The New York Yankees finished the 2017 season one game short of the World Series. The team however wasn’t given much hope of a playoff chance at the outset of the season. The 2017 New York Yankees were supposed to be a rebuilding team. A team not yet ready to compete for the playoffs and would barely compete to be over .500. Oh how different the season turned out to be. However, the 2018 Yankees will not be afforded the same luxury. The “Rebuild” has been deemed over and expectations have skyrocketed once again in the Bronx. In 2017 the plucky underdogs who rose up, but in 2018 the “Evil Empire” Returns.
So the 2018 campaign will get underway in less than today as Spring Training games begin. And the Yankees will look to win 5 more games that they did in 2017 (1 more in ALCS, 4 WS wins). The Yankees going into 2018 will have a target on their backs even though they did not win the American League East Division. Speculation and rumors continue to have the Yankees connected to many free agent starting pitchers as potential fits for the rotation. However, as it stands today the Yankees would start the season with the same rotation that took them to within one game of reaching the 2017 World Series.
The Lineup has changed from what we saw finish up the unexpected Post Season run of 2017. The Yankees no longer have Todd Frazier or Chase Headley that were vital for the team down the stretch last season. The Yankees adding the reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to an already star-studded power packed lineup makes it even deeper. The Yankees all off season long were connected to many infielders to fill the vacancies created in the Stanton and Headley moves.
On Tuesday the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman got his man, in a three team trade Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks was brought in. While Drury played mostly second base in Arizona (because of All-Star Jake Lamb) in New York he is viewed as a third baseman. The Yankees upper management stated on a number of occasions that they were comfortable with the idea of starting two rookies at second and third base. Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar were projected to receive the majority of playing time in 2018 at second and third. Gleyber is the #1 overall prospect in the Yankees system as well as #5 overall according to MLB.com. Andujar is ranked as the Yankees 5th best prospect and as 65 overall by MLB.com. The Yankees will allow these two young players an opportunity to impress in Spring Training and force the hands of the Yankees decision makers in naming them the “Opening Day” starters. Although Torres and Andujar are more than likely going to begin the year in Triple A.
The Yankees have assembled a team that is capable of achieving both goals that have been set out for this season. Goal #1 is stay under the $197 million dollar luxury tax threshold and goal #1A win the World Series. With the acquisition of Brandon Drury a young versatile and controllable player the Yankees have positioned themselves well if an in season need were to arise. The “spending budget” to remain under the luxury tax threshold (aka Salary Cap) is said to be about $15 million. Giving the Yankees the flexibility to make moves if needed.
This roster has plenty of pop and star power, and that serves first year manager Aaron Boone very well. Having the veteran presences of CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner around the younger players will help them grow and mature. Having Stanton on the team now brings another level of energy and ambiance to the air in the Bronx. It brings back the feeling of those late 90’s and early 2000’s teams where they were competing in the World Series each and every year. With the depth of the Yankee’s Farm System (never thought you would hear that), the Yankees have the opportunity to have another dominate run like they did twenty years ago. This team has the solid “Home Grown” core and supplemented the team with extremely talented players still in the prime of their careers. Stanton brings the pop, Drury brings the depth and with a farm system that is ready to aid the team for the next several years to come.
Spring training begins today the Yankees are set to take on the Detroit Tigers at George M Steinbrenner Field at 1pm est on the YES Network. Giancarlo Stanton is set to make his “Pinstripe” debut. As the Yankees always wear the full “Pinstripe” for the first home game of the Spring. And remember that according to the PECOTA Projections the New York Yankees are set to win 96 games and the American League East Division crown. The New York Yankees will embark on a quest to their 28th crown and it begins today. Let’s Go YANKEES !!!