As I write this, the New York Yankees are 2.5 games behind the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
In previous seasons, mentioning the Yankees in relation to the Wild Card, especially this early in the season, was unheard of. But these are the 2013 New York Yankees, a team with one of the most anemic offenses in MLB who, because of that anemic offense, puts enormous pressure on its starting pitching. Last night was a perfect example, with CC Sabathia pitching well enough to win, but taking the hard luck loss instead.
So the Yankees are contending for a Wild Card spot. I know, go ahead, say that I am a pessimist. Say that the Yankees can still win the division, get through the playoffs and win the World Series. Well, maybe they can.
It is more realistic, however, to say that they have a chance at one of the Wild Card spots. Why? Because whatever they do this month, trade-wise or acquisition-wise (and by acquisition-wise I mean the return of injured superstars as well as the plucking of castoffs from the waiver wire), it will be very hard to win the AL East. Let's face it: How much can a 39 year old Derek Jeter be expected to contribute after coming back from two ankle fractures? The same goes for Alex Rodriguez, who also could be suspended and not given a chance to help the team at all. The last we heard of Curtis Granderson, he was swinging a pipe under water. Do we really believe that Ty Wigginton can lead the Yankees to glory? Would the Phillies really part with Michael Young?
The answer to most of these questions is "probably not." The Yankees are, indeed, contending for a Wild Card spot. Yep, it sounds weird, but we'd all better start getting used to it.