Though the organization made great strides to get better equipped for the future, next season’s Yankees team could look very similar to what we’ve seen this year.
On the shoulders of Gary Sanchez, who slugged a three-run home run in the 7th inning for his 17th dinger in just 42 games, the Yankees finally snapped their five-game losing streak, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3.
FYI, Sanchez is now averaging one home run for every 9.5 at-bats on the season. Impressive to say the least.
With only 13 games remaining, the Yankees would virtually have to win out for even the slimmest of Postseason aspirations. And since seven teams stand in their way of landing that final Wild Card spot, it’s about time we begin looking forward to next season.
Long before we get into rumors-galore, the Yankees, and their fans need to take a good hard look at who is coming back for the 2017 season.
The only “new face” to plug into the equation will be Greg Bird, who should be fully recovered from a torn labrum in his right shoulder–taking over every day at first base.
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The same can be said in regards to the starting rotation when it comes to Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell and Luis Severino. Each has talent and upside, but a lot of ground needs to be covered to reach the next level of competitiveness.
Across the rest of the board, what you currently see is what you get. While there are a ton of excess pieces (like the uber crowded outfield) unless the Yankees package some of these players alongside a prospect or two, don’t expect widespread change; especially considering the dearth of impact free-agent names.
As far as shedding salary is concerned, only about $25MM is coming off the books; and $23MM of that belongs to Mark Teixeira. Remember, just because Alex Rodriguez “retired,” doesn’t mean he won’t see every bit of the $21M owed to him for one more go-around. Basically, he’s the highest paid special assistant of all-time.
While there are obvious needs at the top of the pitching rotation and all throughout the bullpen, Brian Cashman and company are still on the hook for $150MM in guaranteed salaries.
This past offseason, Cashman didn’t sign a single free agent. So what’s makes us think he will alter course now, especially since he’s restocked the Minor League system.
All signs point to the Yankees standing still until the winter of 2017/18, when A-Rod, CC Sabathia ($25M), Tyler Clippard ($6.15M), and Michael Pineda (’17 salary still TBD via arbitration) are given their walking papers.
This is around the time when most of the Yankees’ blue chip prospects (Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, Justus Sheffield, and James Kaprielian) should be ready to contribute on a permanent basis.
As always, though, the word “prospect” should come with a caution sign, as a lot can happen between now and Spring Training 2018.