Are The Yankees Too Old?

As March passes by, the smell of hot dogs and peanuts become familiar again. Baseball is back and this year might be different than most years for the Yankees. They’re aging rapidly and are battling injuries before their first pitch has even been thrown. Historians have cited the underachieving 1965 Yankees as an example for this year’s squad. The 1965 team, which included Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, and numerous other household names was beset by injuries and old age from the start. That Yankee team went 77-85 and finished in 6th place. The Yankees did not rebound from their free fall until 1974.

The Yankees will continue their quest for 28 World Series rings this year

The 2013 edition has a similar feel to the 1965 team. Among those injured is their captain Derek Jeter, who looks to come out strong after an all star caliber year in 2012. Also among the wounded is Curtis Granderson, who tallied 43 homers last year for the Bombers, and reigning Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira. Then there’s Alex Rodriguez. The 37 year old third baseman is dealing with a steroid allegation and is also out until at least June recovering from hip surgery. They’ve also lost Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibañez and Eric Chavez to free agency. With all of the losses, the Yankees will head into opening day without a combined 180 homeruns from last season. With a hole at 3rd base, the Yankees went out and signed Kevin Youkilis. The former Red Sox player will be a fan favorite in the Bronx after flipping sides in the Yanks-Sox rivalry. The Bombers also brought in Travis Hafner, Ben Francisco, Brennan Boesch and Vernon Wells to round out the lineup.

The rotation this year could be the most critical factor in determining where the Yankees will fall in the standings. C.C. Sabathia will lead the pack as the Yanks’ ace. Hiroki Kuroda will follow, a season after establishing career highs in wins, starts, innings and strikeouts. Andy Pettitte, Ivan Nova and David Phelps will round out the rotation. Looking ahead to July, the Phillies will almost certainly be shopping Cliff Lee if he doesn’t perform to their high expectations. The Yankees have looked at adding Lee over the last couple years, so don’t be surprised if they contact the Phillies for an asking price.
In the bullpen, Mariano Rivera looks to finish his career in style this season, and you can be sure that most, if not all of the stadiums he visits will honor him with gifts and tributes. A confident David Robertson is what the Yankees need, after he lost the closer job last season to Rafael Soriano. He’ll be the setup man for Mo this year and hopes to be the closer next season.
If the Yankees can make it to June without falling apart, I expect them to slip into the playoffs as the 2nd wild card team and prove the historians wrong. While the team remains confident headed into the season, it could be a very bumpy ride.

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