As the Yankees get set to start the 2013 baseball season, the optimism surrounding the team is as low as its been since the early 1990s.
Throughout the course of the off-season the Yankees lost Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, and Raul Ibanez to free agency. They opted not to resign Andruw Jones. First baseman Mark Texiera could be out the entire season with a partially torn ligament in his wrist, the same injury Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista missed the season with. Curtis Granderson will miss at least the first month of the season with a broken forearm, and Alex Rodriguez is slated to be back with the team after the all-star break. There’s a chance he too doesn’t take the field for New York this season. If you add the numbers of the players the Yankees lost in the off-season, with the one’s currently hurt, they come out to the Yankees losing 157 Home Runs and 432 RBIs combined. But of all the biggest issues coming into the season, the Yankees biggest concern should be the health of Derek Jeter. Here’s what Brian Cashman said today about Jeter’s current situation:
“At this stage, I just don’t know, so all I can do is acknowledge it’s a possibility. We’ve got to do what’s right for him. Whatever’s right for him will be right for us. I’m not saying he’s going to be DLed, but I can’t tell you it won’t be. I don’t think it’s anything serious, I just think it’s a timing issue.”
If Jeter misses extended time to start the season, the Yankees will be in serious trouble. Last season’s playoffs showed just how important Jeter is to the Yankees. The Yankees had just completed an improbable comeback in game 1 against the Tigers. They were down to their last out, and Raul Ibanez drilled a home run to tie it and the Yankees were on their way to a dramatic playoff win. Then, Jeter harmlessly fell down, and didn’t get up. He was helped off the field and was instantly done for the season. After his injury, the Yankees completely fell apart. They ended up losing game 1 in extra innings, and would end up getting swept. The fight in the Yankees seemingly evaporated the moment Jeter left.
Derek Jeter has been the tempo setter for the Yankees ever since he took over the shortstop role in 1996. He rarely/never shows any panic, and is as clutch a player who’s ever played. When addressing his ankle, Jeter calmly says he’s “not concerned”. There aren’t many players managers would pick in a big spot over Jeter. The loss of players like Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Mark Texiera, Raul Ibanez, and Eric Chavez is certainly a lot to over come. Adding Jeter to that list would be the biggest blow thus far. There’s still a pretty decent chance Jeter is playing shortstop on April 1st against the Red Sox. But if he’s not, the Yankees will not only be losing the heart and would of their team, but it would also mean Eduardo Nunez and his erratic throwing arm will be the starting shortstop. In 77 games at shortstop in his career, Nunez committed 18 errors, about 1 every four games. Not going to cut it in the majors.
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