2019 Team Preview #18: New York Yankees

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On to the preview!

Last Year

2018 Record: 69-93, 4th Place AL East, 33 Games Back.

2018 was a nightmare for the Bronx Bombers and fans of the Yankees in the Big Apple. Just 69 wins (17 less than their previous low) and over 30 games back in a distant 4th place. Leadership was inconsistent and the team lacked direction. With a new GM installed, will the big-spending Yankees find themselves back in the post-season?

Key Additions

SS Chris Brown (ATL via Trade)
SP Matt Barnes (ATL via Trade)
2B Dee Gordon (FA)
RF Miguel Velazquez (FA)
RP Mike Minor (COL via Trade)
RP Wilmer Font (COL via Trade)
1B Jose Abreu (FA)
LF Jaff Decker (CLE via Trade)
RP Bartolo Medina (CLE via Trade)
CL Robert Paulus (SEA via Trade)
SP Nathan Eovaldi (SEA via Trade)
C Tommy Joseph (BAL via Trade)
CL Marc Rzjgkjlgi (BAL via Trade)
SP Lucio Cruzado (BAL via Trade)
SP Tommy Hanson (CIN via Trade)
3B Alonso Martinez (CHW via Trade)
SP Joseph Musgrove (CHW via Trade)
3B Rob Segedin (BAL via Trade)
1B Prince Fielder (STL via Trade)
1B Eric Hosmer (LAD via Trade)
New, and very active GM, Rhett Parker

Key Losses

RF Wendell Ayers (ATL via Trade)
SP Chris Gray (ATL via Trade)
SS Chad Scott (ATL via Trade)
2B Stanley Mills (CLE via Trade)
SP Pat Swain (TOR via Trade)
CF Mariano Gonzalez (SEA via Trade)
SP Kyle Cody (SEA via Trade)
C Cameron Gallagher (BAL via Trade)
SP Hector Hernandez (BAL via Trade)
3B Juan Francisco (CHW via Trade)
1B Kyle Roller (LAD via Trade)
RP Jesus Romero (FA)

Lineup/Rotation Projection

Whew! That took awhile! New GM Rhett Parker certainly made his mark on the Yankees team. By my rough count, the 25-man roster is going to have about 19 players acquired this off-season ALONE. The Yankees of course boast some of the best financial resources in the league and have now committed well over a half-billion dollars to payroll over the next 3 years with the players they have ($579mm). So, what’s the end result?

Tommy Joseph (.287, 20 HR) will be behind the plate, late of Baltimore. International Free Agent 1B Jose Abreu, a bulky hitter with power potential, will be over at first. Up the middle will be speedy Dee Gordon (53 SB) and rangy SS Chris Brown (.233). Over at third is another Baltimore import, Rob Segedin (27 HR). In the outfield it will be Jaff Decker (.20 HR) in left, the lone holdover Brett Gardner (41 SB) in CF. At DH we’ve got Prince Fielder (20 HR). But what about RF? RF will have possibly the most important hitter for the Yankees, tempermental and well-traveled slugger, Miguel Velazquez (18 HR in 316 PA). Velazquez is on his 9th big-league team in 5+ seasons, as teams love the offensive potential he brings, but loathe the havoc he can unfurl on a clubhouse. I’d wager so much to say that the Yankees are making a half-billion dollar bet that they can keep his flair ups at bay. Granted, they can always cut him (at the cost of nearly 120 million), but even the Yankees have a spending limit, and without him is a hole that would need addressing.

The rotation is all newcomers, headed by reigning AL Cy Young winner, Nathan Eovaldi (20-7, 2.32 ERA). He’ll be followed by another former Oriole in Lucio Cruzado (14-6), newly acquired former Brave Matt Barnes (13-10), former Red Tommy Hanson (12-12) and young former White Sox starter Joseph Musgrove (4-8). In the pen they’ve got a number of options and the expected closer is former Mariner Robert Paulus (1.45 ERA, 17 Sv). He’ll be supported by lefties Marc Rztgdsgkhi (3.47 ERA, 14 Holds) and holdover Boomer Potts (3.06 ERA). Righties in the pen should be Bartolo Medina (6.15 ERA, late of Cleveland), Wilmer Font (4.16 ERA as starter, late of MIN) and holdover Leon Perez (4.44 ERA)

Outlook

Well, one thing is for sure, the Yankees are going to be better than they were in 2018. I’m a bit wary of the offense, even with Velazquez. International guys like Abreu tend to struggle coming over, and only one player that I’m projecting to start hit over .260 last year (Joseph at .287). Platooning and riding hot hands will help, as they have a deep bench but it could be a lot of feast-or-famine offense for the Yankees. The rotation looks solid with the late-offseason pickup of Barnes, but the pen is pretty thin for the middle innings.

I think they’ll be in the playoff hunt throughout, but they’re a class below the Jays, the other top AL East Team and the top of the AL West. I think they’ll jump up to 86-76, but in 3rd place in the East.