Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The way 2013 went for the Yankees, just know that it can't get much worse in 2014.

Last Spring Training, Mariano Rivera announced his retirement, the Alex Rodriguez Biogenesis Scandal took off, and the heap of injuries got off to a hot start, bringing down both Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira early in the spring.

Derek Jeter came back in the spring, then went down again, playing in just 17 games throughout the entire seasons, spending four separate occasions in the disabled list. It was a "nightmare" season that he and everyone else are trying to forget.

Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells made the club out of Spring Training. Overbay figured to play through the first month while Teixeira rehabbed his wrist injury.

That one month dragged into two, then lasted the entire season when Teixeira needed surgery on his wrist, leaving Overbay as the only first base candidate.

The Yankees were a first place club at one point in May, surprising the league with their decent starting pitching and surprising good offensive contributions from Wells and Hafner. But as May dragged on, then turned into June, the Yankees couldn't buy a run, leading them to their lowest point of the season.

And did I mention the A-Rod suspension scandal? That was only what everyone was talking about in July and through the rest of the season.

A-Rod threw lawsuits at everyone. Major League Baseball suspended him for 211-games. And Brian Cashman did what many fans wanted say, telling A-Rod to "shut the f**k up."

(I can't lie, I found is very assuming when A-Rod homered off Ryan Dempster after he had threw at A-Rod three times before hitting him in the previous at-bat.)

Then in September, Andy Pettitte announced his plans to retire and ride off into the sunset with Mariano. At least the baseball gods were kind to those two, letting them go out on top. Rivera left the game just as good as he was in his prime, and Pettitte closed out his career with a complete-game victory over the Houston Astros, his hometown team.

The endings for those two were far better than the Yankees', who missed the playoffs for the second time since 2008.

To make matters worse, Robinson Cano, the team's best player, left the Bronx to sign with the Seattle Mariners. Things won't be the same without Cano in the lineup next season, but I can say this: it'll be a much better year for the Yankees in 2014.

The Yankees have spent over $300 million on players so far this winter -- Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran -- and still hoping to land Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka for, most likely, another $100 million or more.

Joe Girardi put together his best manager job with a team riddled by injuries that was already expected to have no shot at making the players at full-strenght. Yet, he kept them in contention up until the final week of the season, and was able to cox 85 wins out of them.

There is no way that the injuries suffered in 2013 can continue to pile up in '14. Granderson's injuries were freak injuries. Jeter's were the cause of not having the time to get his legs in shape. And Teixeira's was because, well, we all know how tricky wrists can be.

Sure, the Yankees have added a few players with injury histories -- Ellsbury, Beltran and Brian Roberts. Even McCann missed some time early last season because of a shoulder injury. But that one I wouldn't worry too much about.

The Yankees finished third place in the AL East last season with a roster that we can all agree was not very good. They have improved very much in the lineup, and still need to address the holes in the bullpen and rotation, which I believe they will.

The ball dropped in Times Square last night, and that means 2014 is finally here. It's going to be a much better year in the Bronx. I can just feel it.


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