A lot of baseball fans and media believe the reason the Toronto Blue Jays went “all in” this offseason is because the AL East seems up for grabs.
One of the reasons people have formed this opinion is because the New York Yankees, the AL East winner the last 2 seasons are aging and look vulnerable. The Yankees are aging is also the same excuse people have been hanging on to for years and it’s never affected them. Until you actually see their age affect them in the standings it’s probably just wishful thinking. We’ll see.
The vulnerable part could be right though.
One of the more valid reasons the Yankees could be worse in 2013 is because Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter are returning from long term injuries. A-Rod will also be coming back from a long term injury at some point in 2013, if he even does at all.
The Yankees also lost a lot of offense in the offseason. They lost Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez. They’ll be able to replace some of it with offseason additions Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner and a healthy year of Brett Gardner.
The thing is the players the Yankees lost or acquired in the offseason weren’t key parts to their offense. Curtis Granderson was but recently got injured and won’t rejoin the Yankees until at least some time in May.
Granderson has been one of the Yankees best hitters and power hitters the last few years so losing him for that long during the regular season is a big blow especially with all the issues addressed above.
In addition to Jeter coming back from an injury and A-Rod being out Mark Teixeira is famous for getting off to slow starts. Youkilis and Hafner don’t go yard as much as they used to either so the Yankees could end up just counting on Cano for power for the 1st month plus of the season.
The Yankees are obviously going to temporarily replace Curtis with someone from the minor leagues or from a trade, but they’re not going to be able to replace Granderson’s bat.
There’s no denying losing Granderson for however long he ends up being injured makes the Yankees a worse team and could inevitably cost them some games. Now it’s just up to the rest of the AL East to take advantage.