It’s not even St. Patrick’s Day and the New York Yankees are in trouble. I know they have a huge payroll and can buy any player to fix any need at any time, but this is different. The Yanks are being mauled by injuries in spring training and you can feel their fans starting to get nervous.
The latest casualty is first baseman Mark Teixeira, who has a strained wrist tendon and is expected to miss 8-10 weeks. Add him to a list that includes Curtis Granderson (broken forearm out 8-10 weeks), Phil Hughes (back), Derek Jeter (recovering from broken ankle), Alex Rodriguez (hip) and Mariano Rivera (recovering from major knee surgery).
Wrist injuries are tricky. Ask any Red Sox fan. Nomar Garciaparra was never the same after Al Reyes broke his wrist in 1999. There are no guarantees Teixeira fully recovers.
At some point it becomes too much to overcome when you lose all these stars at once. Look at the 2010 Red Sox, who hung in the pennant race until mid-September but eventually succumbed to too many man games lost to injury by their big players.
I’ve been saying all off season that the Yankees could be in trouble and that this could be the year it all goes bad for them because of all the age they have. In fact, I made a video about it a few weeks ago on my web show, which you can view here: http://youtu.be/iIlbWVlf1zA
I just didn’t see where the Yankees improved themselves after the Tigers and Orioles exposed their offense in the playoffs. They didn’t re-sign Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez or Eric Chavez and now they’ve lost two huge offensive forces in the middle of their order to long term injuries. It’s going to be fascinating to see how Robinson Cano functions in this lineup with very little protection around him early in the season.
Their pitching staff is a major problem too. There’s too much age on it and the Yankees arrogantly decided to simply bring back 38-year old Hiroki Kuroda and 41-year old Andy Pettitte as their major moves.
Plus, CC Sabathia had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow, Rivera is 43 with no guarantee he’ll be what he was even though we all see him as the Bionic Man. They let Rafael Soriano, his insurance policy, go to Washington so the bullpen also has questions.
This is the perfect storm of trouble for the Yanks. When you add the age, untimely injuries to major players and their sudden austerity spending program together you are looking at a potential catastrophe of a season.
You can feel the noose tightening around the neck of Yankees fans. Just listen to them call in to WFAN radio in New York if you get the chance. They want GM Brian Cashman’s head on a platter because of the lack of off season moves. As a Red Sox fan, it’s hilarious to see this unfold.
Yankee fans reveled in the misery of the 2012 Red Sox season. But payback is a you-know-what and now it may be time for the Yankees and their fans to pay the piper for making the playoffs 15 of the last 16 years.
The message? Nothing lasts forever and you cannot defeat father time. Eventually the long playoff runs come to an end. Again, just ask any Red Sox fan. It can all disappear in a minute.
Both Cashman and Joe Girardi say “don’t worry, we’ve got veterans that have faced this before and know how to adjust and win, we’ve been counted out before.” Maybe so but they’ve never been decimated by injuries quite like this.
If it keeps up, and the Yanks can’t replace Teixeira with say, a Justin Morneau, it may just be a reversal of fortune as Sox fans get to have the last laugh in 2013 while the Yankees struggle to win 75 games.