In the This Is My Nightmare series, we'll take a look at what the absolute worst case scenario for each team would be in 2013. Think of it as the negative complement to our You May Say I'm A Dreamer series that we'll be running during our preview series.
It's funny…a nightmare for the Yankees is pretty much a dream for every other fanbase across the league. But realistically, there's a lot that can go wrong with the Yankees, and it's mostly related to the health of the team. Let's start with Curtis Granderson. New York's left fielder is going to probably end up missing the first month of play with a fractured forearm. With Juan Rivera or Matt Diaz scheduled to replace Granderson to start the year, there's a very real possibility that either player plays so terribly that the Yankees get thrust into a deep hole offensively to start the year. Maybe Granderson's forearm takes longer than expected to heal, and the Yankees have to keep running Rivera and Diaz out there for longer than they expected.
What about Derek Jeter and his recovery from a broken ankle? Jeter still hasn't played in a Spring Training game, and his mobility at shortstop might be compromised (even more than it already has been) after the injury has healed. What if Jeter is so limited defensively that the Yankees need to start Eduardo Nunez at shortstop and force Jeter to DH, otherwise nine out of ten balls hit to the left side get through? That would eliminate Travis Hafner's bat from the lineup (if he already hasn't hurt himself, that is), and would limit Alex Rodriguez's effectiveness if he does indeed return this season.
Speaking of Rodriguez, wouldn't the ultimate nightmare scenario for Yankees fans involve Rodriguez's surgically repaired hip healing completely, and Rodriguez struggling terribly once he gets moved back into the lineup? With Rodriguez being limited to DH once he comes back, the Yankees need him to *hit*…and if he's not hitting, what good is he in that spot?
The Yankees starting pitching can also break down, and it's not a stretch to imagine what would happen. CC Sabathia has been a horse for his whole career, but cracks began to show last year, with Sabathia missing some time due to injury. Maybe that was just the beginning of the boulder beginning to roll downhill. And how about veterans Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte? Kuroda has had three straight very healthy seasons, but he's 38 and nearing the end of his career. It's not out of the realm of possibility to suggest that he'll begin to fade this season. As for Pettitte, the man only threw 75 1/3 innings last year after taking all of 2011 off. He'll be 41 in June, and his career could be coming to an end soon. There's also Phil Hughes, who has been chronically injured over his career, and Ivan Nova, who was extremely ineffective in 2012. Would you want to put all of your money on either of those two being able to carry the rotation?
This is definitely a very talented team, but it's a very old team that has holes. Even if the Yankees' stars put everything together in 2013, the team has enough holes where they might even not be a playoff team if everything falls into place.