Created on: February 15, 2013 Last Updated: February 16, 2013
The San Francisco Giants showed in 2012 that no one knows who is going to walk away each year as the World Series champion. The team suffered injuries and lost players in the off season that made some wonder if they could contend for a playoff position. Fast forward to October and they went home with all the gold. The 2013 season in Major League Baseball could be just as magical. Trades, free agency, and return from injury have numerous players in the headlines, making fans wonder just what is in store for the approaching year.
Can an aging New York Yankees squad make one last run at a championship before core members of the team retire or are let go? The answer could be found in the health of three individuals. Mariano Rivera was shagging balls in the outfield when his knee gave out and left the Yanks without their closer for the season. Rafael Soriano was signed and did a terrific job, but New York let him go, banking that Rivera is fully recovered. If they are wrong, the Yankees could be in trouble.
Couple that gamble with the injury problems of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and any fan can see that New York's chances are tenuous at best. Jeter suffered a gruesome looking ankle break that could sideline him at the beginning of the year. A-Rod could be done for the season and his Yankee career over. Only time will tell if this second hip procedure will work.
The Anaheim Angels went on a spending spree last off season, with names like Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson added to the club. The mixture did not pan out as injuries mid year left them just too far behind. The answer, in the front office's mind, was to sign another slugger. Josh Hamilton departs Texas after resurrecting his career, in hopes of making the Angels even more powerful. They let Zach Grienke get away via free agency, making some experts wonder what they are going to do for a starting pitcher.
They will once again have the services of last year's biggest hit, center fielder Mike Trout. All eyes will be on him to see if a sophomore slump kicks in, or will the young slugger keep going onward and upward towards MVP status. The same questions will be asked about the NL Rookie of the Year, Bryce Harper. Harper electrified the fan base with his all out hustle and power. He went at 150 percent, but some wonder if he can keep up such a blistering pace.
Speaking of the Nationals, was there any bigger postseason story than Stephen Strasburg? Many experts felt that shutting him down at the end of the season cost Washington a chance to play in the Fall Classic. In the Divisional Series versus St. Louis, it is fair to wonder how Strasburg pitching one of those early games might have swayed the series. This year, he will be back full time, so the Nats are hoping they have a chance to see what a difference he could make.
Finally, the LA Dodgers and their new ownership bear watching. If there was a player available, the Dodgers paid out the nose to get them. Can the Dodgers blend in guys like Zach Grienke and Carl Crawford into a unit that started out strong last season, but faded down the stretch? Only time will tell on that one but, needless to say, there are many players to watch as the 2013 heads to the start line.
Learn more about this author, John Atchison.
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