Can Derek Jeter and the Yankees make it to the playoffs?
Despite having baseball’s highest payroll, the Yankees will struggle to turn things around and earn a spot in the postseason.
Their offense isn’t as potent as years past and, aside from C.C. Sabathia, their pitching staff is inconsistent.
While their veteran core is a benefit at times, this may be the year that age catches up to the Yankees and they miss the playoffs.
Here are five reasons why the Yankees will miss the postseason in 2012.
Mariano Rivera's injury hurts a once loaded bullpen.
The New York Yankees have shown they could overcome injuries in the past, but 2012 could be the year the team can’t find a way to prevail.
This year is different because injuries have hit their pitching staff rather than their lineup.
Mariano Rivera and Michael Pineda are both done for the season. Rivera’s injury wouldn’t be as much of an issue, but it takes away one of the team’s few strengths. Rather than having three pitchers that could close and having one of baseball’s deepest bullpens, now they are just average.
Pineda’s season-ending injury is more damaging because they don’t have a pitcher that can step in and be as effective as the tall right-hander.
While the Yankees have two great pitching prospects in Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos, they are at least a year away from making an impact on the big club.
In years past, injuries have affected the lineup which was deep enough to withstand the loss of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, but the pitching staff won’t be able to survive without Rivera and Pineda.
Has age taken a toll on A-rod and the aging Yankees?
It was only a matter of time until age became a factor for the New York Yankees.
In 2012, the Yankees have the oldest roster in baseball with an average age of 31.5 years old according to ESPN.
While superstar Robinson Cano is still barely in his 20’s at 29 years old, only Cano and Russell Martin are under 30 and on the active roster.
With Brett Gardner on the DL, the Yankee lineup is the oldest in all of baseball. Derek Jeter is 37, Alex Rodriguez is 36 and even Mark Teixeira is 32.
A once young core of Cano, Curtis Granderson and Teixeira is no longer.
Even though Jeter may be having a great start in 2012, don’t expect the veteran to sustain this pace and a once dominant lineup could struggle over the long 162-game season.
Aside from C.C. Sabathia the Yankees lack dominant pitching.
The Yankees won in the past because they had great pitching.
Now, the Yankees are built around their offense.
Even though they have a true ace in C.C. Sabathia, the rest of their staff is either over the hill or underachieving.
Andy Pettitte has attempted a comeback, but he's clearly not the same pitcher he once was. Hiroki Kuroda (37) and Freddy Garcia (35) are both struggling at their advanced age.
Not only are their veterans struggling, but their young pitchers aren’t providing them with much success.
After a good 2011, Ivan Nova is just average and Phil Hughes—a once promising prospect—has failed to transition to a good pitcher in the majors.
What has happened to Mark Teixeira at the plate?
Even though Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano are having great years, the rest of the lineup has failed to produce.
Alex Rodriguez has only five home runs and is batting .270 through a quarter of a season—not what you expect from baseball’s highest paid player.
Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson have hit home runs, but they are batting a combined .255 through 41 games.
However, the biggest concern is Mark Teixeira. Since he joined the Yankees, his batting average has gone down every year and through 38 games, he's batting a career low .226.
A once potent Yankee lineup is looking more average by the day.
The Blue Jays and Orioles turnarounds make the AL East strogner than ever
While the Yankees have struggled to start the season, they will have a hard time gaining ground in what has become one of the deepest divisions in baseball.
A division once dominated by the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox is now deeper than it has ever been.
The Tampa Bay Rays have arguably the best pitching staff in the AL and, combined with timely hitting, they've shown they can survive a long season.
Lastly, even though the Red Sox have struggled to start the season, they are talented and will not go away.
The Yankees will have a difficult time making up ground against once weak opponents.