For New York Yankees’ fans, 2013 has not been a kind year. They’ve seen their team battle through injury after injury in a tough American League East and are in some unfamiliar territory, fourth place. Yet, does general manager Brian Cashman have a back-up plan?
Unfortunately for the Yankees, they are stuck in a very uncomfortable spot and may see themselves in the bottom of the division for awhile.
The general idea was that the signing of guys like Lyle Overbay, Kevin Youkilis and the trade of Vernon Wells would impact the team in some way, shape or form. Well, really only Overbay has played to the expectations of the New York pressure as Wells trailed off and Youkilis’ injury has had him sidelined for the longest time. Not to mention that the Yankees inability to re-sign Russell Martin put a huge void in the catcher’s position, something that Chris Stewart and rookie Austin Romine have been scraping by on.
Free-agents and contracts aside, another big blow to the Bronx Bombers were and still are the injuries that have absolutely plagued their season. Perhaps Derek Jeter breaking his ankle in last year’s ALCS was the catalyst for all this, but the Yankees have been fragile this season. Jeter finds himself on the disabled list for the third time in the season.
Other injuries include Curtis Granderson (though he is back) who broke his hand in Spring Training when he was drilled by a pitch, only to come back during the season and have the same thing happen again. Mark Teixeira has been unable to stay healthy with wrist problems and Alex Rodriguez‘s hips had been giving him trouble. With those four out the way, other Yankees who have or are currently spending time on the DL are: Travis Hafner, David Phelps, Luis Cruz, Zoilo Almonte, Eduardo Nunez, Francisco Cervelli, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Andy Pettitte and so on and so forth.
Now, once the smoke settles from all banged up players, the Yankees still face the same problem they have for awhile, age. There’s no denying that this New York team is one of the oldest in the majors and there aren’t a whole lot of players to fill those holes. Sure the Yankees have experimented around with David Adams, Corban Joseph, Melky Mesa and Almonte this season, but are they truly ready to become everyday players?
The biggest question that remains for the Yanks is if and how do they re-sign All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano who will be a free-agent after 2013? Cashman and the Steinbrenners know full well they want to avoid the $189 million luxury tax at all costs, but for such a spendthrift organization, it almost seems impossible. Not to mention, Hiroki Kuroda and Granderson will also be free-agents after the season ends. When A-Rod’s scenario clears out and if the Yankees are able to negate the rest of his contract, then there’s some money to spend, but should they focus on aging players or bring in younger talent?
Perhaps one of the biggest collapses for the team has been their starting pitching. Lately, Kuroda and Nova have been the only two reliable starters. Sabathia, Pettitte and Phil Hughes look absolutely dreadful in their starts, all getting tagged for a substantial amount of runs. The Yankees have seemed to shy away from the idea of starting Phelps and Adam Warren on a consistent basis and sent down Vidal Nuno, who did well in three starts, but those three may be in the team’s future starting rotation.
Out of the All-Star break gate, the Bombers have played some poor baseball, going 6-12 and this scary trend for the team doesn’t seem to be going away. Right now, the Yankees sit at 57-56, being 11 games out of first in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals (who are in sixth) for the Wild Card. Hopefully for the Yankee faithful, the organization can figure out the many problems that lay ahead or else they’re going to see some dark times for the next few years.