2013 MLB Preview: AL East – Dark days in New York

It’s been one of the most competitive divisions in Major League Baseball over the past decade – and this year, once again, it could be one of the hardest divisions to predict.

It’s the American League East.

But, despite how hard it may be to pull apart, here’s how this year’s AL East breaks down.

New York Yankees (2012: 95-67 // AL East Champions)New York YankeesIt seems like forever since the last time the New York Yankees weren’t involved in October baseball. However, the 2013 season could pose a number of challenges for the reigning division champions.

The Yankees will have to start the season already dipping into the depth on the bench. Already dealing with an injured Alex Rodriguez, the Bronx Bombers were dealt two more blows losing Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira earlier in spring training.

Rodriguez is expected to be out until midseason (who they’ll replace with Kevin Youkilis) – while Granderson and Teixeira are out until early and mid-May respectively. Add that to the unknown status of pitcher Michael Pineda’s injury and there are a lot of questions in Yankees’ camp.

Alex Rodriguez

Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez

Certainly, injuries will play a role in what could be a slow and frustrating start for a Yankees team that had 95 wins last year. Look for that total to drop off significantly if captain Derek Jeter can’t return to form after a devastating broken ankle in last year’s American League Championship Series (when they were swept by the Detroit Tigers 4-0).

New York did make some changes in the offseason – but no major additions. Sure, they grabbed Travis Hafner, but they lost catcher Russell Martin and said goodbye to reliever Rafael Soriano. Oh, and Nick Swisher ran off to Ohio to play for the Cleveland Indians.

But who could forget their expected starting rotation?

Well, the Yankees rotation may not be the most memorable this year. Sure, they have Sabathia who will put up similar numbers as last year – minus a few wins due to the lack of run support. But how long can they stick with Hiroki Kuroda? Or what about 41-year-old Andy Pettitte?

Well Kuroda finished 2012 with a 16-11 record and a 3.32 earned run average – a 25-point increase from 2011. So how long can the 38-year-old lead the pin stripes into battle with confidence?

Pettitte on the other hand won’t be far behind Mariano Rivera in his announcement of retirement after posting a 5-4 record and a 2.87 ERA in just 12 games last season.

So as Robinson Cano enters the final year of his contract look for age to finally catch up with a team that has, for so long, led the American League East.

The Yankees will finish near the bottom in a division that has improved so much around them – a division that they may have a hard time competing in.

Added: DH Travis Hafner, OF Juan Rivera, 3B Kevin Youkilis
Lost: OF Nick Swisher, RP Rafael Soriano, SS Ramiro Pena, OF Darnell McDonald, C Russell Martin, OF Raul Ibanez, SP Freddy Garcia, 3B Eric Chavez

American League East Previews:
Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox


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