The 2009 New York Mets are a fair comparison, albeit a worst case scenario for the 2013 Yankees. The Mets lost key players early in the season and manager Jerry Manuel said something along the lines of treading water until the big guys get back. The Mets injury woes started later on than the Yankees of this season, as Carlos Delgado was the first to go down in April. Then, the mis-diagonosed hamstring injury to Jose Reyes that was supposed to be day to day. Neither would play a game the rest of the season and Delgado was done dor his career. Carlos Beltran was next, though he would return towards the end of the season. JJ Putz, brought in to upgrade an injury plagued and bad bullpen of 2008, had a major arm operation and was out for the season. In addition, John Maine and Oliver Perez made 15 and 14 starts for the team, respectively. Finally, Johan Santana had bone chips removed ending his season after 25 starts.
Despite a 9-12 April, the 2009 Mets were 28-21 after May. Of course, they would be under .500 after June and July only to completely crumble in the second half of the season. Sounds familiar? The Yankees have gotten help from Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay, while relying on guys like Eduardo Nunez (he is hurt too), Jayson Nix, Shawn Kelly, Adam Warren, Brennan Boesch, Ben Francisco and Chris Nelson. In spite of the Yankees not having an interest in spending a ton of money, it was unexpected to be needing key contributions from the preceding players.
That Mets team used a cast of characters led by Gary Sheffield, Livan Hernandez, Tim Redding, Alex Cora, Cory Sullivan, Jeremy Reed and used players like Ramon Martinez, Wilson Valdez, Anderson Hernandez and Elmer Dessens. The problem for the Mets was the fact their key players never got better. To this point, there seems to be good news involving Granderson and even Rodriguez. Hopefully they can get these players back soon and the Yankees can do what the 2009 Mets could not. And that it tread water until their key players get back. If so, it has to be considered the best job Joe Girardi has done as manager.