The New York Yankees are ready to begin the 2019 MLB season. Here are four questions they must answer by the time the regular season starts:
Will the Yankees add another starting pitcher?
Currently, the Yankees have a solid starting rotation. Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and CC Sabathia will give the Yankees a chance to win a lot of games. The team’s great bullpen will probably dominate and will be able to effectively finish games. However, as the saying goes, you can never have enough starting pitching. General manager Brian Cashman knows that, and he has stated on many occasions that he would like to have more starting pitching depth. Paxton and Sabathia have both dealt with injuries over the past few seasons, so it would make sense to add another pitcher.
The question is whether they will fill that spot with someone inside or outside of the organization. Some internal options include youngsters Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo German, who both started major league games for the first time last season. Of course, the Yankees could instead go with a veteran such as Gio Gonzalez or Ervin Santana. Either way, the team should not count on Jordan Montgomery in 2019. He is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and the team should not rush him back.
Where will DJ LeMahieu play?
The Yankees surprised most baseball fans when they signed LeMahieu last month. The signing was a signal that the team had given up its pursuit of Manny Machado. Or was it? Well, for now, let’s discuss LeMahieu’s impact on the team.
It is fair to ask whether the two-time All-Star will be able to continue to hit at a .300 clip. However, LeMahieu’s defense is not going to diminish at Yankee Stadium. He will be an asset in the field no matter where he plays. In the first half of the season, he will play at his normal position, second base, as shortstop Didi Gregorius is forced to rehab from Tommy John surgery. But what happens when Gregorius comes back? It seems that Gregorius’s return will send 2018 All-Star Gleyber Torres back to second base. In the second half of the season, it is possible that LeMahieu will play at first base more often. Could he possibly play some third base if Miguel Andujar struggles in the field? LeMahieu has played at third base in his career, but moving him there would knock Andujar or DH Giancarlo Stanton out of the lineup for one day.
Will Clint Frazier have a breakout season?
Frazier, who was acquired in the Andrew Miller trade in 2016, has shown flashes of potential. However, injuries and a logjam in the Yankees outfield have prevented Frazier from being able to stay in the Bronx. He missed most of last season after suffering a severe concussion in a Spring Training game.
Frazier has the talent and the drive that a player needs in order to have a productive big-league career. He has dealt with some tough circumstances in his first three years in the Yankees organization, but he has continued to fight for a roster spot and will be a player to watch as Spring Training begins.
Will the Yankees go after Machado or Harper?
At this point, it is unlikely that the Yankees will pursue either of the big-time superstars who are still on the market. However, the Yankees can never be counted out until those two players put pen to paper and sign a contract with another club.
Over the past few days, it has been reported that the Yankees may be willing to offer Machado a seven- or eight-year contract worth $220 million. If that is the case, then the Yankees are not totally out of the running. It would be a surprise to see Machado in pinstripes on Opening Day, but it is not out of the question.
The only member of the Yankees organization that has done as much as say Bryce Harper‘s name is star right fielder Aaron Judge. Last week, Judge said that he would move over to center field if it meant that Harper could join the Bronx Bombers. Cashman has repeatedly stated that the team is not interested in shelling out $300 million for another power-hitting outfielder. The GM’s reasoning makes sense, and it would make much more sense to invest in more starting pitching than to sign another outfielder to a huge contract.
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