A Yankees Fan’s (Suggested) Holiday Wishlist for Their Team
People are decorating their houses. “All I Want for Christmas is You” is dominating the radio airwaves once again. Holiday specials are being played on loop on television.
That’s right, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yankees fans in particular have already gotten (reportedly) a pretty big stocking stuffer in Gerrit Cole. However, Brian Cashman can still find other goodies for the Bombers to ensure his ultimate New Year’s Resolution of putting together a World Series Championship team. Here are a few pieces that any Yankees fan should want on their wish list for their team this year.
Yes, he was injured most of last year. Yes, he can be inconsistent. However, it’s hard not to argue that Betances has not been one of the best relievers in baseball over his previous five seasons. His high strikeout rate (14.6 per nine innings) and low home run rate (0.6 per nine innings) were sorely missed last post season. Also, given his injuries last season, Betances will be signed for most likely a one-year, lower cost deal than had he been healthy. He does have control issues at times, but Betances’ wipeout curveball and lighting fastball are just what the Yankees need for their bullpen next year.
GENERAL BULLPEN HELP:
If not Betances, the Yankees could use some another arm in the bullpen. Even with a deep core of Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Chad Green, you can never have enough arms. Also, Britton (a 3.74 FIP despite a 1.91 ERA and a 1.66 strikeouts per walk ratio) and Kahnle (6.56 ERA in 2018) are prime regression candidates next season. Whether that comes in a trade for Josh Hader (or Brad Hand from Cleveland) or in free agency (aka Will Harris), the Yankees could use another arm to stabilize an already strong bullpen.
A QUALITY BACK END OF THE ROTATION:
I just wrote a piece about the Yankees’ in-house options for their fifth starter, but the final spot in the rotation is not the only part of a rotation. As seen last year, a mediocre rotation can bog down a team and wear down even the most talented bullpen. Cole will certainly help the rotion, but in order for the Yankees to reach their full potential, they will need Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and James Paxton to be on their game next year. The Yankees have the potential to have a killer rotation, their pitchers – along with new pitching coach Matt Blake – need to deliver upon that.
Somehow, the Yankees won over 100 games last year despite their hitters accumulating over1,000days on the injured list last year – and that does not including Severino and Betances missing almost the entire season. Getting full seasons from Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and company will make one of the best lineups in baseball even more dangerous.
HIGASHIOKA STEPPING UP:
Austin Romine was an unsung hero on the Bombers during his career while filling in for Sanchez. Romine even started in the playoffs over Sanchez at times due to his hustle and defense. Now that he is on the Tigers, the Yankees need a new backup catcher to step up. All signs point to Kyle Higashioka. The catcher had a .581 slugging percentage at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year. Given that the Yankees’ brass likeshis pitch framing abilities and overall play, Higashioka will most likely get the chance to be the Bomber’s backup catcher. Unless they try to acquire Martin Maldonado, the Bombers need to see consistent play from Higashioka to give the Yankees the insurance policy they need from the backstop.
These are just a few stocking stuffers that could liven up the Yankees chances at a holly jolly 2020 baseball season.