The 2016 season is winding down and the Yankees are more or less out of the playoff picture. It’s time to look forward to what next year’s club might look like.
While a lot can happen over the offseason, we have a pretty good idea of how the majority of next year’s New York Yankees roster will shake out, barring some unexpected blockbuster. The front office has more or less committed to building from within, which means sticking with internal options for the most part and having patience with the kids.
That being said, here is my prediction of what next year’s lineup will look like when New York break’s from spring training:
2017 Opening Day Lineup
Greg Bird 1B
Aaron Judge RF
Brian McCann DH
Starlin Castro 2B
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The first question you might ask is where is Brett Gardner? The answer is on another team. Top prospect Clint Frazier is almost ready to take over in left and Williams can be a temporary replacement while Frazier is finishing up in the minors.
I’m assuming Gardner will be moved for a starting pitcher, as that is the difference if the Yankees want to make the playoffs. The Nationals need a leadoff hitter and have tons of pitchers. A deal surrounding Gio Gonzalez and Brett Gardner makes a fair deal.
Greg Bird looks like a shoo-in to win the first base competition between him and Tyler Austin. There is no doubt it is Bird’s job to lose if he’s healthy. The rest of the lineup pretty much explains itself.
2017 Opening Day Bench
The bench is relatively similar to what it is now with one subtraction. Rob Refsnyder seems like a good bet to be traded to another team. New York has no place for him on the team and realized it was time to let him go to another team. Billy Butler has stuck around and can be a good right-handed bat off the bench.
#3 Gio Gonzalez
#5 Luis Cessa
The 1-2 guys are the same and the trust should be in them to lead the Yankees rotation in 2017. Gonzalez would be the acquisition from the Brett Gardner trade. I think they give Luis Severino one more shot in the rotation to see if he finally can succeed the Yankees envisioned he could. Luis Cessa will remain in the rotation and can be a solid #5 starter for the Yankees.
Every one of these guys has pitched for the Yankees and are all currently with them except Chapman. With the bullpen struggles the Yankees have had recently it is time to bring Chapman back and improve the bullpen.
2017 Yankees Record
89-73 (1st Wild Card–2nd in Division–ALDS loss)
The Yankees rebuild is in full swing and it will start next season. They will lose the division only because the Red Sox rebuild is in it’s prime and the rivalry will get heated again in the years to come. We will revisit these opinions in April and see how they have turned out. The team has many great years to come, and 2017 will be the start of it.