1. Yankees’ Path to the World Series Ain’t What it Used to Be
Will the New York Yankees win the American League? I mean…odds are, no! Strong teams have entered the Dance before and been felled by newcomers. The 116-win Seattle Mariners lost before the finish line.
All of this comes with a “stuff happens” caveat.
But in early March, their path to the World Series is certainly easier than it’s been since 2017.
The Yankees have gotten better, and everyone around them has gotten worse at preventing offense.
Tampa Bay? As we stated confidently, they chose to cut ties with Blake Snell and let Charlie Morton go to Atlanta. Toronto? They decided a full season with Robbie Ray was enough of a solution to their pitching glut; top prospect Nate Pearson is currently battling a groin issue.
Boston? We can’t rule out a miraculous 2013-esque run (you literally never can!), but the offense doesn’t match the pitching staff.
Who else is there outside the confines of the American League East? The Houston Astros lost Springer on offense, and said goodbye to young standout Framber Valdez and No. 1 pitching prospect Forrest Whitley with severe injuries. The Minnesota Twins remain the Minnesota Twins until proven otherwise. The White Sox have plenty of upstart mojo, but we’ll have to see them win a playoff series first. The Oakland A’s sold off half their team.
Will the Yankees defeat all of these teams to meet the Dodgers in the World Series? Once again, it’s more likely they’ll get tripped up along the way. Such is life.
This is clearly the best opportunity they’ve had in the past five years, though, with a filled-up pitching staff, rejuvenated offense, and no 2017-19 Astros or 2018 Red Sox in their way.