Right Fielder
    New York Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki rips a single against the Toronto Blue Jays in an MLB spring-training game Feb. 28 in Tampa, Fla. For the Seattle Mariners and Yankees last year, Suzuki batted .283, with 9 home runs and 55 RBIs, in 663 plate appearances. In the Opening Day lineup, he will replace the now-departed Nick Swisher, who earned an estimated $10.25 million last year. Suzuki's reported salary was $17 million in 2012 and is $6.5 million in 2013 (Spotrac). Reuters
  • Ben Francisco, Designated Hitter
    New York Yankees designated hitter/outfielder Ben Francisco clubs a two-run double against the Philadelphia Phillies during an MLB spring-training game March 13 in Tampa, Fla. On March 11, the Cleveland Indians released Francisco and the Yankees signed him as a free agent. For the Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays last year, Francisco batted .240, with 4 home runs and 15 RBIs, in 207 plate appearances. In the Opening Day lineup, he will replace the now-departed Raul Ibanez, who earned an estimated $1.1 million last year. Francisco's reported salary was $1.54 million in 2012 and is $1.1 million in 2013 (USA Today). Reuters
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Statistically speaking -- the only way fans of the National Pastime talk around April Fools' Day -- the New York Yankees constitute the greatest organization in the history of Major League Baseball.

The club has won 27 World Series championships, an MLB record.

It has won 40 American League pennants, another MLB record.

And it has been designated by Forbes as the most valuable MLB team for the 16th consecutive year, worth $2.3 billion.

Between free-agent desertions and injuries, however, the Yankees' Opening Day lineup against the Boston Red Sox Monday will represent a sea change in the roster of the team that led the AL with a 95-67 won-loss record last year.

One reflection of this sea change is the difference between the annual salaries paid to players in the actual Opening Day lineup in 2012 (as reported by SB Nation) and those paid to players in the projected Opening Day lineup in 2013 (as reported by MLB.com).

Based on payroll data reported by Baseball-Reference.com -- as well as by Baseball Player Salaries, Spotrac and USA Today (where indicated parenthetically in the captions below the photographs in the slideshow above) -- players in the actual Opening Day lineup last year were paid annual salaries amounting to about $136.15 million and players in the projected Opening Day lineup this year will be paid annual salaries amounting to about $72.85 million.

As any Microsoft Excel spreadsheet will tell you, the Opening Day lineup players' annual salaries thus have fallen by about 46.5 percent from year to year.

Here's the Yankees' actual Opening Day lineup in 2012, position by position:

C.C. Sabathia, SP

Russell Martin, C

Mark Teixeira, 1B

Robinson Cano, 2B

Alex Rodriguez, 3B

Derek Jeter, SS

Brett Gardner, LF

Curtis Granderson, CF

Nick Swisher, RF

Raul Ibanez, DH

And here's the Yankees' projected Opening Day lineup in 2013, position by position:

C.C. Sabathia, SP

Chris Stewart, C

Kevin Youkilis, 1B

Robinson Cano, 2B

Jayson Nix, 3B

Eduardo Nunez, SS

Vernon Wells, LF

Brett Gardner, CF

Ichiro Suzuki, RF

Ben Francisco, DH

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