THE BLOG

New York Yankees: Can the Yankees Still Win in 2013?

03/07/2013 03:45 pm ET | Updated May 07, 2013

What is happening to the Red Sox arch rival this spring should be somewhat familiar to Red Sox fans, and not entirely shocking to Yankee fans.

After all, weren't the Yankees due for this?

By now just about anyone following baseball knows that the Yankees are currently the sport's most maligned team when it comes to injuries.

It's bad enough that the Yankees were already counting on healthy returns from injury for two of its' most decorated stars.

Derek Jeter is 38 years old and coming back from a fractured ankle. Mariano Rivera is 43 years old and trying to bounce back from a torn ACL. Even if that were the extent of health concerns for the Yankees they'd be legit concerns. After all, no two players on the roster have been more critical to the team's long-term success than the future hall of fame closer and shortstop.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, the concerns about those two aging stars ability to come back from injury has been overshadowed by concerns about a when a number of other key players will be healthy enough to resume playing.

We're not talking about role players here either.

Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are all hurt. The three players represent a good percentage of offensive production and salary for the Yankees.

Rodriguez is recovering from his second major hip surgery and hopes to be back sometime after the 2013 All Star break.

Granderson was hit by a J.A. Happ pitch during his first at-bat of spring training. The pitch broke his forearm and he's expected to miss 10 weeks.

Mark Teixeira, the Yankees first baseman hurt his wrist hitting a ball off a tee this past weekend. The strained wrist tendon is expected to sideline Teixeira for 10 weeks.

It doesn't matter whether you love or hate the Yankees, this is bad.

On the one hand, shouldn't the Yankees have anticipated this type of thing happening?

Sure some of the injuries are a bit flukey. When your roster is comprised mostly of players who are older than 30, and you're a team that has had fairly good luck with injuries over the years, perhaps the Yankees were due for this type of problem?

The current injuries aren't the only problems facing the Yankees. The remainder of the roster isn't exactly known for durability.

Brett Gardner missed nearly all of last season with injuries. Ichiro Suzuki has been one of baseball's most reliable and healthy players, but he's also 39 years old and at some point even his body will begin to breakdown.

Kevin Youkilis hasn't played in more than 122 games since the 2009 season. Travis Hafner hasn't played in more than 118 games since 2007.

The more one looks at the Yankees roster and their long list of injuries, the less confident one feels in the team's chances at a return to the postseason.

Yet there's one thing a lot of people seem to be forgetting.

It is early, not just a little early, it is really early in the baseball season.

Ten weeks in the NFL is more than half the season. Ten weeks of the baseball season, especially when those 10 weeks start being counted in early March, well those 10 weeks barely equate to a quarter of the baseball season.

Yes, the Yankees are old, injured and at some point in the not too distant future the team will require an influx of younger talent.

That point may be this season, but it is just too soon to say right now.

By mid-May both Granderson and Teixeira should be back from their current injuries. Jeter appears on pace to be good to go for opening day. Mariano Rivera is on pace for opening day as well, and while he's old, he's been so good for so long it is hard to imagine he won't be one of the better closers in the American League for a little longer.

The Yankees appear primed to get off to a poor start this season, but that doesn't mean they can't come back and become a contender, or even a playoff team.

Back in 2007 the Yankees got off to a bad start.

On May 1, 2007 the Yankees were in last place in the American League East. It was still very early, but by July 1, 2007 things hadn't improved all that much.

On July 1, 2007 the Yankees were in third place, 10.5 games out of first place and had a below .500 record of 38-41. By any definition they weren't a very good baseball team.

Baseball is funny though. The length of the season and the amount of games can be both grueling and forgiving. In 2007 the Yankees finished the regular season with a record of 94-68, they didn't win the American League East, but they were the American League's wild card entry. Since then, baseball has expanded their playoff pool to include two wild card teams.

As bad as the Yankees current injury issues are, the team could be totally healthy by August 1, and that's simply not too late in a baseball season for a team to gel and become a legit contender.

The Yankees are major league baseball's winningest franchise, they've got a long decorated history of success. They're also currently the league's oldest and most banged up squad.

It's not even opening day though. It is simply too early to declare a team in, or out of the playoffs. The Yankees could win the American League East or finish in last place.

That's part of why baseball season is so much fun.