Here we are Yankee fans. Another year of huge expectations and a monster roster, deep in all areas. It will be 10 years since the last World Series title and for any Yankee fan it is 10 years too long, especially when the Red Sox have taken in two more titles, the Giants three more, Cubs even won one and the Astros pulled in their first one. At least the Dodgers did not come home with one. This year, salt in the wound for any Yankee fan will be a Mets title. I heard all the Yankee fans say “great year for another Subway series” and the “team is stacked.” There is one problem and it is what every Yankee fan who watched the playoffs last year knows. This team will win 100+ games, hit close to 300 homers, have an amazing year….but…when it comes to playoff baseball against the best pitchers in the league, it will mean nothing. The team does not have the gritty hitters it needs to wear down good pitching and we will be asking ourselves what happened?
I won’t give up…yet. This team has much to prove this year. There are few additions that could make me eat my words. It’s on the mound and the starting pitching. Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, JA Happ and James Paxton would have to be so dominant, so lights out in the playoffs that the sluggers strike outs won’t matter. Then the pen. Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Delin Betances, Zach Britton and Chad Green are arguably the best in baseball. Some may disagree with me on the toughness of the lineup. I will give you a glimmer of hope that the addition of Troy Tulowitzki provides leadership and the grit this team desperately needs. I really like the DJ LeMahieu addition. These experienced players added to the young lineup and keeping Gardner around may give us hope for a better playoff run. So I did not mention everyone’s favorite players that are the future of the team. Aaron Judge can have an MVP year.
This year will determine his stature and pay day along with the other twenty-something stars who received huge multi year deals in 2019…Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado to name a few. Gleyber Torres will be around for a while and will be a stud. Aaron Hicks is one of the most underrated players in the league. Didi Gregorious will come back strong in the back half and I see Tulo moving somewhere else as he will have a great first half. Big questions will surround of course Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird. Can they have bounce back years or will it be more of the same for them in the Bronx? Miguel Andujar and Luke Voit have to prove whether they are one hit wonders or they will be watching many of games in the back half once Didi comes back. Looking forward to watching the fireworks all year and cheering on the team I have followed since the “Bronx Zoo” days in the ’70’s that created long lasting memories of how to play this amazing game.