The New York Yankees were edged out in the Divisional Series by the Red Sox last season. With Seattle going on a fire sale, they ended up trading James Paxton to the Yankees. With Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ on the roster, adding Paxton gives them a very strong rotation. Paxton was dominant last season, and is hoping to transfer his success over to the Bronx. He has battled some arm trouble at time, but 150 innings of Paxton or so would be a big bump for the Yankees rotation. He will get a downgrade pitching in New York, but overall is someone that can get away with it given the high velocity stuff. Paxton won’t headline this rotation, but he will be a major part of the Yankees making the next step in their journey to get back on top. Paxton is projected for over 180 strikeouts, and in a healthy season that is very doable.
Gary Sanchez hit .186 last season, but had 18 HR in 89 games. He dealt with some injuries, and had offseason shoulder surgery. Sanchez had some issues of giving his all as well, and it gives us a question mark for his play heading into 2019. He hit 53 HR and hit around .285 combined over his last two seasons, and Sanchez was nowhere near that this season. The Yankees have plenty of other bats to pick up his slack, but a 30 HR hitting catcher would make this lineup lethal. With no real depth at the position that would give them a quick fill-in, the Yankees are counting on returning to his old form but also playing over 110 games. If issues continue with his play, we have to wonder if they would float his name around as trade bait to see who could bite.
The Yankees have been in the Manny Machado hunt for the offseason, and it looks like Troy Tulowitzki and now D.J. LeMahieu are the alternatives they are going with instead. They also have Gleyber Torres, so the options are all there and the need for Machado now is not as in need as it was at the beginning of the offseason. A lot of Yankees fans will likely be upset they didn’t spend like the olden days, but this team is still set up to make a run. LeMahieu is a high contact bat and a great defensive infielder, and taking a flyer on Tulo isn’t the worst move to make. He has been injured most of the last few seasons, but adding him in a limited role to see what he has was definitely worth a look. With many free agents ahead in the next offseason, the Yankees might be holding off for a guy like Nolan Arenado. Didi Gregorius is also back in the mid-year from surgery, so they shouldn’t miss a beat.