With the final out recorded at first base in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday night, the 2018 Yankee season has come to an end. Yankee fans look at success differently than other fan bases. To Yankee fans if you don't at least get to the World Series then the season has been a failure. I will dispute that sentiment as we look forward to 2019.
Losing in the playoffs sucks. Losing in the playoffs to the Red Sox really sucks. You know the Red Sox....that franchise that has won three championships in the last 100 years. But that futility aside I will congratulate them on a great season and on being better than the Yankees in 2018. The job for the Yankees moving forward is to make sure that the Red Sox are not better than they are in 2019.
From the players to the manager, despite a 100 win season, there is lots of room for improvement. Lets start with manager Aaron Boone. I may be one of the few remaining Boone supporters in the Yankee universe. This team won 100 games this season. They got almost nothing from Greg Bird. Gary Sanchez was a bust. Aaron Judge missed a month during the stretch run and this team still managed to win 100 games. I am not saying they did that well because of the manager but I am saying they did not lose the division because of him. The Yankee manager has no control over the Boston Red Sox winning 108 games.
The main criticism of Boone was his inexperience as a manager. He now has one full season under his belt and will be returning with a loaded team. The honeymoon is over and now it's time to win something. Yankee universe will not be as forgiving this time next year if the Yankees make an early postseason exit.
Gary Sanchez has to be better in 2019. Injuries and dry spells aside, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton had good years and put up solid power numbers. Gary Sanchez was touted as the best of the three. He just never got going and with injuries and defensive issues things got worse. He showed flashes like the monster game at Fenway in game two of the ALDS. The Yankees need a more consistent Gary Sanchez if they are going to reach their potential.
Stanton also needs to be better. Despite hitting 38 homeruns and knocking in 100 those of us who watched him on a daily basis saw a guy who vanished for long stretches. He would go weeks without making a contribution. Yankees need him to be more consistent as well moving forward. They have this guy under contract for a long time and at big money. He has to show a little more than he did this past season.
The name of the game for ever has been pitching. The Yankees have to pitch better in 2019 as well. Luis Severino emerged as that young stud ace that every team needs. Then, in the blink of an eye, he regressed for over a month. He is young and still learning. Severino is not at the top of the list of concerns but he has to get better if the Yankees plan on making a deep run in 2019.
The Yankees should resign J.A. Happ. Happ did a tremendous job since being traded to New York and is a proven winner in the AL East. Happ, Severino, and Masahiro Tanaka make a pretty formidable top three in the rotation. The emergence of a young pitcher like Justice Sheffield or signing of a free agent like Patrick Corbin would make the Yankee rotation as solid as any in the American League.
The Yankees have the best young talent in baseball with Judge, Sanchez, Severino, Didi Gregorious, Miguel Andujar,and Glyeber Torres. Throw Aaron Hicks, who won't be 30 until next October, into that mix and you can see just how loaded they are. The Yankees have money to spend and still have one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball. They will not stand pat this off season. Expect the Yankees to make a splash either in the free agent market or via trade.
I for one am disapointed at the way the season ended but I am very optimistic about the future. This team is poised for a long run as perennial championship contenders. So, in the mean time enjoy the playoffs. If you are a bad loser like I am take out your Astros, Brewers, or Dodgers hat and root against those Sox. Yankees owe them something in 2019.
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