After suffering a series sweep at the hands of the Red Sox, the Yankees find themselves 4th in the AL East (guess who is the only team trailing them) and, more importantly, 2.5 back in the Wild Card race, with 4 teams to jump over to get one of those spots.
They've been hit with injury woes that rival what we've been going through with our Jays. Darn near any Yankee you can name either has been on the DL, or is on the DL at the moment.
I sent off some questions to Tanya Bondurant, managing editor of Pinstriped Bible, SB Nation's Yankee's blog.
After the series with the Red Sox, do Yankee fan feel they still have a shot at the Wild Card?
I think there's always hope until mathematical elimination. It's an enormous long shot, though, and would take a lot of good fortune that they Yankees really haven't received all season. Were it not for the Rangers' collapse, I might feel a lot differently heading into the next couple weeks.
With Derek Jeter injured again, is his time as a Yankee SS over? what do you figure his role will be next year?
His time as the Yankees shortstop should be over but Jeter isn't going to go out like that, I don't think. I expect him to at least give it a shot as the starting shortstop going into 2014 but I see little way that he lasts there all season. The goal at this point should be keeping him healthy and that can be achieved easier by making him more of a DH. Telling Jeter that is the point he's at is not a job I envy.
Roughly the same question, just slip Alex Rodriguez's name in, with the suspension hanging over him, do you expect to see him in a Yankees' uniform again?
I don't think the Steinbrenners are getting out from under A-Rod contract that easy, even if freeing up that money is a Yankee fan's dream. I don't see A-Rod being suspended for longer than the entire 2014 season, so with years and years left on his contract I expect him to be back with the team whenever that suspension is up. There's always the chance that his body responds poorly to a long break off from regular game action, but he's looked good in his return this season so there is at least some glimmer of hope for the immediate future of his stay in New York.
Who's closer next year? What will be your lasting memory of Mariano Rivera?
David Robertson will likely get the first and longest look as the next closer. He's been known to raise our blood pressure but he's also been a rather consistent reliever over the last three years. There are so many fantastic memories of Rivera to hold on to: breaking the saves record, his bases loaded walk against the Mets, his performance in the 2003 ALCS game against the Red Sox. The most lasting memory for me will be the sense of calm I've always felt when he entered a game. I doubt we'll ever experience that again.
With CC Sabathia not exactly having the best of season's, who do you see as the ace of your rotation next year? In fact who do you see in the Yankee's rotation next year?
My hope is for Sabathia to bounce back. His season has been so awful, but he did have surgery in the offseason. If he is unable to turn it around, the Yankees are in a lot of trouble. If Hiroki Kuroda returns for another season, he'd likely be the ace of the staff if CC is unable to work out his issues. Beyond that, there is really no one. The rotation is likely to be some combination of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and possibly Hiroki Kuroda. The last spot could be filled by Masahiro Tanaka if the Yankees are serious in their scouting of him. Otherwise, it might be David Phelps or a random middling free agent to round out the final spot.
Alfonso Soriano has been a surprise, any chance he could keep up this level of play? Will he be a Yankees next year?
He's been amazing but I don't expect he will play at this high of a level next season. If he can provide even half of what he has done as a Yankee, I'll be pretty satisfied. The outfield picture is a bit unclear at this point, with my hope being that the Yankees won't start the year with Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki flanking Brett Gardner. Soriano could help fill one of those holes, particularly because his defense hasn't been bad at all.
Anything else we should know about the Yankees?
It's been a bit of a nightmare season with all the injuries piling up one after the other. The most interesting thing to me is that the team is very likely to look extremely different next year with the retirement of Rivera, the likely free agent departures of Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, A-Rod's probable suspension, and the possibility of losing Robinson Cano to free agency. Those have all be Yankee staples for a while, so it's kind of the end of an era for the team, which can be good, bad, or a little of both.