Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead Analyst) Follow @chuckbooth3024
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Okay so one of the things that happens when you own a website is you lose some of the hardcore enthusiasm for the team you love the most. This is my story with he Yankees. Don’t get me wrong, they are still my favorite club, it is just I cover all 30 MLB teams a lot more than I used to.
Having said this, I have been railing on the Yankees for a long time on how they have conducted themselves. I traced it back to 2014, when they could have rest the Luxury Tax Threshold by trading Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda and Brett Gardner at the Deadline.
Instead, the club went for a half ass attempt to make the playoffs with Derek Jeter in his last season as Shortstop.
I do give Brian Cashman some credit in 2015 for the club making the postseason. I maintain that his building of the team was still flawed.
Bullpen withstanding, he has known his Starting Pitching situation has been in health peril since Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a UCL injury in July of 2014.
That helped the club jump out to a fantastic start, and then coasted with a .500 record for the last 4 plus months to the 1st playoff Wild Card spot. They lost to the Houston Astros in that game at Yankee Stadium.
Brian McCann was pretty solid all the way through the year.
Alex Rodriguez was definitely a snub at the ALL – Star Break.
So here is the question? Can the club repeat the same kind of performances it had in 2015 – for 2016?
I highly doubt that Tex and A-Rod will both back up their strong 2016 campaigns. So that means there needs to be internal improvement.
For starters, the club could see the other Infielders be more productive in 2016. Chase Headley had a down year, and makes you wonder if the Yanks made the right deal in trading away Yangervis Solarte for his services. The former Yankee is outperforming Headley at a fraction of the cost.
It was nice to see the club address the 2nd base situation with bringing in Starlin Castro. I expect him to have a decent Batting Average and thrive in New York. Although I am not sure that he will play the same kind of defense as light average hitter Stephen Drew provided.
The one thing the Castro acquisition has done is help the youth of the club. Much like the Didi Gregorius trade did last year. For the record, Gregorius also had a nice second half of the campaign – with a 3 Slash of .294/.345/.417 after the ALL – Star Break with 37 RBI after a slow start in the first 3 months.
Castro could very well turn back into that 180 – 190 hit guy, bat near .290 – with a bunch of extra base hits.
Headley needs to crack about 50 Extra Base Hits per year with a decent Batting Average for his contract to be justified. I think he has a chance to be better.
A nice idea would be to use Tex as a DH versus tough right handers, and give Bird a shot at 1B in those situations, so they could give A-Rod a rest.
Carlos Beltran enters his age 39 campaign after posting a .808 OPS in 2015. It was a nice bounce back campaign after putting up just a .707 OPS in 2014.
Jacoby Ellsbury is another story. After blasting out of the gate for the 1st 5 weeks or so in 2015 – he tailed off. His $22 MIL contract is preventing the club from signing any big named players in the winter.
The 32 Year Old has only put up a 3 Slash Line of .265/.324/.387 in 2 years with New York after putting up a line in Boston for .297/.350/.439. Ellsbury needs to stay healthy it seems to put up great yearly numbers.
By the club acquiring Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy (great move), the club at least has a viable option to patrol CF for next year. I think Hicks could relish in the role Chris Young served in last year.
Brett Gardner is still as solid as a professional hitter as they come. He tallied a career highs in AB and Hits, while still scoring 94 Runs.
As the years wane on, it will become increasingly more difficult for Ellsbury and Gardner to keep their running game going as well.
Cashman has also made some weird moves like trade Justin Wilson away. He was slated as the clubs 3rd best Reliever. Maybe the GM will sign a few more guys to help Miller and Betances.
I still foresee the Yankees bringing in far more players from Free Agency than this.
The Rotation is still under high suspect status when it comes to health. Aside from Tanaka, CC Sabathia looks in great shape right now out of rehab, but how will that translate into Pitching?
Michael Pineda also tailed off in the 2nd half after looking great in the second half. This may have been from throwing more innings than he has in years, but has to be cause for concern.
Nate Eovaldi was their best Starter in the 2nd half, with a 5 – 1 record and a 3.67 ERA. For the year, he was 14 – 3 (led the AL with a .824 win percentage), but he still yielded 175 Hits spanning 154 Innings. He has flamethrowers stuff though, and just surrendered 10 Homers all year.
Love Eovaldi as a steady #3 or #4 Starter.
Sabathia did start 12 Games after the ALL – Star Break, posting a nice 3.67 ERA – even though his WHIP was actually higher. I think CC could still be an adequate #5 Starter if healthy. I just wouldn’t bank on him being healthy.
Luis Severino will be a huge key to the whole Staff. He should win double digits in games, and have a decent ERA. I think a lot of his success could be where he is slotted in the rotation.
I am still amazed that Masahiro Tanaka was able to start 24 Games, and pull in a nice 3.51 ERA. That is not as good as his 2.77 ERA in 2014 spanning 20 Starts.
Tanaka was a lot more hittable in 2015. This showed up with his proneness to longballs. He served up 25 HRs – while he coughed up just 15 Jacks in 2014 in relatively the same amount of innings.
I marvel at his control as well. At 0.994 for the year in 2015, he gets the job done. I just wish he would not have his health have to be questioned at all stops here. Can you imagine how good he would be without a UCL partial tear?
Again. I think the Yankees did a disservice to his career by not opting for the TJ Surgery in July of 2014. Sure he may navigate his Starts for the next 5 years, all working 150 – 160 Innings a year, but he is paid to throw 200.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my record 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015. It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008.
During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews and be named the Baseball Blogger Alliance President.
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