The Yankees have moved from a team of, if, to a team of, when. That last question cannot be answered, however, until Judge and Stanton have teammates to drive in.
The Yankees front office has to be ecstatic. Whatever plans they had for 2017 must have been eclipsed, as were the Red Sox as the presumptive favorites in the division.
Now, as every article that is not about Gerrit Cole can tell you, the team dreams of bigger things. And goals such as a division title, a deeper playoff run—even a World Series title—are all realistic, if not exactly written in the stars.
But for those plans to come to fruition, Cashman has to hope a few more prospects get ripe before the 2018 baseball season.
That’s partially true because of the price of Giancarlo Stanton: 2B Starlin Castro. The trade was without question a net gain for the Yankees, but, still, it was a trade-off. Castro was the only Yankee to hit at least .300 last season; next was part-timer Ronald Torreyes (.292).
The Price You Pay
Of course, OBP is the real stat line that delineates table setters. Here, Castro was only seventh (.338). That’s still better than Didi Gregorius (.318) and Torreyes (.314), though.
The bad news is who was above him.
Chase Headley was third on that list (.352); he has been returned to San Diego with a thanks for his service. Jacoby Ellsbury was fifth at .348. But it’ll be a bad day at black rock if Ellsbury gets another 356 at-bats this year.
And at four was forever Yankee Brett Gardner, with an even .350. That tied Brett for 60th in baseball. Plus, his age for the upcoming season—34—suggests a further diminution of his skills.
That still leaves two of the highest on-base guys in the majors on the roster. Giancarlo Stanton came in at number 23 with a .376, while Judge’s .422 made him third. Also, although he did not get enough AB’s to qualify for an official listing, Aaron Hicks ended with a .372.
Hicks, however, is still a maybe player, while Stanton and Judge can best serve the team by hitting home runs. With men on base, preferably. And these are the men that Cash hopes are on base in 2018.