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NEW YORK YANKEES SEASON PREVIEW

Bombers fans can be content with their teams’ chances of a successful campaign when the season finally gets underway, and indeed are favourites in most experts’ eyes to be a big part of the American League post-season.  We do not know what the divisional makeup of this years abbreviated season will look like yet, but if the traditional AL East teams were to be measured, Yankee’s are a top all such indices.

Injuries threatened to derail the Yankee’s successes in 2019, and looked to have returned early in Spring, with the likes of Stanton, Hicks and Andujar all struggling, though the shutdown seems to have been a blessing in disguise, as they returned to fitness.  The rotation took a monumental boost, when the Yankees agreed to the monster contract with Gerritt Cole, shattering previous records, but it also took a step back when Severino underwent Tommy John surgery and German was suspended.  Despite not handing any Major League contracts out to Relief Pitchers, a couple of Minor League contracted players stand in line to fill out the unit, especially Lyons, while Warren, Hale and Otero will be on-hand in the taxi squad if no MiLB fixtures are set.  Filling out the rotation behind Cole, will be Tanaka, Happ, Paxton and Montgomery with Loaisiga also pushing for reps, and probably filling in for Paxton early as he gains fitness.  Chapman again closes without question, while Britton, Green and Ottavino all remain key cogs to the bullpen’s success.

Gardner resigning was the only other Major League signing for the Yankees, returning to a role of 4th Outfielder, behind Stanton, Hicks and Judge, while competing with others such as Wade, Tauchman and Frazier.  Catching mates for the strong rotation again features slugger Gary Sanchez, with Higashioka on hand as a clear back-up, and most likely Iannetta and or Kratz as depth pieces.  As for the rest of the infield, it looks fairly set, with Voit and Andujar manning DH and 1B, DJ Le Mahieu returning for 2B duties, and Urshela at 3B, although Andujar could easily slide across to that role.  Shortstop remains filled by their superstar youngster Gleyber Torres.

This is a very strong roster on paper, however in the grind of a season, needs arise, clearly the Yankees will look at Starting Pitching again, probably a rental to boost their post-season chances, while perennially teams look to add impact relievers when they are contending.  Injuries aside, another Outfield capable bat looks a feasible trade target during the season, especially if the aforementioned stars cannot maintain health.

PREDICITON: Yankees to fight out the World Series, conquering their American League rivals, entirely.

 

BOSTON REDSOX SEASON PREVIEW

The 2018 World Series champions had a cost-cutting offseason, exemplified by the blockbusting trade that sent superstar Betts to the Dodgers, with the key part of the trade being the controllable Alex Verdugo.  Also coming to Boston are prospects Downs and Wong, with the former being a highly regarded 2B and the latter a Catcher with serious offense capabilities.  The only other moves of real note were signing the likes of Plawecki, Martin Perez and Pillar as well as bringing Moreland back, all of which are fringe starters.  Having said that, Boston ought to be focusing on challenging in the stunningly abbreviated season of just 60-games, despite losing Sale for the season to Tommy John surgery.

As has often been the case lately, Pedroia is unlikely to contribute much if anything to their club, due to his ongoing injuries, though McHugh is set to benefit from the delayed start to the season and may be ready, come Opening Day in late July.  The rotation will be headed by start E-Rod, while Eovaldi and Perez will be relied upon with the hope they can be steady pieces like they have been at stages in their career.  Others who may get multiple inning roles include McHugh, Weber, Darwinzon, while Johnson, Walden or Brasier may get opening duties.  Workman looks favourite to hold down the Closing role if he continues to perform, though Barnes could be used also as could Hembree in the late innings.

Lucroy was added as a Minor league signee and will serve as third catcher behind Vazquez and Plawecki, in a solid yet unspectacular catching corps.  Moreland and Chavis will serve as platoon 1B, with JD Martinez the primary DH.  Though 2B seems to be an area of need, with Lin or Peraza probably available in an extended roster circumstance to fight for a backup role.  While Devers at 3B and Bogaerts at SS are the sure things in the lineup, as is Benintendi.  Bradley, Verdugo and Pillar will presumably fill in the rest of the Outfield picture with some timeshare arrangements certain.

Boston are sure to benefit from the shortening of the season, as they looked certain to be in a tough division, with a much stronger Toronto outfit challenging them for third behind the powerhouse Yankees and amazing Tampa outfits.  Should they challenge for the division, and somehow decide to backflip on their cost-cutting ways to avoid luxury taxes and decide to add at the deadline which will be August 31 this season, they may look at veteran rotation/bullpen pieces or a bat to add offense, but that all remains very unlikely. Overall, Boston’s needs will drive them to use more finances in the mid-term probably starting in the 2021 offseason and allow their overall performances to remain mediocre in the short-term.

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