In 2018, the New York Yankees were obliterated by a World Series winning Boston Red Sox team in the ALDS. The loss exposed multiple weaknesses in regard to the Yankees’ roster – starting pitching, ability to get on base, base-running, etc.
The list of deficiencies piled up after the loss, and general manager Brian Cashman has addressed some of the weaknesses to the best of abilities, or rather with the least monetary investment. Skipping out on Manny Machado and zigzagging around big free-agent pitcher Patrick Corbin were two moves that raised a few eye-brows.
Cashman did sign five Gold-Gloves to the infield in DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki. The two veterans will provide skill on the defensive side of the infield and solid hitting on the offensive. A cheaper alternative to signing Machado or Bryce Harper, despite the want from both to play in Pinstripes.
How have the Red Sox fared?
Boston is on the brink of losing star closer Crag Kimbrel which would be a significant loss to their bull-pen. They re-signed Nathan Eovaldi and retained most of their starting team. The Yankees didn’t lose any significant players. They added starting pitcher James Paxton to the rotation to offer more support down the stretch.
At this point, it seems as if the Yanks have taken a jump in quality while the Red Sox have lost a bit. Additionally, head coach Aaron Boone will have one important year of experience under his belt to help him improve upon his mistakes last season.
My biggest concern:
My most pressing concern is the depth and consistency on the offensive side of the ball. The first-base position isn’t secure as Greg Bird and Luke Voit will split time – neither can be trusted to consistently hit at an average/high level, the left field position isn’t offensively stout with Brett Gardner playing.
Current active outfielders:
Behind the core of Stanton, Judge and Hicks, the quality takes a massive drop-off. Ellsbury hasn’t been effective since 2014 realistically, Gardner has seen age take its toll, and Frazier has potential but hasn’t proved he can be a consistent option. Health will be a very important factor in the success of the team this upcoming season.
The success of New York against Boston will really come down to if the Yankees can figure out how to stop an extremely efficient Red Sox lineup. It will ultimately come down to the little details against each and every batter – the game is getting more mathematical, but the Yankees have added enough pieces to help their cause against the best team in baseball.