Yankees: How the delayed start of the season could hurt or help the Yankees
Everyone in baseball, especially the players and fans, are extremely disappointed that the season is indefinitely suspended by MLB. Of course, one cannot argue against the reasons for making this decision, but what effect will the suspension have on the Yankees once the regular season begins?
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, MLB first canceled spring training and the first two weeks of the season through April 9. However, after a Yankees minor leaguer tested positive for the virus and conditions rapidly worsened across the country, MLB extended the two-week cancelation of the regular season indefinitely on March 15. Most MLB officials are anticipating that the official start of the season won’t take place until mid-May at the earliest.
So how will the extended delay impact the Yankees once the season finally begins? Before and during spring training there was enormous optimism about how well the Yankees were going to perform in 2020, and rightfully so. This offseason the Yanks snagged arguably the best pitcher in baseball, “Sir” Gerrit Cole to lead the starting rotation. They also resigned 36-year-old veteran outfielder Bret Gardner, who had a career year in 2019.
Miguel Andujar is back after missing the majority of last season with a torn labrum. He’s 100% healed from surgery last May and is ready to make a big impact offensively like he did during his rookie campaign in 2018. With Gio Urshela now the primary third baseman Miggy is expected to move around the diamond at multiple positions including first base and left field.
Although the Yanks lost catcher Austin Romine to the Detroit Tigers via free agency, Kyle Higashioka looks like a capable new backup for Gary Sanchez. Gleyber Torres is now the new shortstop replacing Didi Gregorius and DJ LeMahieu is slated to play second base on a regular basis, which is his natural position. Repositioning both players in this manner should more than make up for the loss of Didi.
During spring training J. A. Happ, everyone’s favorite trading chip during the offseason, pitched very well posting a 1.38 ERA in 13 IP. Jonathan Loaisiga was also impressive in five appearances posting a 2.70 ERA with 14 K’s. He was the favorite to win the final spot in the rotation before spring training was suspended so it will be interesting to see what role he plays once MLB gets clearance to resume operations.
Now to the negative. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton appeared to be healthy at the beginning of spring training after they both had injury-plagued campaigns in 2019, but unfortunately, things quickly took a turn for the worse for both sluggers. Right now they’re each rehabbing their way back from injuries yet again.
Luis Severino was expected to be the second ace in the rotation behind Cole but he’s already done for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. James Paxton had back surgery a week before pitchers and catchers reported to camp and won’t be ready to return until mid-May at the earliest.
This spring has looked like a repeat of last year’s for the Yanks on the injury front but they’re still a very deep club that has the pieces to overcome adversity once again. The time off could seriously benefit them once this pandemic comes to an end. However, there’s a chance it could hurt them as well.