The Yankees Will Not Contend In 2017 (So Says Las Vegas)

Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Yankees are destined to be pretenders, not contenders in 2017. At least, that’s what the gambling gods in Las Vegas say. Not so fast, though, because this team could surprise some people. And besides, as we’ll see, the oddsmakers don’t exactly have the best track record in making predictions.

The Yankees, at this time last year, were positioned eighth among all teams to win the 2016 World Series. This, according to something called Westgate Superbook. As you look at the chart below, though, what team name is missing? And which team stands out as an also-ran in the race to the top.

Chicago Cubs 4-1
Los Angeles Dodgers 10-1
Houston Astros 10-1
Boston Red Sox 12-1
New York Mets 12-1
San Francisco Giants 12-1
Toronto Blue Jays 14-1
New York Yankees 14-1

I’m sure you noticed that the Cleveland Indians do not appear in the top eight, but also that the Houston Astros do appear, despite that fact that they finished a distant third to the Texas Rangers, a full 11 games back.

So now, what does the same source predict for 2017:

Cubs 3-1
Dodgers 10-1
Nationals 10-1
Red Sox 10-1
Mets 12-1
Indians 12-1
Astros 12-1
Blue Jays 14-1
Giants 16-1
Rangers 16-1
Cardinals 20-1
Orioles 20-1
Tigers 20-1
Yankees 25-1

A much longer list until you reach the Yankees, isn’t it? And you have to wonder, for instance, are theToronto Blue Jays that much better after they lost Edwin Encarnacion and (probably) Jose Bautista? And are the Baltimore Orioles better than the Yankees (how)? And are the Cleveland Indians that far away from capturing a World Series title after coming so close in 2016?

And there’s bound to be a host of questions and opinions from fans of the Yankees, but I just have one. Does it really matter?

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Last year, the team finished 83-78, five over .500. They did not make the playoffs. But while in a previous era when “The Boss,” George Steinbrenner, might have been firing everyone in his way, it was felt that the team had a successful season in 2016.

Joe Torre, when he was managing the team, had an interesting way of counting his team’s progress over the course of a season. He would say that you need to “count ’em in fives.” That is, once you get to five over, you strive for ten over, then fifteen, and so on. Because that’s the way you build championships.

The keyword, of course, is making championships, because these things don’t happen overnight. Just ask the Chicago Cubs. And so, with that in mind, the Yankees only need not digress in 2017, and if they can, add five to the win column, so they finish with 88 wins this year. And next year (and the year after that), will take care of itself.

The kids are coming. There’s no pressure here, or at least there shouldn’t be any. I could be wrong, but the Yankees fan base is willing to be patient, at least for the upcoming season. There is a multitude of questions surrounding the team that will be answered once the season begins. At the same time, though, the team’s fans expect to see some progress, and not a step backward, finishing, for example, at .500.

Next: Nasty Nate Coming Back to the Bronx?

Brian Cashman has a plan. And in the end, that’s all that matters. He’s no longer shooting in the dark signing this guy and that guy just to save face for the team in any particular year. It’ll all come together.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful though if the Yankees could show those oddsmakers in Las Vegas a thing or two about what they don’t know about this franchise? 25-1, phooey!