The 2017 season is over for the Yankees but the questions for 2018 are about to begin

By Sergio Rodriguez

Sports Editor and
Former ESPN Analyst


T

he 2017 version of the New York Yankees severely over-achieved going from a team that was supposed to finish in the middle of the pack to a team that was 1 game away from the World Series.  2017 brought a boat load of surprises which got this this to the ALCS a year or two ahead of schedule, but this could take a tricky turn in 2018 if the Yankees management is not careful.  Let’s examine how the Yankees can take the next step towards winning a World Series and the 5 obstacles that could derail this train which Yankees fans believe is inevitable.


Things Needed To Win The 2018 Championship and Stay On Top For 5 Years   


1. A Pitcher.  The issue here is that the free agent market does not have what they need.  With the farm system being so strong a trade to get a solid #2 starter might be the way to go.


2. A Leadoff Batter.  Brett Gardner might be the most overrated player in the game.  He has his moments because he gets his opportunities but when a leadoff batter hits .265, walks less than 75 times and never scores 100 runs it’s very difficult to forecast success over 162 games.


3. Health.  Nothing you can really do to control this but it’s essential that they have it.


4. Less Strikeouts.  Now this is a tricky one.  Strikeouts are part of the modern game and I’m not one to go crazy over them, but the strikeouts in any quality teams lineup have to be centered around guys who hit the ball out of the park.  Judge, Sanchez and Judge should be the only guys in the lineup allowed to strikeout routinely, there is no way the Yankees can go another 162 games with Chase Headley (132) and Gardner (122) striking out more times than Sanchez (120)


Five Issues The Yankees
Could Face In 2018 and Beyond 


1. Lack of Starting Pitching.  If they cannot make a move for a pitcher, they could be find themselves in a tough situation especially if Tanaka exercises his option and leaves them with just Luis Severino and Sonny Gray as reliable starters.


2. Who’s the General Manager.  The number 1 priority for the Yankees should be to re-sign Brian Cashman.  The organization is strong right now top to bottom and bringing in someone with a different philosophy could derail the future and the current make-up of the team.


3. Who’s the Manager.  Joe Girardi is as solid as they come and he does a great job of handling the bullpen which is how big league managers should be measured but whoever the next manager is he has to be willing to nurture the youth of the organization while being able to handle the NY Media.


4. The Bird Man.  The Yankees survived not having Greg Bird for most of the year in large part to Judge had a world class first half and Matt Holliday got off to a strong start, but the playoffs showed everyone why Bird was rated as a top prospect in baseball.  If he continues to be injury prone the Yankees will have major issues.


5. Players that need to go.  Brett Gardner (Does not do enough during 162 games, but if he stays he has to be the #9 hitter) Jacoby Ellsbury (If you can sell him off and eat the contract it’s worth it but you can keep him if you find a way to get rid of Gardner).  Chase Headly or Todd Frazier ( Frazier is a better player but keeping Headley makes more sense.  Headley can play both corners and since the Yankees need to find an infield spot for Gleybor Torres, Headley would be more willing to accept a backup role.