The 2017 New York Yankees

By: Art Aronson | Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Yankees have always been about the here and now. Rebuilding is for losers.

Yet here they are today, struggling through a frigid Northeast spring after a dismal start and wondering if their talented young players will mature quickly enough to make some noise in a division that is always strong.

The A-Rods, Jeters, Riveras, Posadas and Teixeiras who filled out lineup cards for so long are now just long gone, many fans don't even know all the names of the new guys and the back pages of the Post and Daily News will no doubt be ceded all season to the National League East-contending Mets.

Maybe it's time to re-trench.  The Yankees have been in a rut since winning the division title in 2012, winning between 84 and 87 games in each of the last four seasons.  They may be hard-pressed to climb even that modest-sized hill this year. Indeed, oddsmakers now look at the ex-Bombers as just another team - 15/1 to win the American League and 30/1 to win the Series.

The Yankees had hoped for a quick start so their young base of players could gain confidence, but manager Joe Girardi has had to live with just the opposite.  First baseman Greg Bird is off to a brutal start, right fielder Aaron Judge has also struggled, and new cornerstone catcher Gary Sanchez is struggling and already missing games because of an arm injury.  Combined, the three entered Sunday's game batting a combined .105.

But if Girardi has nightmares these days, it has to be about the starting pitching.  CC Sabathia is 36 and hasn't had a dominant season since going 15-6 in 2012, ace Masahiro Tanaka got drilled in his first game and the Yanks are just crossing their fingers and hoping that Michael Pineda has a bounceback season.  Both Tanaka and Pineda are free agents, and the word in New York is that Tanaka will be allowed to walk away this November.  Very un-Yankeelike.

But free agency and the Yankees are never a long cab right apart, and MLB observers are speculating the New York is just keeping its powder dry for the winter of 2018, when the heirs of George Steinbrenner can honor their big-spending ancestor by opening up the checkbook and spending upwards of a billion dollars to sign the superstar tandem of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.

If that happens, the Yankees will own the back pages of the NYC tabloids - and perhaps the American League East - once again. Until then, patience will be tested in the Big Apple.


For more of Art Aronson click here.



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