Yankees: Everybody’s Talking About The Red Sox But…

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees begin the 2017 season with a 0-0 record, the same as the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Orioles if you want to count them in there too. Not so fast, though, with all these predictions about the team in Beantown.

The Yankees have set their final roster to begin the 2017 season when they take the field against the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday night with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound.

It has been a long and grueling spring which, at times, has been marked by some yelling and screaming from the chorus in the background as to what the final composition of the team should be to start the season.

But now it’s for real, and each player who won a much-contested spot on the 25-man man roster is filled with anticipation and perhaps even some trepidation about what lies ahead. Aaron Judge has been judged to be the Yankees right fielder following a spirited contest with Aaron Hicks. Now, everything starts anew, and Judge is on the clock to hold that position

The same goes for Luis Severino who, after an up and down spring was handed the role as the number four starter in the rotation. Ditto Ronald Torreyes who was tagged as the fill-in for the injured Didi Gregorius.

So, Let’s Get This Thing Going

Everybody’s talking about the Red Sox, Red Sox as though they’ve been pre-ordained as the winners of the AL East. Others point to the Toronto Blue Jays as the team most likely to challenge Boston based on their pitching, while others still mention the Orioles as the dark horse in the Division, presumably based on the ability of Buck Showalter to manufacture something out of nothing.

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This is all good. Because, for once, the team gets to play spoiler in a race that has yet even to begin. Twenty-three wins (and counting) this spring mean nothing when Sunday rolls around regarding the standings. But Yankees fans know they mean everything for a team that is just putting itself together.

To be honest, I haven’t checked to see if the “final cuts” made by the Red Sox to begin the season were inundated with conflict and a matter of choosing between equally talented players as the Yankees have had to do. But I would expect that the team was pre-determined several weeks ago. Good for them.

And to be as equally as forthright, on paper the Red Sox have it all over the Yankees. The one-two combo of Chris Sale and David Price is formidable, and Mookie Betts could replace Mike Trout as the premier player in the major leagues as soon as this season. They’re a powerhouse to be reckoned with.

The Yankees Have A Not So Secret Weapon

The wild card in this year’s race for the AL East, though, is the talent that the Yankees have banked in the minor leagues.

If the Yankees get the “scent” that their rivals in the East could be had, why not go for it in an attempt to steal one this year

At any point in time, the team can do pull a bait and switch with call-ups that are at least equal to, if not better, than the talent they have on their roster at the time. No doubt, Brian Cashman will have to be a magician to pull off the moves necessary, but the threat is there to transform the race to the Playoffs. And neither the Red Sox or the Blue Jays can say the same.

That same bevy of talent can also make for a wild and wooly Trade Deadline scenario in which the Yankees can make any number of plays for players who can put them over the top while still holding onto the bulk of the young talent they currently hold. Again, neither the Red Sox or the Jays can state the same.

It’s Going To Be A Touch And Feel Season

The Yankees are in an enviable spot. Quietly, they could just toss the 2017 season out letting things develop on their own in the Bronx while their weapons of the future make strides forward in Trenton and Scranton.

Or, if they get the “scent” that their rivals in the East could be had, why not go for it in an attempt to steal one this year and then pour it on next season.

We’ll know by July which way the team is leaning.