For a decade and a half the New York Yankees have all but dominated the AL East, winning 12 of the last 15 division titles winning at least 95 games in 11 of those season. How does it look for the Yankees to make it 13 out of 16? Here is a look at the 2013 New York Yankees:
Additions: 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis, DH Travis Hafner, OF Matt Diaz, 1B Dan Johnson, OF Juan Rivera, and RP Shawn Kelley.
Departures: OF Raul Ibanez, OF Andruw Jones, OF Nick Swisher, C Russell Martin, 1B/3B Eric Chavez, INF Casey McGehee, INF Steve Pearce, SP Freddy Garcia, SP Derek Lowe, RP Cory Wade, and RP Rafael Soriano.
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This roster, when healthy, is very talented and balanced. The lineup, although weakened by the loss of Granderson for 10 weeks and A-Rod until midseason, can still hit when all of their pieces are on the field. After all this team led the league in SLG last year and added potential 20+ HR guys in Rivera, Hafner, and Youkilis.
The rotation is front heavy (pun intended) with Sabathia, Kuroda, and Pettitte. If these three can make 30 starts each, this rotation could be extremely solid. They will need one of their younger pitchers (Nova or Hughes) to step up though if this team really wants to compete.
I have been saying for months that the Yankees will struggle to stay healthy and not even a week into spring training and 2 of their all stars on shelved for 10+ weeks. Not to mention Gardner, Teixeira, Robertson, Pettitte, and Chamberlain were all injured at some point last year. Plus, new additions Youkillis, Rivera, and Hafner have all been very injury prone over their careers, which could lead to serious depth problems. Then add in the fact that Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and C.C. Sabathia are all coming off surgery and you have a recipe for disaster.
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I have a hard time believing that with the new look Blue Jays, a solid Rays team, a much improved Sox squad, and a pesky Orioles team in the mix, that the Yankees will find a way to overcome their fragility and win the division. If the Yankees can find a way to stay in it though, and get enough people healthy down the stretch, a wild card certainly isn’t out of the question. Then, maybe Mariano Rivera will take a page from the Ray Lewis playbook? Seemed to work pretty well for the Ravens.
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