After a disappointing end to their 2018 season came in the form of losing to the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees are looking for revenge and improvements for their 2019 season. In an act to make it back to the promised land, the franchise has made the typical bold moves that are expected from the Yankees.
In their big money ways, the team went out and signed star closer Adam Ottavino, who helped shut down opponents in the closer role for the Colorado Rockies last season. Ottavino will be a fantastic compliment with fireballer Aroldis Chapman, forming what is probably the league’s best one-two punch to close out victories in the Bronx for years to come.
The team also went ahead and added trusty veteran Troy Tulowitzki, who will provide solid production from the shortstop position and will help with the injuries that have shelved fellow shortstop Didi Gregorius. Tulo, who was released from his deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, comes as an absolute steal for the Yankees, as the Blue Jays are still paying him his guaranteed salary this season and New York is only on the hook for the veteran’s minimum for 2019.
The team also brought back two trusted left-handed starting pitchers, as C.C. Sabathia and midsummer acquisition J.A. Happ were both brought back on deals to keep them in pinstripes. Having both of those lefties to help even out the bullpen is key, as they will team up with Masahiro Tanaka and newly-acquired, former Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton to fill out the top four spots in manager Aaron Boone’s starting rotation for this upcoming season.
Offensively, the team is still loaded, riding the slugging laurels of Aaron Judge, who could go for cutting down on his strikeout numbers and earn more walks in 2019. Gary Sanchez comes back behind the dish for New York, helping manage the pitching staff while looking to improve upon his offensive numbers from last season.
While the Yankees are always a favorite to win it all every year, the Yankees teams of late have lacked that true superstar who can easily push them to the brink of winning yet another championship title. With that in mind, here are three predictions for how the 2019 season will go for the New York Yankees.
Sabathia will only make 12 starts
Dealing with heart issues that have pushed the likelihood of Sabathia returning for spring training to low, the team may need to look for another arm to make up for Sabathia’s teetering health factors. While he will be able to come back and pitch, his help for the team will be very small in size.
Any kind of production that the Yankees receive from Sabathia will be huge over the course of the season, but they may choose to ease him back into a normal workload and may not be seeing game action until late April or early May. He will be able to use bullpen sessions to his advantage to ramp back up, but ultimately he will most likely not be as durable as he has been in past seasons.
Paxton will finish top five in AL Cy Young
After the Yankees jumped into the pool for Paxton and kicked off the offseason with one of the first bigger trades, Paxton comes to the Bronx looking to experience winning for the first time in his career, seeing as how the Mariners have seemingly forgotten how to compete for divisional titles lately.
Thriving off the big spotlight and scene, Paxton will absolutely prove why the Yankees gave up a lot to bring him from the West to the East coast, and he will perform well enough that he will garner Cy Young votes, placing third in the voting results.
Vying with Tanaka for the franchise’s best starter in 2019, those two will help bolster the team’s rotation for this season and make the lack of an impact from Sabathia less of a worry.
Jacoby Ellsbury won’t be traded – and that’s good
Ever since he signed the monstrosity of a deal, Ellsbury has had to try and even remotely live up to his contract, which has been a common topic of discussion between the pinstripe community. For a team that regularly is in the league’s top three and five for highest-grossing salary amounts, you would think they would learn at some point not to overspend on certain players.
Alas, here we are, yet again.
However, this situation is a bit different, in a sense that Ellsbury still has enough value that can be extracted that he still holds value for Boone to throw out there in certain situations. With no McCutchen this season, Ellsbury will be called upon in situations that he will need to prove his worth in, and his past has shown that he can show up in these types when needed.
While not having a great deal of playing time, there will come a time where Ellsbury will need to make a stretch of starts for the team due to injuries sidelining outfielders. While toolsy outfielder Clint Frazier also figures to make an impact this year, the constant rumblings of trade rumors from last season will factor into him being moved potentially, and he holds much more value in a deal than Ellsbury does, so you may as well cancel your Frazier jersey order now because his odds of being with the Bronx Bombers for another full season are not high.
For a hungry team looking to make improvements from their playoff performance last season, the Yankees have the necessary pieces in place to make that leap back to where they ruled for so long. While many fans may not want to see the Yankees make it back to the championship series yet again, having a team that does not reside from Los Angeles and Boston would be great for the world of professional sports, and New York may be the best option that the AL has to end that reign.