Yanks Locked and Loaded


The addition of Giancarlo Staton may have pushed the Bronx Bombers over the top. (Courtesy of Twitter)

By Evan Biancardi

The addition of Giancarlo Staton may have pushed the Bronx Bombers over the top. (Courtesy of Twitter)

With Opening Day just over two weeks away, the New York Yankees are starting to trim down their roster in anticipation for what’s expected to be another pennant-chasing season. Before the start of last year, the Bombers seemed to be years away from making another World Series title run, but after a rookie record 52 home runs from Aaron Judge and a Cy Young-worthy campaign from Luis Severino, the team now enters 2018 with lofty expectations.

It didn’t seem as though the team needed much improvement after last year’s loss to the Astros in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series, but that didn’t stop them from pulling the trigger and making perhaps the most significant acquisition of the offseason.

On December 11, 2017 it was made official that the Yankees had acquired reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton. In order to complete the seven-year deal, though, New York had to absorb much of the $295 million remaining on his contract, which could keep him in pinstripes through his age-38 season.

The depth of the Yankees’ farm system has been well-documented since the team decided to sell in 2016, and no player has had more hype than second baseman Gleyber Torres.

The 21-year-old is recovering from Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow, but all signs point to him filling in for the departed Starlin Castro. The Bombers will also look to third base prospect Miguel Andujar to replace Todd Frazier.
While the acquisitions of Brandon Drury and Neil Walker suggest that the team may be slightly hesitant to start its two youngsters (who have a combined seven major league at-bats), it’s not a matter of “if” but “when?”

The Opening Day lineup would certainly look much better with Andujar and Torres in it, but keeping them in the minor leagues through the first half of April would make them eligible for Super-Two status, which would give the Yankees an additional year of club control.

Regardless, the Yankees lineup will undoubtedly be one of the best in baseball, and with the relief core intact, the bullpen has the potential to be historic. The only thing standing in the way of a division title, then, is the starting pitching. Much has been made of the Yankees’ inconsistent staff, but it’s evident that Cashman and the front office feel as though their rotation can repeat their playoff excellence from a year ago.

The pressure is on Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery to repeat last season’s success, but veterans Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, and CC Sabathia are no sure things.

With just over $10 million to spend before reaching the $197 million salary cap, a midseason acquisition is plausible, but with arms like Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield ready in the minors, the front office has a ton of flexibility moving forward.

Yankees’ fans have much to be excited about in 2018, and while it may seem as though it’s championship or bust for new manager, Aaron Boone’s, squad, there is no doubt that this year is just the start of a new dynasty in the Bronx.