New York Yankees: 3 Things That Put the Yankees Over the Top

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Three reasons to like the New York Yankees chances in a shortened 2020.

Coming into Spring Training back in February, the New York Yankees were preseason favorites to win an American League pennant. Even when the news broke at the beginning of camp in Tampa that Luis Severino was going to miss the 2020 season because of Tommy John surgery, the expectations never changed.

The Yankees and the rest of baseball were shut down on March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic and began workouts this weekend with the hopes of completing a 60-game regular season and playoffs. What the future holds with COVID-19 is anyone’s guess, but once the season kicks off, the Yankees are heavy favorites to get to the World Series.

Here are three things that could push the Bombers over the top of the rest of the American League field.

3. Motivated Starting Rotation

Yankees, James Paxton
James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees – (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Three of the top four expected starters in the Yankees rotation will be free agents following the season.

Gerrit Cole is at the top of the rotation in his first season as a Yankee after inking his nine-year, $324 million contract over the winter. After that, the next three spots will be filled with guys who will be free agents following the season. Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ will be looking to improve their stock for 2021. What a contract would like for any of them is a guessing game amid the current coronavirus pandemic.

Tanaka is still pitching with a torn UCL in his right elbow that was discovered in 2014. Typically, with an injury like that, Tommy John surgery is done to fix the problem. Not Tanaka. He missed three months after the diagnosis before returning to the mound.  He was hit in the head on Saturday by a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton. His return is uncertain at this time, but it appears he avoided a serious injury.

Paxton is coming off of back surgery, and Happ isn’t getting any younger at 37 years old. However, with the opportunity to earn another contract next season, this will be an important two months for the southpaws.

If healthy, each pitcher should make around 12 starts in the 60-game regular season. There will be plenty of starts for each pitcher to state their case for security beyond this year, whether it’s in pinstripes or elsewhere.