Spring Training is merely weeks away, and the Yankee universe is all abuzz. Who’s going to make the cut? Who’s going to start the season in Scranton? Are the Arenado rumors worth anything? How’s our starting rotation going to shape up?
I don’t know the answers to those questions just yet. But I can tell you this. There are two Yankees who will be under the heaviest scrutiny for 2020. And they are…
Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole
Stanton and Cole are teams that drastically improve your team. Stanton is a lethal force in your lineup, capable of bashing 30+ home runs and driving in 100+ RBI’s on a regular basis. Cole emerged as a filthy animal on the mound in Houston, with back to back seasons with an ERA under 3.00, and over 600 strikeouts in 2 seasons. Our daily chances of winning increase dramatically with Cole starting, and Stanton in the lineup.
But they are 2 players each earning $300 million or more. People are going to expect them to show they are worth the hefty price tag by April 6th.
Stanton is under the heaviest scrutiny. His injury-riddled 2019 was frustrating, especially with the promise he was showing at the end of September and the ALCS prior to the injury. I mean… he hit a home run off Zack Greinke in Houston for crying out loud. But getting paid $26 million for only 18 games played is a tough pill for any fan to swallow.
And if Cole comes shy of an 18-5 record, 2.75 ERA, 205 innings pitched, 290 strikeouts, and a 0.996, everyone will talk about how one year into the 9 years $329 million contract Cole signed this December will be a failure. I can count on 2 hands the number of times Yankee fans were calling for Gary Sanchez AND Brett Gardner to get cut last season.
Both men HAVE to show up in 2020 in big ways. There’s no other way to put it.