Monday, March 18, 2013

Assessing the Yankees' chances in 2013: A Fan's Perspective

Not long ago, I wrote about the Mets' chances for possible post-season play in 2013, and I'd promised I'd do the Yankees as well. Here goes.

It's safe to say that despite the seemingly bottomless pit of money at their disposal, the Yankees aren't that much better off than the Mets in the grand scheme of things. The American League East's landscape is changing all around them, but it appeared during the offseason that the Bronx Bombers were reluctant to really make a splash.

Consider the subtractions. Catcher Russell Martin is in Pittsburgh. Reliever Rafael Soriano is in Washington. Outfielders Nick Swisher & Andruw Jones are in Cleveland and Japan, respectively, although presently, Jones is competing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Backup infielder Ramiro Pena is in Atlanta. Outfielder/DH Raul Ibanez returned to Seattle. Considering that the Yankees have been ravaged by injuries of late, the reluctance to open the checkbook may come back to haunt them.

Alex Rodriguez, if you believe the media, may be done as a Yankee. They filled the hole at third by signing Kevin Youkilis (Chicago), so that isn't as much of a problem as you'd think. However, their signing of Travis Hafner (Cleveland) proved to be handy after Mark Teixiera was forced to withdraw from the WBC before Team USA could play a game with a wrist injury that has him out until at least June. In today's New York Daily News, there were hints that Teixiera might be lost for the year if he has surgery on the wrist. Hafner is a first baseman by trade who has been mostly a DH because of injuries the last couple of years. Youkilis can also play first, but for now, he'll be the regular third baseman. Curtis Granderson went down with a broken arm, and won't be back until May at the earliest, so the Yankees signed one of his former mates from Detroit, Brennan Boesch, last week. Another problem solved, and yet, the media still acts like the sky is falling. It's New York. What did you expect?

In order for the Yankees to repeat as division champs, they have to not only hold off Baltimore, last year's runner-up, but the suddenly revamped Toronto Blue Jays, as well. Tampa Bay & Boston? Not so much. As loaded as Toronto appears to be, the one Achilles heel they may have might in fact be pitcher R. A. Dickey. The 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner with the Mets was not sharp in 2 WBC starts for Team USA. Luckily, the Jays loaded up on starting pitching in the offseason to make them the popular choice. The WBC has kept the new-look Jays from fully developing team chemistry, and with 2 weeks before opening day, well.....!

So, do the Yankees win the division? I am still not sure. Division previews begin later this week, and we'll see about the AL East then.

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