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New York Yankees State Of The Union For 2016

The 2015 New York started off extremely strong at 21 - 12, before they finished the last 129 Games at just 66 - 63. With surprising years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the club still made the Wild Card Game with 87 wins. The club has done a couple of nice winter moves in picking up Starlin Castro and Aaron, however the Bullpen is weaker, and the Starting Rotation has many health concerns. New York will need to address those before the season opener.

The 2015 New York Yankees started off extremely strong at 21 – 12, before they finished the last 129 Games at just 66 – 63. With surprising years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the club still hosted the Wild Card Game with 87 wins. The club has done a couple of nice winter moves in picking up Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks for backup players, however the Bullpen is weaker, and the Starting Rotation has many health concerns. New York will need to address those before the season opener.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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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 reset 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.

Joe Girardi squeezed every ounce of the Veteran Lineup that he could last year.  Who would have predicted the squad would have had 30+ Homer years from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira?

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.

Alex Rodriguez shook of all doubters that his career was over - and had his best season in 4 years in 2015, with a 3 Slash of .250/.356/.488 - with 33 HRs and 86 RBI. He is now 40 years old and has 2 years left on his contract. Can the slugger keep up his production in 2016? I am not sure he can, but he could still bring in decent numbers for a Designated Hitter.

Alex Rodriguez shook of all doubters that his career was over – and had his best season in 4 years in 2015, with a 3 Slash of .250/.356/.488 – with 33 HRs and 86 RBI. He is now 40 years old and has 2 years left on his contract. Can the slugger keep up his production in 2016? I am not sure he can, but he could still bring in decent numbers for a Designated Hitter.

Unbelievable work by Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances preserved most of the New York leads.

A fast start by Jacoby Ellsbury was backed up by a productive Carlos Beltran over the last four months.  It really was a lineup that was streaky.

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.

I would not expect Teixeira to top 30 HRs again in 2016, although maybe he can still crack 25 jacks and drive in nearly 80. Man it would be a bold move if the club traded the guy half way through the year, and use Greg Bird at the position.

I would not expect Teixeira to top 30 HRs again in 2016, although maybe he can still crack 25 jacks and drive in nearly 80. Man it would be a bold move if the club traded the guy half way through the year, and use Greg Bird at the position.

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.

It almost looked like Beltran was done playing baseball in April, where he couldn't hit all - before putting together a nice string of months. For the second half, Beltran 3 Slashed .292/.364/.513 - with 12 HRs and 37 RBI past the ALL - Star Break, and he also added 16 Doubles. These are numbers that will keep him in the lineup for the majority of 2016 as well. I still think Cashman always picked the wrong guy - as he could have signed Curtis Granderson for one more year at $15 MIL AAV.

It almost looked like Beltran was done playing baseball in April, where he couldn’t hit all – before putting together a nice string of months. For the second half, Beltran 3 Slashed .292/.364/.513 – with 12 HRs and 37 RBI past the ALL – Star Break, and he also added 16 Doubles. These are numbers that will keep him in the lineup for the majority of 2016 as well. I still think Cashman always picked the wrong guy – as he could have signed Curtis Granderson for a fourth year at $15 MIL AAV – compared to Beltran’s 3 YR/$45 MIL deal.

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.

It was a tale of two halves for the man though. With a .861 OPS before the ALL - Star Break, he made the American League squad in Cincinnati for the Yanks. His .592 OPS post ALL - Star Break was a main reason the club struggled in the second half of the year. Gardy did battle a wrist injury in the second half. He is signed for the next four years. I believe the club may go as far as he and Ellsbury. His average dipped all the way to .259 after starting the season near .300

It was a tale of two halves for the man though. With a .861 OPS before the ALL – Star Break, he made the American League AlLL – Star squad in Cincinnati for the Yanks. His .592 OPS post ALL – Star Break was a main reason the club struggled in the second half of the year. Gardy did battle a wrist injury in the second half. He is signed for the next four years. I believe the club may go as far as he and Ellsbury. His average dipped all the way to .259 after starting the season near .300

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.

The management must believe that James Pazos, Chasen Shreve and Branden Pinder are capable of a bigger role each in 2016.

I still foresee the Yankees bringing in far more players from Free Agency than this.

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances were bot filthy dominant in the 1st half of they year, barely surrendering anything to the opposition. Miller finished the year 10th in Cy Young - by fanning 100 batters, in his 36 Saves. spanning 61.2 IP. His setup man Betances struckout 131 batters in 84 IP, and cleared the year with a spiffy 1.50 ERA. Betances finished 14th in Cy Young Voting. Both men are under Team Control for the next 3 years at least.

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances were both filthy dominant in the 1st half of they year, barely surrendering anything to the opposition. Miller finished the year 10th in Cy Young – by fanning 100 batters, in his 36 Saves. spanning 61.2 IP. His setup man Betances struckout 131 batters in 84 IP, and cleared the year with a spiffy 1.50 ERA. Betances finished 14th in Cy Young Voting. Both men are under Team Control for the next 3 years at least.  They could use some help with the Relief Core via Free Agency,

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 first 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 (and led the AL with a .824 win percentage), but he still yielded 175 Hits spanning 154 Innings.  He has flamethrower stuff though, and just surrendered 10 Homers all year.

Love Eovaldi as a steady #3 or #4 Starter.

Ivan Nova and Bryan Mitchell are listed at the back end of the rotation.  I could see both of them being sent to the Bullpen once the club acquired 1 – 2 more Starters.

New York has been said to covet Wei-Yin Chen and Scott Kazmir, but where are the offers?  They need to add 2 quality arms to the rotation in my view.  These guys would be perfect for the mix.

Sabathia is also on his last legs of his pitching career. A veteran of nearly 3000 Innings for his career, and most of them playing near 300 Pounds has taken its toll on the man. At 34 going on 35 in 2016's mid season I wonder how much he can actually contribute. I will be pulling for the guy. He was throwing a lot better at the end of the 2015 year too.

Sabathia is also on his last legs of his pitching career. A veteran of nearly 3000 Innings for his career, and most of them playing near 300 Pounds has taken its toll on the man. At 34 going on 35 in 2016’s mid season I wonder how much he can actually contribute. I will be pulling for the guy. He was throwing a lot better at the end of the 2015 year too.

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 for 2015. 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 a 0.994 WHIP 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.

As a former handicapper, I would pencil them in at about 85 - 86 wins again. That likely will have them behind the playoff bar in 2016. I have the Yankees positioned as the 3rd best team in the American League right now behind the Blue Jays and Red Sox. They still have time to amp their Roster. Signing some more Starters and Relievers would certainly aid in that quest. As a former handicapper, I would pencil them in at about 85 - 86 wins again. That likely will have them behind the playoff bar in 2016.

As a former handicapper, I would pencil them in at about 85 – 86 wins again. That likely will have them behind the playoff bar in 2016. I have the Yankees positioned as the 3rd best team in the American League East right now behind the Blue Jays and Red Sox. They still have time to amp up their Roster. Signing some more Starters and Relievers would certainly aid in that quest.

*** 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.

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

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Posted on December 22, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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