Remember when the Yankees were completely healthy at the conclusion of spring training? It was only about a month and a half ago, but it seems like it was a million year ago.
This seems like a yearly occasion for the Yankees. Obviously, a big reason for that is their advanced age. In a new MLB without amphetamines and steroids older players have a tougher time remaining healthy and productive.
There is always going to be randomness and luck when it comes to injures. The two players on the Yankees roster who you would have considered the biggest health risks at the beginning of the season were Brian Roberts and Derek Jeter. Both of them have been completely healthy other than a minor injury for each.
Even though luck plays a big role, common sense dictates your chances of getting injured usually increase as you get older. This mostly seems to be the case with position players, as MLB currently has an epidemic with young pitcher blowing out their elbows.
Young pitchers getting hurt is just bad luck because if somebody can ever figure out why these pitchers are getting hurt they will be a millionaire. It hurt the Yankees in a huge way with Ivan Nova blowing out his elbow.
Age is certainly a big problem for the Yankees, but it is not the only problem. The biggest problem with the Yankees right now is that they have three starting pitchers on the DL. Two of them are Nova and Michael Pineda, who are both young and in their primes.
David Phelps and Vidal Nuno have yet to throw 90 pitches in a start. That has had a residual effect on other games and not just the ones they pitch. A huge reason why the Yankees lost last night was because Dellin Betances and Adam Warren were unavailable out of the bullpen because they were taxed.
One of the most exciting things about the Yankees in April was the infusion of young pitching they had in the rotation and in the bullpen. Pineda, Nova and Masahiro Tanaka looked like the makings of a great rotation for years to come. Two of them are injured and there is nothing that you can do about it.
The position players are a different story. The only position player the Yankees have under the age of 30 is Yangervis Solarte, who pretty much just fell into their laps and has ended up to be one of the MVPs of the team this season. The Yankees clearly need an infusion of youth there.
Two players the Yankees are relying on heavily offensively showed their age last night. The 34-year-old Mark Teixeira looked like he was running in mud when he couldn’t reach second on what should have been an easy double in the ninth inning last night. It cost the Yankees big time when Brian McCann hit into a hard luck double play to end the game.
Teixeira insisted that he will play tonight, but said fatigue is an issue for him right now. He has been amazingly productive this season when he has been on the field, but is a ticking time bomb for injuries.
The 37-year-old Carlos Beltran hyperextended his elbow last night in the Stadium batting cages and we are awaiting the MRI results from that. He has not been the same player since he tumbled over the right field wall in Tampa.
That is a freak accident that could happen to a player of any age, but Beltran has not looked good in the outfield this season at all. He has a history of knee problems and looks to be better suited to be a DH at this point in his career.
Age has not not only been an issue with guys missing time, but it has been an issue even when they’re on the field, particularly on defense. The Yankees’ defense has cost them numerous games this season and along with their starting pitching, is a monumental problem.
According to FanGraphs, Beltran, Teixiera, Roberts, Jeter and Alfonso Soriano have been worth a combined 15.5 runs below average on defense. It’s hard to win baseball games with so many poor defenders on the field at the same time, especially when two of them comprise your middle infield.
The Yankees are at the annual stage of their season when they are just trying to keep their heads above water until they get healthy again. The big question is that with their age will they ever be healthy this season, and even if they are will it matter?