With Opening Day less than two weeks away, now is the time to speculate about what kind of season the Yankees will have. Yesterday, Tanya imagined what the team's best case scenario would look like if everything went right. It would be great to see the Yankees win the World Series this year, but what if everything goes wrong?
Injuries will make or break the team
This is undoubtedly true of every team, every season. Last year, the Yankees seemingly lucked out in the injury department. Every starter in the Opening Day rotation (with the exception of Adam Warren) ended up on the disabled list at some point during the season, yet there was not too much overlap regarding the timing of the injuries. For example, CC Sabathia came off of the disabled list after experiencing a flare up in his degenerative knee condition right around the time that Nathan Eovaldi went on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.
The only thing worse than injuries to the entire rotation would be everyone being injured at the same time. Masahiro Tanaka's elbow, Michael Pineda's shoulder and CC Sabathia's knee could all give out simultaneously. The Yankees do not have a lot of starting pitching depth, so they would have to rely on Ivan Nova (if he does not make the rotation) or Triple-A pitchers such as Bryan Mitchell. If multiple starters go down at a time, the team might have to look outside of the organization to find starting pitchers.
Of course, the rest of the team is open to possible injuries, as well. Not only did Brett Gardner spend most of last season nursing a wrist injury, but he also showed up to spring training with a bone bruise in the other wrist. Fellow outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, was recently drilled in the wrist while batting. Although his test results came back negative, it is unclear when he will be back in games. Worst case scenario? The two are hampered by wrist injuries all season.
The veterans show their age
What if the team manages to stay healthy, but the veteran players start to show their age? Alex Rodriguez surprised everyone by putting together a great 2015 campaign. Based on the Instagram and Twitter workouts he posted all offseason, Rodriguez is in good shape. However, he is 40 years old and at some point his performance will start to decline. It remains to be seen if that will happen this season, but it is a possibility.
The same can be said for Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran. Tex is coming off of a huge season, similar to A-Rod's, in which he put up some of his best numbers in several years. It would be great to see Tex replicate his 2015 performance (minus the broken leg), but that might not be realistic.
Beltran really had a bounce back 2015 season, following his mediocre 2014 performance. The 38-year-old is far from the Yankees' best fielder, but the team really has no choice but to put him in right field if they want his bat in the lineup. If Beltran experiences a decline at the plate, it will be difficult to justify him continuing to play right field. The lineup will be in serious trouble if all three of these players happen to have poor seasons.
Last year, the Yankees were lucky to not have to worry about most of these issues. The team did have injuries, but they also had adequate replacements available. A-Rod, Beltran and Tex all played like younger versions of themselves. There was a chance for everything to go wrong, but it didn't. Fingers crossed that the Yankees don't encounter any of these issues this year either.