Yankees Editorial: Do the Yankees Have What it Takes to Contend in 2015?


If there was one word I would use to describe the emotions of all Yankee fans after watching the 2014 season its disgruntled. The 2014 season was a let-down on many levels: The Yankees failed to bring Derek Jeter to the playoffs in his last and final season,Brian McCann struggled in his adjustment to the American League, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira were mainstays on the DL and their starting rotation was decimated by injuries.

The Yankees rebounded with an off-season that has been quite different from those in recent years. Instead of opening up the checkbook and taking home the biggest free-agents on the market, the Yankees instead took a much quieter and cost-effective approach to re-building their roster.

More from Yankees News

While they did shell out a decent amount of money to bring in Andrew Miller, one of the games most dominant relievers, and to bring back third-baseman Chase Headley for the foreseeable future, the rest of their off-season upgrades came via the trade market.

They parted ways with the homegrown and consistent starter Shane Greene in exchange for the shortstop they so desperately needed in Sir Didi Gregorious. They also traded away what looked to be their starting second baseman in the versatile Martin Prado for a package that consisted of the young flame thrower Nathan Eovaldi, slugger Garrett Jones and top-prospect Domingo German. The team also added bullpen insurance by acquiring David Carpenter and Justin Wilson from the Braves in exchange for former top-prospect turned reclamation project Manny Banuelos.

Now, many of these decisions have led to a growing impatience among Yankee fans. Some are calling for a total rebuild while others are flat-out calling for Brian Cashman to be fired. Do I believe the Yankees can win a World Series with their current roster? No. But do I believe that this team has the potential to compete and make the playoffs in 2015? Absolutely… but, only if certain factors come into play.

For starters, they need their top two pitchers healthy and ready to provide the on-field contributions they’re capable of producing. Masahiro Tanaka suffered a small-tear in his pitching elbow at the end of the 2014 season, causing him to bow out of the Cy Young race and shut down for a huge chunk of the second half of the year.

As of right now, the Yankees are relying on him to make all 32 of his starts. If his elbow holds up, the Yankees pitching staff will be led by one of the best pitchers in the game. C.C Sabathia on the other hand needs to bounce back from his last two lackluster seasons and return to at least a reliable starter who can pitch behind Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Following his season ending knee surgery, it’s hard to predict what you’ll get out of Sabathia, but good health from Tanaka and Pineda will take a ton of pressure off the former ace.

Needless to say, the Yankees bullpen is projected to be their biggest strength in 2015. You can call it modeling after the 2014 Kansas City Royals or you can call it Brian Cashman prioritizing run prevention, but at the end of the day the bullpen has to produce as well as they’re projected to on paper.

One of the biggest questions hovering over their pen is whether or not they can survive the loss of David Robertson. The Yankees were able to survive without Mariano Rivera, but only because Robertson stepped up and became a dominant closer. With no Robertson in the bullpen, there’s a ton of speculation regarding Dellin Betances and his ability to repeat his rookie dominance. However, if all the arms in the bullpen step up and pitch the way they’re capable of, the Yankees can certainly overcome Robertson’s loss… especially when it’s Miller Time!

Last but not least, a big factor as to whether or not the Yankees can contend in 2015 is if they can get production out of Teixeira, McCann and Beltran, the heart of their lineup. McCann, still in his prime, didn’t quite live up to his expectations last season. Beltran, as I alluded to earlier, was consistently injured last season and Teixeira has been in a steady decline. The Yankees spend a large portion of their payroll on these three guys and rely on them to provide the offensive production, which means they need to step up and start living up to their contracts.

These are the biggest success factors that the Yankees need in order to contend in 2015. There certainly are plenty of ‘if’s’, but, the glass is half full, not empty! It will be interesting to see how this all pans out!

More from Yanks Go Yard