Friday, October 9, 2015


Although many fans are disappointed in the outcome of the very short-lived postseason, The 2015 Yankees exceeded expectations in the eyes of most people. Sure they struggled down the stretch and couldn't even put up a measly run against the Astros, but their 87 wins was more than nearly every analyst predicted.

Now, I know we are just a couple days into golf season for the Yankees players, but it's never too soon to start talking about 2016. The roster, for the most part, will likely remain unchanged heading into next spring barring a trade really. With $183 million on the payroll already, the chances of the Yankees and the Steinbrenner's being spenders this offseason is unlikely.

CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury (and their combined $103 million in salaries) are all likely completely untradeable. Sabathia actually pitched well down the stretch before entering alcohol rehab (I wish the absolute best for him) and hopefully can return to eat some innings in the back of the rotation. ARod and Tex overachieved based on predictions and can hopefully stay healthy next year and contribute some power numbers. Carlos Beltran had a bit of a rebound year but he is coming to the end of a tremendous career.

As for Ellsbury, he has not been able to stay healthy and since returning from injury midway through the season, was pathetic. I like Ellsbury and the tools he brings to a ball club but he is going to seriously have to step up his game in 2016.

All these guys will be with the club next year, as will McCann and Headley, so not much change with the big names. The pitching is younger, which I love and the Yankees have under contract or control of Tanaka, Sabathia, Nova, Pineda, Eovaldi, Warren and Severino.

Didi Gregorius grew big time over the last few months and will hopefully continue to improve. I still love that trade (as well as the one for Eovaldi). Greg Bird provided some huge hits and power production in Teixeira's absence but he appears to be a man without a spot next season, at least to begin. He needs to be in the lineup and be allowed to grow. He is the Yankees future at first base.

The one huge variable is Brett Gardner. He struggled along with Ellsbury at the top of the lineup down the stretch. Gardner is also under contract but is relatively inexpensive. He also has great speed and plays a very good outfield. He could be a trade chip, along with a pitcher like Adam Warren, Michael Pineda or a younger arm that could be moved to help solidify a hole in the lineup or rotation. I would love the right deal to fall into place and allow for Gardner to succeed and the Yankees to get a solid return.

The bullpen should be pretty solid again with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller at the back end. That should not be a problem in terms of the Yankees having strong able arms ready to compete for a spot in the 'pen.

As we can see, us Yankees fans may have to reluctantly settle for another middle of the road season until they're able to free up some payroll with Beltran, Sabathia and Tex all becoming free agents following the 2016 season. I love and respect all three of those guys as ballplayers, but they just aren't what they used to be, especially for the money they earn!

(In photo: Jorge Mateo)
Without a big time trade or unexpected opening of the infamous Steinbrenner checkbook, we really should start looking at 2017. Aaron Judge should be Major League ready with Jorge Mateo hot on his heels. There are many players in the now talent filled minor league system who are maturing and growing as ballplayers while sitting behind a backlog of contracts and fragile vets.

As much optimism as the new season brings, I really don't expect big things until 2017. Is that to say that the Yankees can't overachieve again and make a nice playoff run? No, of course not, but the signs and symptoms aren't going to change, so how can we expect the outcome to.

Unfortunately it looks like 2016 could be more of the same for the Yankees. Unless, of course, Brian Cashman, the Steinbrenner's and the over the hill roster fool us.

A man can hope, right?

--Dan Lucia
BYB Writer
Twitter: @DManLucia


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