2016 will be an entertaining year in the Bronx. The Yankees are coming off a season in which they overachieved but still found a way to disappoint the masses.
Last season the Yankees led the American League East in August, only to slump into the wild-card spot. They were then promptly dismissed from the playoffs by the young Houston Astros.
The Yankees starting rotation, though not star-studded, should be able to hold its own. Anchored by a hopefully healthy Masahiro Tanaka, flanked by young guns Luis Severino and Michael Pineda and with the now healthy Eovaldi and Sabathia pushing up the rear, this staff can keep the Bronx Bombers in games. The forever intriguing Ivan Nova is also available, in case of injury or of a rough patch from one of the starters. This staff was beleaguered by nicks and bumps last season, so the Bronx’s faithful can only hope that they’ll make it through 2016 relatively unscathed.
The bullpen is full of firepower and is the team’s strength. Andrew Miller, fresh off a 36-save season, and the dominant force that is Dellin Betances now welcome the man some call the “Cuban Missile:” Fireballer Aroldis Chapman, formerly a Cincinnati Red, is set to join the Yanks dominant 1-2 punch of Betances and Miller, which could effectively shorten games to 6 innings.
The lineup will feature newly acquired shortstop-turned-second baseman Starlin Castro, formerly of the Chicago Cubs. Castro had a down season last year, batting .265, but has hit over .283 in four of his six seasons in the majors. He will join Alex Rodriguez, fresh off of his revelation of a season, Jacoby Ellsbury, who is looking to get back to his former MVP candidate form, and the same streaky lineup as last season. This team will have to be willing to scratch and claw for runs since their pitching staff will keep them in games.
The offseason was marked by inactivity for the typically big-spending Yankees. Aside from the two trades they made, the team made one irrelevant free-agent acquisition. The possible promotion, therefore, of the lurking mammoth Aaron Judge is the move which could propel this team to the next level, especially with the ancient Carlos Beltran patrolling right field.
The New York Yankees can and will contend for the AL East this season. If the hitting can piece together enough runs and the starting rotation can remain healthy, this season could be the year the Yankees take another trip down the Canyon of Heroes.