In Major League Baseball, veterans are always a key component to the success of a team, but there are some elder statesman who will have a major role for their respective clubs in 2013.
Guys like Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees and R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays will each be of vital importance to their respective team's pitching staffs. Meanwhile, A.J. Pierzynski will have to make an impact on both sides of the ball for the Texas Rangers.
Age is just a number and these players certainly proved that with great statistics during the 2012 season.
Let's take a closer look at each of these older vets and how they will benefit their teams in 2013.
Andy Pettitte, Starting Pitcher, New York Yankees (Age: 40)
When Pettitte takes the mound in April, he will be starting his 18th Major League season and is a huge piece of the Yanks' starting rotation in 2013.
Pettitte unexpectedly returned to baseball last season and was rock solid before missing most of the season due to injury. When he was on the mound, Pettitte was 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA that proved he still has what it takes to be a force in the MLB.
On top of that, Pettitte was great for the Bombers in the postseason, giving them three good starters in October baseball.
This season, the 40-year-old will be New York's No. 3 starter behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda. With the question marks behind him in the Yanks' starting five, Pettitte must remain at top form during the 2013 season if his team is to have success in the regular and postseason.
A.J. Pierzynski, Catcher, Texas Rangers (Age: 36)
Now that the Rangers have lost slugger Josh Hamilton to free agency, this team has a ton of offense to replace in 2013.
Although Pierzynski won't do it all by himself, his numbers from 2012 prove he can make a big impact in that regard. The 36-year-old hit 27 homers and drove in 77 runs while sporting a .278 batting average at the plate.
Behind the plate, Pierzynski will be tasked with helping bring the Rangers' starting staff out of the dumps from a season ago. Texas' rotation finished with a 4.30 ERA, which was good enough for No. 20 in the league.
So, not only will Pierzynski's bat be needed in Texas, but he also must call good games and aid in the development of the younger arms in order to improve the Rangers pitching overall.
R.A. Dickey, Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 38)
After winning the National League Cy Young award in 2012 as a member of the New York Mets, Dickey was shipped off to Toronto and is one of many new additions to the roster.
Dickey's 2012 campaign was well worth the honor. The 38-year-old was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and that was with a lackluster roster supporting him in New York.
In 2013, Dickey will have a much better team around him with a great pitching staff and a dangerous lineup as well. That should help Dickey come close to his numbers from last season as extra run support should lead to plenty of games won.
The only thing that's in doubt is if his success in the National League East will translate to the offensively potent American League East. Dickey will be facing much stiffer competition and the Blue Jays will need him to answer the bell if they hope to reign supreme in one of the most competitive divisions in the majors.
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