Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Yankees couldn't return to the World Series for the first time since 2009, falling to the Astros in the ALCS once again to end their 2019 season. And it's even more disappointing than 2017 because this was supposed to be the year the Bronx Bombers took that leap forward into a new age of championships.
Instead, GM Brian Cashman found himself heading into an offseason needing to upgrade his roster once again to ensure a World Series would be in his team's future in 2020. He delivered.
Cashman & Co. landed the league's top free agent in Gerrit Cole with a massive nine-year, $324 million deal to give the Yankees an ace, and potentially the missing piece they needed to capture their 28th world title. And he may not even be done.
So, as we put together this way too early 26-man roster, keep in mind that the Yankees are still in talks with the Brewers for LHP Josh Hader and another reliever in Royals LHP Tim Hill is on their radar as well. But even if they don't land another reliever or make other minor additions, this group is already the World Series favorites for a reason.
Let's check it out...
Gary Sanchez, C
Luke Voit, 1B
DJ LeMahieu 2B
Gleyber Torres, SS
Gio Urshela, 3B
Giancarlo Stanton, LF
Brett Gardner, CF
Aaron Judge, RF
Miguel Andujar, DH
A couple notes here. First, Andujar could easily be traded in, say, that Hader deal. But if he were to start the season on the Yankees, DH would be a good fit with the more defensive-savvy Urshela hopefully providing another solid season with the glove and bat. Second, we need to keep in mind Aaron Hicks later on in the season. Gardner would shift to left field, meaning someone would get the boot off the bench (coming later).
I'm confident Cashman will find a way to get J.A. Happ's $17 million off the books by the start of the regular season. He underperformed greatly last season despite a strong finish, and Montgomery is primed for a comeback season after rehabbing back from Tommy John surgery.
Also, this is my prediction for how Aaron Boone will set up his five-man. He could easily switch Paxton and Severino to even it out with a lefty sandwiched between two righties. But if Sevy is pitching the way he was when he finally returned last season, him and Cole as the 1-2 punch could be the best in baseball.
Mike Tauchman, OF
Clint Frazier, OF
Tyler Wade, INF
Mike Ford, 1B/DH
Kyle Highashioka, C
The Yankees couldn't land Martin Maldonado, as he returned to the Astros. And with Austin Romine signing a deal with the Tigers, Higashioka is the only one that will be backing up Sanchez for now.
Frazier's time with the Yankees may run out in a potential trade. For now, though, let's leave him in here because he is talented at the plate and could see improved defense in 2020. Also, Tauchman and Ford will aim to have solid seasons again. They were great replacements for this injured 2019 team.
LHP Aroldis Chapman
LHP Zack Britton
RHP Adam Ottavino
RHP Chad Green
RHP Tommy Kahnle
RHP Jonathan Holder
RHP Luis Cessa
Wanted to add Stephen Tarpley to even things out with a lefty, but once again Cashman could land either Hader or Hill in a trade and that would do the trick. If not, this group would still be one of, if not the, best bullpen in the league.
Chapman's extension was huge to keep one of the game's best closers in pinstripes. Also, Holder will hopefully figure his stuff out like Kahnle had to do in 2018. Kahnle bounced back, and the Yankees are hoping the same for Holder, who has a great arsenal on the mound.
Green was as consistent as they come last season, especially in the opener role, while Ottavino's signature movement on his pitches made it tough for hitters. Cessa rounds it out as a long inning guy that also had a strong 2019.