Yankees - 2015

General - The Yankees seem to be a team hesitant to throw big money at free agents this year. They spent a lot of money on free agents last year but they under performed and failed to get the Yankees into the playoffs. It has been awhile when the Yankees went two seasons in a row without making the playoffs. Fans used to measure success only after a World Series win. Those expectations have been lowered now. Just making the playoffs would give many fans joy. It has now been five years since they last won a World Series. The Giants have won three since that time. A signing of Max Scherzer would help, but if the arm of Masahiro Tanaka does not stay healthy and C.C. Sabathia does not rebound from his knee injury this is still a pretty moribund club. They will also be playing without their captain for the first time in twenty years. One thing they have going for them, the Dodgers surpassed them in pay roll so they are no longer the number one spending club. They will still have a salary upwards of $200 million and may surpass the Dodgers if they sign Scherzer. The luxury tax has still not avoided them, despite their attempts to lower salary.

Key additions - They acquired fire balling righthander Nathan Eovaldi and first baseman/left fielder Garrett Jones from the Marlins. For as hard as Eovaldi throws he got hit pretty good by the opposition (.282). Jones will provide the Yankees some left handed power. They also acquired Didi Gregorius from the Diamondbacks to replace their captain at shortstop. Didi has lost jobs on two teams because of his inability to hit. His fielding is not a question. The team did spend big money on relief pitcher Andrew Miller, who was one of the best setup men last year. He will perform that role for Betances this year. After this piece was written the Yankees traded Manny Banuelos to shore up their bullpen with Chasen Shreve and David Carpenter. They are also finalizing a deal with Stephen Drew, a player who can play second or short, but has not hit over .200 in the last couple years.

Catcher - The Yankees spent big money on Brian McCann last year and he struggled with a .232 average. He did hit 23 homeruns so he provides some left handed power to the position. His defense is not strong enough if he doesn’t bring a good bat to the position. Spring training will determine his backup but J.R. Murphy is probably the favorite over Austin Romine. Murphy has the better bat.

First Base - Mark Teixeira has not stayed healthy with his hand problem creeping up on him again. He needs to improve on his .216 average or the Yankees will have to go with Garrett Jones more in 2015. Even Alex Rodriguez will be looking for a position to play.

Second Base - Losing Robinson Cano to free agency put a big hole here that no player filled in 2014. They really have no one to fill it in 2015. Jose Pirela is a career minor leaguer who hit .305 last year in AAA. He may be a better alternative than Brendan Ryan, who has always struggled with the bat. They could still resign Stephen Drew but he hit worse than Ryan last year. Expect 2012 pick Robert Refsnyder to take over the position by mid-season. The Yankees were finalizing a deal with Stephen Drew. He would fill this hole unless he struggles to hit again. In the last two years he has failed to hit over .200.

Third Base - The Yankees resigned Chase Headley despite having Alex Rodriguez on the roster. He seemed to have resurrected his bat after leaving Petco Park. The power is still missing but his average improved. With him at third that leaves A-Rod without a position. He would be a nice backup, providing depth if Headley should struggle or get injured, but do the Yankees want to keep what many feel is a poisoned personality in their clubhouse?

Shortstop - Didi Gregorius will be given the first opportunity. The defense will be improved and Yankee fans will marvel at how smooth he plays the position. The big question mark is his bat, but Jeter did not wow anyone in his final year. Didi had a better slugging percentage (.363) than Jeter last year (.313). Brendan Ryan, with an equally poor bat will be the back up if Didi fails to produce. Ryan though has not produced offensively in years so you know what you have there. Drew is another option but Ryan has hit better than him the last couple years which is not a good testament to Drew finishing out the year in New York.

Left Field - Bret Gardner had a nice year but saw his average drop to .256 as the season faded. He did hit 17 homeruns, but his left handed bat in a short right field porch may have been the reason. Myworld believes he will have difficulty repeating the power numbers in 2015. Garrett Jones could see some time here when Gardner needs a rest. A right handed bat in Chris Young exists, but he is not starter material.

Center Field - Yankee fans were hoping for the offensive production Jacoby Ellsbury brought to the Red Sox last year. He fell a bit short. Brett Gardner can play here if Ellsbury needs a rest or is out for an extended period. This may be the Yankees strongest position.

Right field - Carlos Beltran is probably better suited for designated hitter. Injuries limited him to 109 games and may have been the reason for his paltry .233 average. Carlos will probably play DH when A-Rod sits the bench giving the right field job to Garrett Jones. If the Yankees want to get a right handed bat in their outfield they can turn to Chris Young.

Starting Pitcher - This rotation begs for the signing of Max Scherzer, but even if they pay the millions to sign him the team could still fall short of the playoffs. C.C Sabathia may still be considered the ace, but after losing a lot of pounds he had a poor season ended early by knee surgery. Perhaps he will re-bulk up for 2015. Masahiro Tanaka is probably the true ace, but a torn elbow that most undergo Tommy John surgery for ended his season after 20 starts. He has chosen the rehab route and it will be key for his elbow to hold up. Michael Pineda had a good come back year, putting together a 1.89 ERA in ten starts, but he experienced back and pine tar issues that ended his season early. Nathan Eovaldi should win the fourth spot but an ERA over 4.00 in a pitchers park is alarming. Chris Capuano was resigned and should occupy the fifth spot until Ivan Nova is ready to come back from his Tommy John surgery. Watch for Manny Banuelos by mid-season (since traded to the Braves).

Closer - Dellin Betances was almost unhittable in a setup role last year. Now he takes that job to the closer role with the departure of David Robertson. Andrew Miller was sought after by a number of teams as a closer so if Betances falters the roles could be reversed.

Other Relievers - Adam Warren did a nice job in the pen and should return to that role. With a short right field porch the Yankees will rely on Justin Wilson to get the lefties out. He pitched with the Pirates last year but had issues throwing strikes. Spring training should sort out the other hopefuls. The Yankees added some depth here acquiring David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve from the Braves for one time can’t miss prospect Manny Banuelos.

2015 Rookies - If not for Tommy John surgery Manny Banuelos could be in the Yankees starting rotation. He could be there by mid-season or fit in the bullpen. He still has trouble throwing strikes and now has been traded to the Braves. Robert Refsnyder and Jose Pirela will battle for the second base job. Pirela is the more experienced of the two but Refsnyder has greater upside. Jose Ramirez saw some time in the Yankee bullpen and he hopes for some extended time this year. His signature pitch is the changeup. Ramon Flores is having a torrid winter but the Yankees do not need another left handed bat in the outfield. He needs an injury to get an opportunity and his defense restricts him to left field. Gary Sanchez will get an opportunity if Brian McCann is out for an extended period of time. His star has dimmed but his bat is lethal for a catcher. Luis Severino made a fast rise last year with a potent fastball and could see some time by mid-season if the Yankee rotation is again devastated by injuries. Aaron Judge and Greg Bird performed well in the AFL but are probably still a year away. Both have potential to bring big time power to the Yankees.

2015 finish - They lost their captain to retirement and Hiroki Kuroda their only starter to start over 30 games has left for Japan. David Robertson is a big loss to their bullpen. There is still a question mark at second base. The starting rotation is filled with pitchers coming off health issues. That is too much to ask for them to get in the playoffs. Even if they open their checkbook for Orlando Cabrera and Max Scherzer it still may not be enough. They found out last year throwing money at players does not guarantee playoff appearances. It will be three years and counting after the 2015 season since the Yankees last made the playoffs but for 2016 season they hope improvement at the minor league level will provide them the depth they did not have in 2014.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.