Andrew Dawson, Staff Writer |
The 2021 MLB season has arrived and all 30 teams have reported for spring training. After losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Divisional Series (ALDS), the New York Yankees are poised to comeback even stronger this season and compete for a championship.
The Yankees enter the 2021 season with one of the best batting lineups in the entire league. They have several all-star players, like their first baseman, Luke Voit, and second baseman, D.J. LeMahieu. Giancarlo Stanton will also be returning to the team after belting six home runs and 13 RBI’s (runs batted in) in the playoffs last season. After joining the Yankees back in 2017, Stanton has struggled to stay healthy during the season. He sustained several injuries that have sidelined him during many important games including playoff games. Now the Yankees are hoping Stanton can continue his impressive run and help the team become a World Series favorite in the upcoming season.
General Manager Brian Cashman re-signed long-tenured Yankees’ outfielder, Brett Gardner, to a one-year deal this offseason, entering his fourteenth season with the team. Gardner is currently 37 years old and will be used as outfield depth for players who need an off day. Head coach, Aaron Boone, has already stated that outfielder, Clint Frazier, will start for the Yankees over Gardner this season. When asked whether this would be his final season, Gardner responded, “I’d say that’s pretty safe. We’ve been talking about this for the last two to three years. I’ll obviously be 38 in August and there are no guarantees. You never know what’s around the corner, never know what to expect.”
The Yankees struggled to advance past the ALDS last season because of their starting rotation. While the Yankees have a strong ace pitcher, Gerrit Cole, the rest of the rotation struggled last season. Luis Severino was sidelined all of last year because of an injury that forced him to have Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (UC surgery). The Yankees also didn’t re-sign veteran pitcher Masahiro Tanaka in free agency. However, the Yankees improved their pitching staff by adding former Cy Young award-winning pitcher, Corey Kluber, and free agent, Jameson Taillon. These two signings add more pitching experience and depth to their rotation. If Kluber or Taillon can regain the pitching success they had earlier in their careers, the Yankees will be considered a World Series favorite for the upcoming season.
Coming into the 2021 season, the Yankees have one of the most feared lineups in baseball. The main challenge the Yankees will face is staying healthy. Many players on the team struggled staying healthy last season, including all-star outfielder, Aaron Judge. Judge missed a significant amount of time from a fractured rib. Now, Judge is healthy and scheduled to play for the Yankees on opening day. Judge will play an important role in deciding how the season will unfold. In 2017, Judge broke Mark McGwire’s rookie homerun record with 54 home runs. Now the team needs Judge to return to that form if they want to be a World Series contender.
The Yankees will have to put in hard work if they want to represent the American League in the World Series this season. The Yankees will need to beat some of the best teams in baseball to reach that level, including the Rays, Houston Astros, and Oakland Athletics. Only time will tell if the Yankees are ready for the challenge.