Aroldis Chapman, Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro
Chris Young, Justin Wilson
The Yankees certainly gained more than they lost. Even when you consider Chapman missing 30 games, what they will get out of Hicks and Castro would have been enough. Hicks is key because he can sub in for any of the outfielders, all of which are over the age of 32. Castro helps as a bat in the infield, and while he has had some defensive struggle, his playing mate at shortstop should make up for his downfall at second.
Projected Playoff Lineup
- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Brett Gardner
- Carlos Beltran
- Mark Teixeira
- Alex Rodriguez
- Brian McCann
- Chase Headley
- Starlin Castro
- Didi Gregorius
It is so hard to get past the age of this lineup. Ellsbury is now 32, missed fifty games last year and is coming off of the worst year of his career. Hicks can fill in for him, but the thought is that Beltran is not going to put in anything like quality defense in the outfield for a full season. They really have nowhere to put Rodriguez in the field, so while Beltran can platoon with him at DH, he still will have to put in some time in the outfield. The injury to Greg Byrd hurts their depth but it also can get Rodriguez innings at first, opening less time for Beltran to play the outfield. It will take maneuvering, but Hicks should be in the lineup a good portion of the time. Overall it is just tough to see them getting consistent pop from their aging lineup with an average age of 32, and their defense isn’t necessarily going to be strong with aging names all over the field either.
The rotation has potential to keep them in this division. Tanaka has the stuff, but his 154 innings last year were a career high. You would want at least 200 this year to get what you are looking for. Pineda only tossed 162 innings and posted a 4.37 ERA, but sabermetrically had a much better season. He has the chance to be a breakout candidate, and missed a lot of bats, but at the same time the defense behind him probably won’t be any better than last year. Severino is the rookie at 22 and the wild card. He posted a 2.86 ERA in 11 starts at the end of last season, and has the stuff to make the rotation boom. Sabathia has certainly taken a step back, but if he can just eat innings and hold down the five spot that should be all they need and should be a reasonable request.
If Chapman can come back they may have the best bullpen in the league. Their combination of Betances, Wilson, and Chapman will be as tough as any to face, and have some depth to make the pitching staff as a whole one that will keep this team competitive.
At the end of the day it is tough to see them getting enough quality to play from the vets in the lineup to make the playoffs. They have a solid pitching unit and it can rack them up wins. They can get hot and make a run for the division, but with Chapman out early, and shuffling in the lineup they seem like a team that is right below.
3rd in the AL East