The prognostications for the Yankees 2013 season have featured a lot of “doom and gloom” by virtue of their aging rosters and the injuries that seem to keep racking up. However, things may not be as bleak as they seem and bear in mind that I am no doctor, although I have told innumerable people that I play one on TV, but from the news that has been coming out in regards to the slew of shelved Bombers it seems that this rag-tag group that will take the field on Opening Day will only have to “hold the fort” until June.
Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, who accounted for a combined 67 homers and 190 RBI’s last season, are slated to return from their respective stints on the DL, in May (Granderson) and June (Teixeira). Even in an absolute worst case scenario where this team finds themselves double-digit games under .500 (which is unlikely), there will still be more-than-ample time for them to find their groove with their sluggers back in the lineup. The best case scenario would be if the former center-piece of the Jesus Montero trade, Michael Pineda is able to work his way back from injury during that same time span in June. Imagine for a second, what these same talking heads will say if Pineda and his power arm join this already-formidable rotation, it will undoubtedly make them front-runners for the AL East once again.
Take a moment and try to look at the laundry list of key injuries as a blessing in disguise because it may actually force this team to figure out a way to score runs outside of the “long ball.” God forbid the vaunted Yankees ever try to manufacture a run and win a game 3-2 as opposed to 8-5. In the absence of their sluggers, the Yankees will be forced to adapt and will look a lot more like the Oakland A’s than the Yankees, especially having acquired high OBP guys over the off-season like Travis Hafner and the renowned “Greek God of Walks,” Kevin Youkilis.
The Yankees being forced to adapt the way in which they score runs comes at a convenient time, as realignment (for better-or-worse) has made Inter-league play a daily occurrence. Basically what I’m trying to say is start getting used to a lot more base-stealing and bunting in order to move runners over, essentially some more National League style baseball. The prospect is also a little scary if you think about it, especially with the age of the pitching staff, the likelihood of a Starter getting injured is increased exponentially by having to pick up a bat, just ask Chien-Ming Wang.
From a spoiled Yankee fan’s perspective, a little adversity should make things more fun ala the latter Torre years where early season swoons eventually gave way to late-season rallies and playoff berths. Regardless, fans should saddle up for a bumpy ride over the first few months of this season and think about warmer weather and hopefully a healthier roster.