Via Forbes -
The Bronx Bombers are set to open the 2013 season on April 1 with $90 million worth of payroll on the disabled list, as they pick through spring training garage sales to fill out the roster. Of those who do take the field against the Red Sox, none will be younger than 30 aside from outfielder Brett Gardner, who turns 30 in August and who’s coming off elbow surgery.
No Alex Rodriguez, no Derek Jeter, no Mark Teixeira. No Curtis Granderson or Phil Hughes. Not all of them will necessarily be out long, but not everyone on the healthy list will necessarily stay there either (who thinks Kevin Youkillis and Andy Pettitte will put in healthy, full seasons? Or that Jeter will be just fine once he rests his ankle a bit more in early April?).
Short of a miracle, it’s time for the Yankees to look ahead.
Maybe the Yankees will surprise people by holding it together for another season. Maybe 40-ish pitchers Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda will stay healthy and team with CC Sabathia to form a solid starting rotation. Maybe veterans like Ichiro Suzuki , Kevin Youkillis and Vernon Wells will be productive enough to help Cano lead a decent offense, keeping the club above water until the reinforcements arrive from the disabled list.
Most likely, though, the club is going nowhere. Even Granderson (32) and Teixeira (33), the relative babies of the roster, are slipping incrementally past their primes. Studies appearing in publications like Baseball Prospectus show that a typical major leaguer peaks between the ages of 26 and 29. The Yankees have essentially no key players in that category. The club continues to force feed the model of perennial contention as it watches the core rot away.
O.K., so, this is the last pre-season “beware” item that I will share on the Yankees. As I post this, Opening Day 2013 for the Yankees is about 19.5 hours away. No matter what your view on the current state of the Yankees and their prospects for this season, and, no matter what you think about the direction the front office is forging for this team, it’s time to get yourself into a position where you can enjoy this baseball season.
Personally, I am very excited about this year, overall, as a baseball fan. The Central Divisions in both leagues do not appear to be very deep. But, everywhere else, it looks like we should see some good battles in the standings. Teams will be playing with a lot on the line, for the most part.
As far as the Yankees, without question, albeit for whatever reason, this may be the worst collection of talent that they have to open the season in a very long time. And, while many think this is just an early speed bump, I don’t believe it. Yes, Granderson will be back. But, he may suck when he comes back – see the way he closed out 2012. And, there’s a chance that Teixeira and A-Rod come back this year. But, given their recent performance trends and the nature of their injuries, they will not be studs upon their return. Lastly, I fear for Derek Jeter. His age and the fact that his repaired ankle will hurt his mobility suggest his better days are behind him too.
Yet, I am willing to see where it goes with the Yankees. This will be a test on Joe Girardi. And, I don’t think he will fail. Granted, the Yankees, even with Joe as skipper, will probably fall short of a playoff spot. But, I still think they can win 87 games. Heck, I expect them to win that many contests. And, I will try not to wig out that much when they lose 75 games this year – as best that I can…
In Yankeeland, this year, it’s “Expect Nothing; Be prepared for anything!” At the least, it should make for interesting watching…and, I do look forward to do that now.