Manager Joe Girardi deserves some credit for keeping the Yanks in the race for much of the season. He handled the pitching staff well and squeezed enough out of the position players to enable the team to finish over .500 for the season.
General Manager Brian Cashman deserves zero credit, since all he did was throw stuff up against the wall and hope that it would stick. The minor league system, under Cashman's direction for the past seven years, provided practically no help during the season.
Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner contributed offensively during the month of April, helping to keep the Yanks above water early on. Unfortunately neither one provided much for the remainder of the season.
Granderson didn't provide his usual punch when he returned from injuries, batting .229 with seven homers and 15 RBI's in 61 games and 214 at-bats - numbers that don't translate well when projected over a 162 games season.
Eduardo Nunez didn't show much while filling in for Jeter at shortstop, with a .260 average, 3 home runs, 28 RBI's and 10 stolen bases in 90 games and 304 at-bats. His fielding average was .953, well below the league average of .973, and he was projected to cost the team 18 runs as a shortstop, according to zone fielding calculations.
So who were the top ten most valuable players for the Yankees in 2013?
10) Brett Gardner - Gardner was reliable, playing in 145 games, but stole only 24 bases with an average on-base percentage of .344, and wasn't as much of a sparkplug as had been hoped. In centerfield he cost the team 20 runs, according to one zone fielding statistic.
9) Jayson Nix - Nix actually came up with some key hits that led to Yankee victories, even though he played in only 87 games.
8) Lyle Overbay - Overbay also came up with some clutch hits in crucial situations, leading to Yankee wins. He hit 14 homers and drove in 59 runs.
7) Ivan Nova - Finishing 9-6 with a 3.10 ERA, Nova pitched well and kept the Yankees in the race in the summer.
6) Chris Stewart - Stewart handled the pitching staff well, and threw out 32% of runners attempting to steal.
5) Mariano Rivera - Most people would put Rivera higher on the list, but he blew seven saves - 92 wins would have landed the Yanks a playoff spot.
4) Hiroki Kuroda - Kuroda pitched well for most of the season, keeping the team in games.
3) Alfonso Soriano - Providing much needed pop in the lineup during the second half of the season, Soriano hit .256 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI's in only 219 at-bats.
2) David Robertson - Robertson had a great year as a set-up man, with a 2.04 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .213 opponents’ batting average, and 77 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched.
1) Robinson Cano - While I think Cano is an over-rated player, statistically he had an outstanding year both offensively and defensively, accomplishing this with only average players around him. His .314 batting average, .383 on-base percentage, 27 home runs and 107 RBI's along with a .991 fielding percentage make him the Yankees' Most Valuable Player for the 2013 season.
source for statistics: http://www.baseball-reference.com/