New Year, New (York) Yankees: The beginning of a dynasty

The 2016 season in the city that never sleeps, was... unconventional, but it's put the team in a position to go on another dynasty run.  With that being said, they very well not make the playoffs in 2017, but the Yankees are going to have an unexpected breakout season... offensively at least.  

Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Look, the Yankees will see the return of Greg Bird who was on pace for 35-40 home runs in 2015 which, if he's healthy, is a huge upgrade from what they had in 2016.  I think Aaron Judge figures out his almost hilarious strike out rate in this off-season and we get to see some consistency from the man with a 96.82 MPH average exit velocity (the highest average in the MLB).  Since Judge showed his talent in the minors, it may just a matter of making adjustments. The biggest thing to look forward to is the development of Gary Sanchez.  In his explosion into the majors, he put up unprecedented offensive numbers and was promising behind the plate.  Can he sustain what he did over an entire season? Watching Sanchez mash bombs into the bleachers will likely be the most exciting part of the 2017 season.  

The Yankees also brought in Matt Holliday to DH. This move should work out well. We may also see Judge in that spot on occasion to allow Tyler Austin some time in the outfield.  Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury will all presumably perform at the level they have, but with the improved line up, pitchers aren't going to be afforded the opportunity to really pitch around anyone with the exception of maybe Chase Headley, who has not lived up to expectations, but who hopefully rides the momentum of the youth movement and can provide solid production.

Now, lets talk pitching.  The bullpen is promising, being anchored by Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, but that is all for naught if the rotation does not improve. If the rotation is unable to provide adequate innings and hand a lead over to the relievers then even the most dominant bullpen will be essentially useless and constantly pitching from behind is certainly not good for morale. Masahiro Tanaka is the closest thing we have to a sure thing at this point, but that doesn't have to be a huge cause for concern.  In 2017, we'll be able to see where everyone is at and then plan accordingly. CC Sabathia is a free agent at years end. If he does not perform there is no obligation to keep him around.  I wouldn't be too excited to watch the Yankees in 2017 with the exception of seeing the development of the Baby Bombers, but it will provide a good gauge for how good the team can be in 2018.
The year 2018 will be the year the Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry begins to pick up steam again.  New York is bound to have acquired notable pitching at this point whether through signing an Arrieta or Yu Darvish after the 2017 season or through the trading of prospects from their (I can't believe I'm saying this) quality farm system.  The AL East race is poised to be a battle between the two teams by that time.  While the Yankees may very well make the playoffs, the World Series is still just out of sight, but that's okay; the team is on the rise and building momentum. The 2018 off season is what we should be thrilled about. The Free Agent class after the 2018 season is what dreams are made of and the result for the Yankees very well could be a roster that resembles something out of a video game.   
The Yankees will sign Bryce Harper.  That's just a fact.  Well, at least to me it is.  This gets thrown around so often that in my mind I already picture him in pinstripes.  The only downside to this signing isn't going to be the outrageous pay day, it'll be everyone that takes to Twitter proclaiming "oh I called that like a couple years ago..", try not to be that guy and just be happy we have the former NL MVP.  Next, the Yankees are finally free from Chase Headley.  If he hasn't lost his job by this point, the Yankees will certainly look to acquire someone like Manny Machado. Josh Donaldson is another option, but his personality comes off as brash and abrasive.  There is no denying his talent, but one has to wonder how he would fit into the Yankees organizational culture. Obviously nothing is set in stone, but can we take a moment to speculate about the lineup the Yankees could potentially have in a few years?
1.     Jacoby Ellsburry
2.     Bryce Harper
3.     Gary Sanchez
4.     Manny Machado/ Josh Donaldson
5.     Aaron Judge
6.     Clint Frazier
7.     Greg Bird
8.     Starlin Castro
9.     Didi Gregorius
That just doesn't seem fair.  It won't be this year, and it may not be next year, but the Yankees are on a trajectory for greatness and there aren't any major hurdles in sight. To the rest of the league, enjoy your 15 minutes of fame. The Evil Empire will return.

Article by Ryan Sheehan 
Follow @SportsWorldKryz


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