The Yankees once again remain the favorites in the American League.
Given the Yanks’ self-imposed budget constraints, the team was remarkably able to upgrade the roster. During the offseason, the club let go three previous starting pitchers, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton, reflecting a desire to reduce expenditures and move in a different direction.
To replace those guys, the Yanks signed former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and traded for Jameson Taillon in a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both have dealt with injuries in the past, and it’s uncertain how well they will hold up during the entire regular season. Nonetheless, their ceilings remain extremely high.
Additionally, there’s an outside chance that Luis Severino will join the team in the middle of the season. But again, his effectiveness following surgery is largely unknown. And the fact that they’re relying on Domingo German to contribute in a big way is worrisome.
As for the bullpen, the Yankees traded relief pitcher Adam Ottavino and let go of Tommy Kahnle and Jonathan Holder. To address those holes, they signed Darren O’Day and Justin Wilson. We can assume they’ll rely on one of their younger arms to step up too.
But the most critical transaction the Bombers made during the offseason was retaining LeMahieu, the team’s best player, to maintain their stellar infield. As a result, all eyes will be on Gleyber Torres to take the next step as the team’s starting shortstop of the future.
As for other marginal moves, they traded for outfielder Greg Allen (speedster and lefty bat) and signed both Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich to minor-league deals to provide some flexibility and pop on the left side of the plate. More high upside, flexibility and depth.