New York Yankees: The 2010s in review (2015-2019)

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Yankees history
Alex Rodriguez homers. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) /


Manager- Joe Girardi

Record: 87-75, 2nd in the AL East

Key Acquisitions: Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Miller

Key Departures: Derek Jeter, David Robertson, Ichiro Suzuki, Martin Prado, Shane Greene, Francisco Cervelli, Hiroki Kuroda

Expectations were relatively low for the Yankees for the 2015 season. With Derek Jeter retired, the team acquired then 25-year-old Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks, to fill in the void at shortstop. Not much was known about Gregorius, other than the fact that he could be slick with the glove, had good range and a great arm. What he lacked was an electric bat. However, he was finally getting the opportunity to play every day, which was something he had never received in either Arizona or Cincinnati, where he started his career. The Yankees also brought in right-handed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to replace Hiroki Kuroda, who returned to pitch in Japan and southpaw reliever Andrew Miller, who had signed as a free agent. Arguably, however, the biggest storyline of the season was the return of Alex Rodriguez from his suspension.

To the surprise of many, the team got off to a good start and sat atop the division for most of the first half. At the All-Star break, they were 48-40, 3 ½ games ahead of Tampa Bay. Despite his age and missing all of last season, A-Rod hadn’t appeared to have lost a step and seemed rejuvenated. He was a major producer at the plate. At the break, he had hit 18 home runs and was hitting .278. He also picked up his 3,000th career hit, a home run against the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, in June. Brett Gardner was batting .302 and made the American League All-Star team. After getting off to a slow start, Gregorius was starting to get comfortable both at shortstop and at the plate. On the pitching side, the duo of Dellin Betances and Miller provided a deadly 1-2 bullpen punch and were locking down games for the Yankees.

The Yankees continued to play well when the second half began and they moved to 15 games above .500, 60-45 on August 4. However, their division lead was being threatened by the Toronto Blue Jays, who were starting to catch fire. A pivotal three-game showdown in the Bronx in early August would determine whether these Blue Jays were either pretenders or contenders. Toronto proved that they were no slouch and proceeded to sweep the series, holding the Yankees to just one measly little run over the three games. Toronto was on a roll, having won 11 of their last 12 and they kept it up by sweeping Oakland later on that week. The two teams would meet again in Toronto the next weekend, this time with the Blue Jays leading the division. The Yankees would end up taking two out of three from the Jays to move back into first place. The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as the Yankees entered a slump, one which they would not get out of. After their series win over Toronto, New York played .500 ball the rest of the way (23-23).

The team struggled mightily offensively and took a huge blow during a series against the Minnesota Twins when first baseman Mark Teixeira fractured his leg after fouling a ball off of it. He’d end up missing the rest of the season. His replacement, however, rookie Greg Bird, did a tremendous job of filling in for him. Bird hit .261 and clubbed 11 homers, giving Yankee fans a glimpse of what the farm system possessed. 2015 also saw the emergence of young right-handed starting pitcher Luis Severino, who wound up going 5-3 with a 2.89 in 11 starts for the team.

Ultimately, Toronto ended up taking the division but the Yankees clinched their first playoff berth in three years with a 4-1 win against the Red Sox on October 1 at Yankee Stadium. The team would end up hosting the American League Wild Card game against the upstart Houston Astros. Before the game, however, C.C. Sabathia announced he was checking himself into an alcohol rehab clinic and would not be with the team for the postseason, regardless of how far they went. The Yankees wouldn’t go far at all as they were shut out by eventual AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel. Houston salvaged the game 3-0, but it might as well have been 15-0 as the Yankee offense only mustered three hits the entire game and didn’t get anybody to third base.

Analysis: 2015 had the potential to be something special with the way the season started for the Yankees. However, it seemed everybody ran out of gas by the time August came. It was a sad way to end the season and several key guys who played such a big role in the first half struggled very badly in the second half. After hitting over .300 in the first half, Gardner fell from grace in the second half and hit just .206. He also went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Wild Card Game and was heavily booed by the crowd. A-Rod ended up playing in 151 games in 2015, his most in a season most since his MVP year of 2007 (158 games). He did hit a team-leading 33 home runs but struggled down the stretch. He also failed to come up clutch in the Wild Card Game when he left runners stranded on first and second and flew out to end the bottom of the sixth inning, the only time the Yankees ever threatened offensively in the game. Overall, it was just a depressing way to end a season that could’ve captured the hearts of Yankee fans everywhere. What made it even sourer was that the Mets won the NL Pennant that year.