Storyline: If double-digit scoring continues like it has all Spring, then I see “The Baby Bombers” Going Yard and deep into the playoffs.
Spring training for the N.Y. Yankees has been anything but easy. In the midst of a youth movement, the team has an old school manager who’s adjusting to a roster lacking veterans; a cash-savvy GM who wants to make the next big trade; a team with a major injury to a key position; and an owner who embraces a youth movement, but can’t stand growing pains.
The Yankees have endured all of this before. In the mid 90’s they went through a home-grown phase in which the minors provided the talent and free agency generated the headlines. This 2017 team is getting dangerously close to being two trades away—save Brett Gardner and Chase Headley—from being a full-blown 25-and-under team.
The fact that current top prospects are either a month away from taking their first legal drink–or even a full year–is not a horrible thing. But the injury to Sir Didi is … especially because he was hurt during the World Baseball Classic, away from Yankees’ trainers and program.
Yet Didi’s injury was never a cause for panic. With so many prospects in the minors, the Yankees have prospects to cover a month’s time
And the good news is that Owner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman seem to finally be on the same page. They both understand the process will not be completed overnight and they know these Young Bombers will struggle through stretches of the season. If they stay true to their word–and not try and swing for the fences with a big trade for a starting pitcher—this team is set for success, this year and beyond. Having said that, I see Cashman sending a shortstop and an outfielder to the minors to remove from the books at least two of the more expensive long-term contracts.
As for Manager Girardi, it’s about grooming a young team—to teach these athletes how to be winners, “ The Yankee Way.” While time will tell, I’ll bet that this season will either be the start of something great or the Yankees it could end up with a handful of prospects that never panned out.
The difference may be in the hands of Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild. He needs to enable young prospects in the minors to help immediately. C.C. Sabathia’s contract comes off the books after this season and that will open up another spot in the rotation. So if the Yankees play this spot in the rotation right—and actually allow their pitchers to stretch their wings this year and pitch into the deeper innings, good or bad—they may find something they’ve been missing, HEART.
With young bulls James Kaprielian, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Severino, the Yankees have the makings of a strong, young pitching core. Masahiro Tanaka will be back next year. If he struggles early this year, the Yankees may opt for surgery instead of continuously putting it off. That way he’ll be able to come back strong for the final two years of his contract.
And while the 5th rotational spot is up for grabs, you don’t need five aces when four solid starters should be enough to get your team through any playoff series. Let’s focus instead on the need to give the bullpen a rest. With over-reliance recently, it’s time again to give those guy’s some nights off.
So while this team has its work cut out for it, if double-digit scoring continues like it has all Spring, I expect to see “The Baby Bombers” Go Yard and deep into the playoffs.