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New York Yankees 2016 Season Preview & Predictions: ‘The Chase For 28’

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Health and Age

I could literally write a novel on how health and age dictates Yankee success this season. But I’ll try and keep this short.

Starting pitchers Masahiro Tanaka (time-ticking time bomb of a ulnar collateral ligament), CC Sabathia (knee), Michael Pineda (forearm/shoulder), Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery) and Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) all spent time on the disabled list in 2015.

Mark Teixeira broke his shin in August and is expected to be at full strength for 2016, but backup Greg Bird will miss the entire season following shoulder surgery.

Side note: we haven’t seen Teixeira send “Tex-messages” for a full season since 2011.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, and Brian McCann all hit a wall late in the season. The Yankees can ill afford a sequel with the increased competition in the division.

Before Ellsbury hurt his knee a year ago, nobody in the AL had a higher batting average (.324). After suffering a knee sprain, the center fielder slashed .220/.266/.326 for the remainder of the season following a DL stint. He was so bad that manager Joe Girardi benched the speedster during the Yankees’ Wild Card loss to the Houston Astros.

A-Rod was enjoying a career renaissance, and it would have been even better if it weren’t for an end-of-season slump where he slashed .191/.300/.377 in September and October.

Gardner, hit just .206 during the second half after batting .303 in the first half while earning an appearance in the All-Star game in Cincinnati.

There are way too many waning superstars on this team. A-Rod is 40, Carlos Beltran is 38, Teixeira is 35, and is this team can ill afford fall offs from any of them.

But like I’ve mentioned, and constantly stress to everyone, father time is undefeated.

Like in 2015, if the veteran lineup hits another brick wall late in the year, one main component gets hurt during a time they’re needed the most (Teixeira), and every starting pitcher spends time on the disabled list again, the Bombers will turn to Bummers.

The big question: can they last a whole year staying relatively healthy? Just hold your breath, stand by, and pray.