Yankees New Year’s resolutions

Every year millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions in hopes of changing their lives for the better.  These resolutions are usually made after one too many glasses of champagne and are seldom kept. For the sake of our sanity and playoff chances, lets hope these guys make and keep these resolutions for 2017.
Photo Credit: Tony Gutierrez | AP

Jacoby Ellsbury: Pretend its 2011
Way back in 2013 Brian Cashman soothed himself to sleep with dreams of putting Jacoby Ellsbury’s quick left-handed swing in Yankee stadium. Three seasons later and its pretty clear Ellsbury will never live up to the mega contract he got later that year. His .321 average, 31 home runs, and 39 stolen bases in 2011 will never be duplicated again, but if he could even come close to realm of those statistics, it would provide a much needed boost to the Yanks offense and set the table at the top of the order. Not to mention, it could get him out of the conversation of “worst Yankee contracts ever."

Dellin Betances: Pitch less innings
Since becoming a mainstay in the Yankee’s bullpen in 2014, Betances has a sub two ERA, to go along with a 14.33 strikeout per nine innings ratio, and three all-star appearances. He also has pitched a staggering 247 innings over that time frame, finishing second in games pitched in both 2015 and 2016. He hasn’t showed many signs of slowing down, but one would hope Joe Girardi would look to limit his usage in 2017. At this point, one could argue that the greatest strength and therefore most important members on this team reside in the bullpen. The resigning of Aroldis Chapman and maturation of young pitchers like Jonathan Holder and Ben Heller should give Betances some much needed, no pun intended, relief.

Chase Headley: Take notes from the book of Scott Brosius
Back in the mid-nineties, the Yankees had a mainstay at third base named Scott Brosius. He hit right around .270 and slugged almost 20 home runs a year, while playing a slick third base. He was so consistent that he was almost always an after thought when speaking about the Yankee lineup card. He was never going to lead the league in batting or home runs, but he stayed healthy, came through with clutch hits, and did the job day in and day out. He was the definition of solid. This is what Headley needs to be. Just be solid.

Greg Bird: Pick up where you left off before the shoulder injury
Greg Bird’s first 46 games in pinstripes yielded 11 home runs, a .261 average, and 31 runs batted in. That roughly equates to full season averages of 39 home runs, and 109 runs batted in. If Bird can come close to replicating those numbers after a nasty shoulder injury and a year off, the Yankees will more than fill the void left by the recently retired Mark Teixeira. The Teixeira “Tex message” home run call was one of personal favorites, but I am willing to quickly replace that with the “Bird’s the word” call if he can pepper the short porch in right field with line drive home runs all season long.  
Photo Credit: Anthony Gruppuso | AP

Aaron Judge: Cut down on strikeouts
You won’t find a more polarizing figure on the Yankee’s roster than Aaron Judge. At this point you can find critics calling for his head after only a handful of major league games and other patiently defending his inevitable development into a future five-tool all-star. At this point I’ve seen his comparisons scale from Adam Dunn to Giancarlo Stanton. If Judge wants to scale closer to the big guy down in Miami, he will have to cut his strike out rate dramatically. In 2016, Judge struck out 42 times in just 95 plate appearances. It’s safe to say Yankees fans hope that is an aberration that will improve with experience. If that is the case, and Judge is able to improve his approach, the Yanks will have a monster slugger of their own holding down right field for the considerable future.

Starting Pitchers: Stay Healthy
At this point no one knows who will solidify the back end of the Yankees rotation. What we do know is that the “big three” (I say this sarcastically) are no strangers to the disabled list. Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, and Michael Pineda have all spent extended time on the disabled list over the past three seasons. This trend could mark disaster for the Yankees season. With a less than stellar rotation to begin with, losing one of their front end veterans would put this team at a severe disadvantage in a talent loaded American League East. As I stated earlier, the Yankees bullpen is probably their greatest strength at the point. It is crucial for these veteran starters to get the games to a point where the Yanks can flex that strength.
Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri | Getty Images

Gary Sanchez: Don’t change a thing
This one doesn’t need much explanation. Sanchez exploded into the Bronx like a baseball super-machine sent directly to us from some higher power. Night in and night out he was hitting monstrous home runs or throwing people out from his knees with his rocket arm. It’s extremely unfair to hold him to this standard, but people will, and if he can deliver he will be the next New York Yankees God.

Joe Girardi: Put down the binder
There is no question that Joe Girardi is a player’s manager and has the utmost respect from each and every person who takes the field for him. It is also clear that Girardi tends to over manage and sometimes seems to be his own worst enemy. Time and time again, Girardi will over analyze critical situations and delve too far into his three ring binder of stats. In 2017 Girardi will be fielding his youngest, most inexperienced team to date in the Bronx. This team desperately needs him to lean on his instincts and experience as a former 14-year veteran instead of micro managing each important play of the game.
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher | AP

Last but not least, a resolution to myself. I will keep an open and positive mind with an organization that I trust will do the right thing with their stable of young talent and unlimited resources. Then again, you know what they say: resolutions are made to be broken.

Article by: Jesse Bartley

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